The fragment of a Coptic fabric was purchased in Cairo by soldiers of the Polish Independent Carpathian Rifle Brigade during WW II and subsequently granted to the Archaeological Museum. It is a fragment of a linen fabric with two vertically sewn straps of different widths.
The red cassock is a cardinal vestment of Karol Wojtyła. It was made of thin material. The set also includes a cape (mozzetta), reinforced with additional lining, and a biretta.
The scapular, whose tradition dates back to the 13th century, is, on the one hand, a privilege, on the other, an obligation. Those who accept it, by exercising the recommended piety (thanks to John XXII, who announced the “Saturday privilege”), are promised that, on the first Saturday after their death, they will be saved from purgatory.
Bogdan Treter (1886–1945) — an architect and regional heritage conservator for the Kraków Province — designed fabrics for the Polish Kilim Making Industry Association (“Kilim”), shown in 1929 at the National Show in Poznań. His designs were executed by Wanda Grottowa's Artistic Kilim Studio in Kraków.
Textile executed in tapestry weave and “flying-shuttle” technique. This element originates from Coptic tunic. The preserved fragment inside an aorbiculus is covered with decoration of the Flechtknoten type.
The presented object is the burgundy coat of bishop Karol Wojtyła, fastened with a decorative hook. The set contains a burgundy biretta.
This is a fragment of a loincloth with applications in the form of sewn-in wheels and fringes. The fabric comes from Peru and is a part of Władysław Kluger’s collection from 1876.
The homespun sukmana coat is traditionally believed to belong to Tadeusz Kościuszko, sewn of ashen cloth, with long sleeves lined at the end with red fabric, widening from the waist down. The upright collar is sewn with a red fabric inset. On the collar, along the hook-and-eye clasp, at the waist and the coat tail cut, there are brown braids of woollen string. At the bottom of the right coat tail there are four horizontal zones of blue and yellow embroidered with wool.
Verdures – tapestries presenting animals in a lanscape setting – are a large subset within the collection of Sigismund II Augustus. They can be divided into three groups. Turkeys is a part of a set of sixteen textiles in the shape of a horizontal rectangle. Central area is framed only by a narrow border of interweaving ribbons and flowers. They present animals commonly known in Europe, as well as exotic ones, such as turkeys, which were brought to Europe from America at that time. All the creatures are depicted amid the scenery of a Central European forest, in which, apart from the oaks, ivies and reeds typical of this region, there are fig trees and grapevines can.
The tapestry has been preserved in two parts. Like other arcade tapestries of this type, which were designed to be put up above window recesses, it was damaged when it was kept in Russia in the nineteenth century. At that time, its central section was cut out. In both sections of the textile, a goddess is shown with a palm wreath on her head. The seated figure holds a cornucopia in her hands, which allows us to identify her as Ceres, the Roman goddess of the harvest.
Portrayals of animals (both European and exotic) in verdures were modelled on engravings from zoological atlases, which began to appear around the mid-16th century. Artists tried to depict specimens of a given species as accurately as possible, appending written descriptions to their prints. Such prints were very popular at that time, and cartoon painters used them to draw models for the animals that appear in the Wawel tapestries.
The grotesque tapestry with a monogram of King Sigismund Augustus (SA – Sigismundus Augustus) and a globe is part of a series of decorative textiles in which the royal monogram plays the major role. Before our eyes, an extravaganza unfolds of ancient gods, birds, animals, fruit and flower garlands. On the axis of the composition is placed an oval shield with the monogram of the king, covered with a closed crown. A richly decorated frame is surrounded by a wreath of fruit. Aside from apples, grapes and lemons, there is also a pineapple, brought to Europe by Christopher Columbus.
A tapestry of the same size and the same function as the tapestry with the Monogram of Sigismund Augustus in Cartouche. It belongs to a group of three monogram grotesques with the initials SA inscribed within an oval medallion. In the middle of the composition, there is a blue convex medallion with the entwined initials SA under a closed crown, placed against a background of a drapery supported by two angels sitting on crosspieces of a metal frame (a motif typical of Netherlandish grotesque).
A white cassock with small buttons (just like red shoes) is an everyday Pope’s outfit. White symbolises the purity of body and soul. The history of the papal outfit of that colour dates back to the time of Pope Pius V — a Dominican who, during his pontificate (1566–1577), introduced decisions of the Council of Trent connected, among others, with the renewal of the hierarchy in the Church.
The tapestry belongs to the same series of tapestries designed to be hung under window sills as the Under Window Tapestry with the figures playing the shells. Two textiles with monkey scenes have been preserved from the total of fourteen tapestries of this group. All the small tapestries were sewn on to over-window and over-door tapestries in Russia (to where they had been taken away in 1795). The artificially assembled elements were unstitched after this part of the collection had been repossessed in 1922. The tapestry with inv. no. 128 was the one which had been damaged to the relatively smallest extent; it was cut mainly at the side edges. Quite a big part of a rectangular shape is missing on the left side.
Two satyrs hold a blue shield with a decorative monogram SA (Sigismundus Augustus) of King Sigismund Augustus. The cartouche is topped with a closed crown. The mythological deities stand in a frame of richly ornamented strips of wood, curved in an arc, against a forest landscape. The deity which can be seen on the left of the shield has a wreath of vine on its head and is girded with a vine with clusters of ripe grapes.
In front of us, the last act of the history of the Tower of Babel takes place – The Spread of the Nations. On a meadow at the foot of the hill, a group of people can be seen, with two men standing and five women sitting next to them on the grass. All attempts to communicate with one another have been in vain, the evidence of which is a tablet in the hands of the woman in a blue dress.
The second tapestry in the series The Story of the Tower of Babel shows the consequences of human pride. The builders of the tower wanted it to reach the sky. Human pride angered God, who decided to destroy the work of sinful humanity. Bearded Nimrod, the initiator of the construction, stands at the foot of the tower with hand upraised, trying to shield himself from the Creator, who appears in the upper right hand corner of the textile. Builders working at ground level have scattered their tools and disperse in panic, while those who are on the scaffolding point the angry Creator out to reach other; furter in the background, work continues as if nothing has happened.
The Confusion of Tongues is the third tapestry of the Story of the Tower of Babel series. Unable to comunicate, the people begin to disperse leaving the construction unfinished. Two men in the foreground attempt to interact by using gestures, but it seems that this is in vain. Next to them, two women and a man are sitting in a boat. The man is loading a large package wrapped with string onto the boat. Behind them, resigned people are leaving the construction site; workers with pack animals are going in different directions. The tower itself looks as if it had been abandoned long ago; trees are growing on its lower storeys. God hovers above the tower.