Jan Branicki from Ruszcza, district governor of Niepołomice in the years 1585–1611, took particular care of church paraments (vestments, liturgical vessels and all accessories indispensable for celebrating liturgy and cult). He funded chasubles, dalmatics, copes, albs, thuribles or cruets for the church in Niepołomice while his wife Anna was a founder of altar cloths, a veil, a monstrance and a black veil for the altar used during the Great Lent.
Besamin boxes [heb. bassamim, psumin-byksy] served as containers for spices and were used during the end of the Sabbath and were usually tower-shaped, whereas the besamin box from Sącz was in the shape of a fish, whose head, connected with a trunk with a hinge could be opened and tilted.
16 August 1915 marked the first anniversary of establishing the Supreme National Committee, which exercised political and organizational supervision over the Polish Legions. On that day, the Column of the Legions was unveiled in front of St. Mary’s Basilica in the Main Market Square in Kraków.
The chalice foot is made on a six-leaf plan, the foot coat and a hexagonal sleeve are decorated with a grapevine spike on a gold-plated background, with six silver medallions with engraved scenes: the Birth of Christ, the Last Supper, the Risen Christ, the Gathering of Manna, the Grape Harvest, the Harvest.
The chalice is an example of seventeenth-century goldsmithing in Małopolska, with features typical of the workshops of the region such as a slim and smooth bowl set in a basket, an oval nodus, repoussé decorations, and motifs of heads of winged cherubs, which was a common element of the decoration of gold products from Kraków in that period.
The counter of the City Council is a chest which served counsellors for storing the Mayor’s ring (stamp) and writing accessories (today a nib holder, an inkpot and a sand-box have been preserved) and perhaps other valuable documents and precious items belonging to the city.
European goldsmithing between the 16th and the 18th century reached an unprecedented artistic and technical level, which was largely due to German masters operating mostly in the chief goldsmithing centre — Augsburg. Thanks to their mass production and high artistic class, goldsmith products from Augsburg soon dominated the markets of Central and Eastern Europe.
A cylindrical, capped bottle closed with a handle. This bottle is richly decorated with an artistic decorative design of plants and various other figures. The vessel was used in a practical way for storing valuable spices from overseas, but was also prized for its beauty. It was richly decorated by a master coppersmith.
This valuable product of artistic handicraft is a silver and gold-plated salt shaker – an example of Baroque goldsmithing from Augsburg – which was one of the most important European gold smithery centres.
The monstrance from Korzkiew is an example of the longevity of Gothic forms and at the same time the ability to mix them with the Baroque style, which was new when the monstrance was produced. The monstrance presents a type of turret. It has a six-leaf base covered with a veil with a repoussé decoration— arma Christi (motifs symbolising the Passion of Christ) in auricular cartouches.
Church confraternities, which boasted about having a separate chapel or a side altar, completed the religious life of parishioners. The first confraternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, established in Niepołomice by Cardinal Zbigniew Oleśnicki, worked efficiently for one and a half centuries, but in 1596 a church inspector found it, as he described, in a state of “devotional and interment” activity.
The Włocławek cup is the most precious and one of the oldest exhibits of decorative art from the collections at the National Museum in Kraków. It was made in the 1st half of the 10th century, presumably in a workshop located on the territory of Lorraine or Alemannia.
The armour is made of iron sheet; at the edges and faulds it is lined with brass borders covered with repoussé and stamped pearls. Under the rivets there are laid brass rosettes decorated in the same way as the borders. A helmet has a semi-circular skull, a peak with a nasal bar, a fauld neck guard and cheek pieces with a heart-shaped cut. A five-fauld breastplate with a fishbone in the middle tied with two leather straps.
Travel clocks, also called carriage clocks, were produced in many European watchmaker workshops from the 2nd half of the 17th century. Around the year 1700, Friedberg became the most important centre of their production, and they were mainly intended for export to Paris and London.
The baton of the Wawel collection is an example of a luxurious ceremonial weapon. It is difficult to establish unambiguously its artistic provenance. In terms of composition and type of ornamentation, it could be classified as a Turkish work. However, its characteristic combination of gold and light blue enamel causes many researchers to believe it to be a Persian work.
Since 1887 the collection of the Archaeological Museum of Kraków has boasted the equipment of a rich Scythian female tomb situated under the mound of a kurgan, examined in Ryzhanovka near Zvenyhorodka in Ukraine by Gotfryd Ossowski, the first curator of the Museum of National Antiquities (from which today’s Archaeological Museum has originated) at the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences in Kraków.
It is the oldest of the dated donations of Casimir the Great for Polish churches. The Roman form of the basic chalice components and some of its motifs (e.g. small rounded arch arcades) coexists here organically with raised Gothic ornamentation, setting this impressive vessel apart from other goldsmith works of the 14th century.