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Jagiellonian tapestry “Paradise Bliss” of the “History of the First Parents” series

The Jagiellonian tapestry Paradise Bliss is the first fabric of the History of the First Parents series, commissioned by Sigismund II Augustus and created in Brussels during the years 1550–1560. It depicts events of the beginning of the Biblical Book of Genesis (Gen 2.8.–3.20).

Puppets from the “Zielony Balonik” (“Green Balloon”) nativity play — Jacek Malczewski

A funny puppet representing Jacek Malczewski in a caricatural character of Jacek Symbolewski was purchased for the collection of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków in 1962. It makes a valuable reminder related with the Young Poland cabaret called Zielony Balonik [Green Balloon] operating in the period from 1905 to 1912 on Floriańska Street in Kraków in the Cukiernia Lwowska [Lviv Confectionery] opened by Jan Apolinary Michalik and hence called Jama Michalika [Michalik’s Den].

Esther’s scroll in a cover

Megilla it's a parchment scroll with a Hebrew manuscript of the Book. It was designed for individual reading at home and in a synagogue in the period of the early spring holiday of Purim.

Ushabti figures

The ushabti figures — artistically perfect and finely made — were purchased from the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo by soldiers of the Polish Independent Carpathian Rifle Brigade during WW II and subsequently granted to the Archaeological Museum. The pillar at the back of the figure reaches the lower edge of a tripartite wig, finely fashioned in regular wisps exposing the ears.

“Children at their desk” (“The Dead Class”, 1989)

Children at their deskfrom Umarła klasa [The Dead Class] is an art work (installation) by Tadeusz Kantor created in the spring of 1989 in the Cricoteka facilities on Kanonicza Street. It is one of several examples of works by this artist, drawing upon the idea of the Umarła klasa [The Dead Class] performance (version of A boy at his desk from The Dead Class, School Class — Closed Work, various kinds of drawings, sketches and paintings from the years 1975–1990) that was specially prepared for the future Museum of the Cricot 2 Theatre.

Osa M50 scooter

The Osa M50 and M52 scooters are the only Polish mopeds designed for batch production. Works on the design and production of the Polish scooter started in the Progress and Sports Department of the Warsaw Motorcycle Factory (WFM — Warszawska Fabryka Motocykli) by engineers Krzysztof Brun, Jerzy Jankowski and Tadeusz Mathia in 1951. From the group of discussed designs based on already manufactured elements of motorcycles that were produced in Poland, the OSA model was eventually selected.

“Self-portrait” (“Today Is My Birthday”, 1990)

The presented object was created for a performance of Cricot 2 Theatre, Today is my birthday, on which the artist worked from October 1989 to early December 1990. Tadeusz Kantor died after one of the last rehearsals, on 8 December 1990. The premiere took place shortly after in January 1991 at Théâtre Garonne in Toulouse; then the show was shown in 22 cities around the world until June 1992.

Sculpture “Bust of Róża Loewenfeld”

The sculpture presents a classicist bust of a young woman with a slightly bent head turned to the right. Admittedly, a faint resemblance of the artistic vision of the German sculptor to the actual figure raised doubts, but how many times have images been idealised, beautifying the portrayed individuals and making them look younger?

“Camera/Mr Daguerre’s invention” (“Wielopole, Wielopole”, 1980)

Kantor observed some analogy between photography and shooting, between a group posing for a photograph and a group of recruits lined up in a row. This field of association was used in one of the images from Wielopole, Wielopole, a performance that continued the themes/motifs from Umarła klasa [The Dead Class].

Sculpture “Pensive Christ”

The figurine of the Pensive Christ was made of Pińczów limestone at the end of the 16th century. On the back of the sculpture, the date "1593" is engraved. Originally, it was placed in a chapel in Gorlice, at the intersection of important trade routes. In this chapel in 1854, the world's first street lamp was lit.

Hurdy-gurdy from Łękawka

Hurdy-gurdy was an instrument known across Europe whose history dates back to the Medieval period. In the Polish territories, as early as the beginning of the 20th century, the tradition of playing this instrument was in decline. A hurdy-gurdy was one of the instruments used to perform church, court and folk music. Hurdy-gurdy performances accompanied dances and songs.

“Herbarium of Tatra mosses” of Tytus Chałubiński

Tytus Chałubiński’s herbarium of Tatra mosses is the most valuable botanical collection at the Dr Tytus Chałubiński Tatra Museum. Doctor Tytus Chałubiński (1820–1889), a man of broad horizons and multiple interests, a great physician with a passion for botany, is one of the legendary figures of Zakopane.

Painting “Memento Mori”

The painting was purchased for the museum in 1945. It was created in the second half of the 18th century in one of the guilds in Stary Sącz. It is a very interesting and symbolic work of art which refers to the theme of death and transience so popular in Baroque art. The painting is divided into three parts: two of them are in the shape of a standing rectangle in the upper part and one is of an oblong shape in the lower part.

Sculpture “Angel” by Karol Wójciak

The author of the sculpture, Karol Wójciak, also known as Heródek (1892–1971), is considered to be one of the most original amateur artists. The angel is represented in a primitive way. Its head and torso are made up of a block of wood with a round section, truncated flat on both sides. The wings nailed to the back are made of triangular pieces of wood with a non-planed surface.

Painting “Adoration of the Child” by Lorenzo Lotto

A joyful scene of the adoration of the Child (with saints: John the Baptist, Francis of Assisi, Joseph and Catherine of Alexandria) is a hidden allusion to Christ’s future fate. The Child’s deep sleep may be associated with the Redeemer’s martyr death through ancient references — Sleep (Hypnos) in the Greek mythology is the brother of Death (Thanatos).

“Arjuna” — “Wayang Golek” theatre puppet

IIt is a Wayang Golek theatre puppet representing one of the main positive characters of Mahabharata — noble Arjuna. He is the son of Kunti and Pandu, the third of five noble Pandava brothers; a perfect archer. He has a number of nicknames and names: the luminous, the glowing, the silver, the winner, the owner of the Gandava bow and many others.

“Turoń” (the type of horned creature) from Stary Sącz

Turoń (horned creature), or actually the head of one, i.e. a head of an animal with ears and horns made of several hefty pieces of wood nailed together and mounted on a stick. Originating from Stary Sącz (1908), this Turoń head, just like other similar exhibits from the very beginning of the Ethnographic Museum in Kraków, has been shown at the permanent exhibition in the form it was used in, i.e. as a part of an animal monster, a disguise of a member of a group of carollers.

Bennettitales (a fossil plant) “Cycadeoidea polonica Wallisch”

The presented object is a fragment of the trunk of a cycad — a fossil plant. Bennettitales (Cycadeoidopsida) is a class of extinct gymnosperms which could be found all over the world in the Mesozoic era. In Poland only several specimens of the silicified sprouts of these plants, which belong to the family of Cacadeoidaceae, are known.

Simon Syrenius’s “Herbarium”

The author of Zielnik [Herbarium] was Simon Syrenius (ca. 1540–1611), a doctor and botanist, a professor of the Kraków Academy. His work contains descriptions of 765 medicinal plants together with their medicinal use. Most monographs are provided with woodcut images of plants. As the title suggests, it was aimed at doctors, pharmacists, barber surgeons, horse traders, horse healers, stablemen, gardeners, chefs, cooks, inn-keepers, farmers, wet-nurses, ladies and maidens, and all who love and take medicines.

Sculpture “Jesus Christ Sitting on the Palm Sunday Donkey”

The sculpture, coming from the parish church of St. Sigismund in Szydłowiec, constitutes an extraordinary dramatic exhibit used during processions of going to church on Palm Sunday as to a symbol of Jerusalem. Christ, in a firmly upright position, is raising his right hand in a gesture of blessing.