The poem, which we present here, comes from the debut volume of Białoszewski’s poems entitled Obroty rzeczy [How things revolve] from 1956. The works that made up this volume were created during the years 1952–1955 during the outings made by the poet together with his long-time friend and life partner, painter Leszek Soliński, in the vicinity of the Low Beskids, Bieszczady and Krosno. Apart from the cited Medieval tapestry about Biecz the works included in Obroty rzeczy were also the ones inspired by the area such as Barbara z Harczowa, Ballada krośnieńska or the Stara pieśń nad Binnarową which has been repeatedly interpreted...
Bogata kultura średniowiecznej Europy była mieszanką tradycji antycznych (grecko-rzymskich i bliskowschodnich) oraz północnoeuropejskich wierzeń ludów, które Rzymianie określali barbarzyńcami. W mitach wszystkich tych kręgów kulturowych występowały smoki, nic więc dziwnego, że w średniowiecznej literaturze i sztuce wielokrotnie pojawiały się te fascynujące stworzenia. Mieszana natura smoków pozwalała wiązać te bestie z każdym z czterech żywiołów: wedle wielu legend smoki żyły w wodzie, wedle innych chowały się w ziemi; ponadto zionęły ogniem oraz miały skrzydła, więc mogły się wznosić w powietrze.
Określenie smoka jako symbolu zła jest zakorzenione w Biblii – chociażby w Psalmach, gdzie potęga Boga jest opisywana w kontekście pokonywania smoków („Ty ujarzmiłeś morze swą potęgą, skruszyłeś głowy smoków na morzu” – Psalm 74,13; „Będziesz stąpał po wężach i żmijach, a lwa i smoka będziesz mógł podeptać” – Psalm 91,13). W Księdze Daniela pojawia się opowieść o zniszczeniu węża, czczonego przez Babilończyków – w dawnych przekładach, chociażby w Biblii Jakuba Wujka, zwany on był smokiem (Dn 14,23-27). No i wreszcie kluczową rolę odegrał smok w Apokalipsie: objawił się jako siła zła, czyhając na Niewiastę interpretowaną jako Matka Boska („I inny znak się ukazał na niebie: Oto wielki Smok barwy ognia, mający siedem głów i dziesięć rogów – a na głowach jego siedem diademów. I ogon jego zmiata trzecią część gwiazd nieba: i rzucił je na ziemię. I stanął Smok przed mającą rodzić Niewiastą, ażeby skoro porodzi, pożreć jej dziecię” – Ap. 12,3-4).
W drugiej ćwierci XIV wieku w Paryżu kwitła produkcja luksusowych przedmiotów dekorowanych rzeźbionymi w kości słoniowej przedstawieniami związanymi z dworską kulturą i literaturą świecką. Szczególnie interesująca jest grupa skrzyneczek (zachowanych w całości lub we fragmentach), dekorowanych kompilacjami scen z romansów średniowiecznych. Wśród nich jest także zabytek ze skarbca krakowskiej katedry, eksponowany dziś w Muzeum Katedralnym na Wawelu. Inne egzemplarze, o bardzo zbliżonym programie dekoracji, znajdują się w The Barber Institute of Fine Arts w Birmingham, w The British Museum w Londynie, w Metropolitan Museum of Art w Nowym Jorku, w Musée de Cluny (Musée national du Moyen Âge) w Paryżu, w Museo Nazionale del Bargello we Florencji, w Victoria and Albert Museum w Londynie oraz w Walters Art Museum w Baltimore. Część badaczy do grupy tej zalicza również tak zwaną Skrzyneczkę Gorta, przechowywaną dziś w Winnipeg Art Gallery.
Skrzyneczka z kości słoniowej ze skarbca krakowskiej katedry należy do grupy zabytków wykonanych w Paryżu w 2. ćwierci XIV wieku – zabytki te dekorowane są scenami ze średniowiecznych romansów (zob. tekst Średniowieczne kobiety fatalne). Zestawienia poszczególnych epizodów uzupełniają się na zasadzie przeciwieństw: na przykład opowieści o miłości czystej zostały skontrastowane z legendami o cudzołóstwie. Szkopuł jednak w tym, że wiele średniowiecznych romansów jest tak skonstruowanych, że zamiast potępiać grzesznych kochanków, kibicujemy ich niemoralnemu związkowi.
Queen Jadwiga d’Anjou died on July 17th, 1399, several weeks after she gave birth to her daughter, Elizabeth Bonifacia (June 22nd), probably due to labour-related complications (puerperal fever). She was buried on July 19th together with the child, who had died several days earlier, in the chancel of the Wawel cathedral, to the north of the base on which the main altar is situated. The queen was buried in rich clothing of damask with sleeves trimmed with strips of thicker fabric with rhomboid pattern. Burial clothing is one of the most moving mementoes of the great saint. It is difficult to determine the original colour scheme of fabric that have undergone a permanent change as a result of 500 years spent in a dark and damp grave. Undoubtedly, they were extremely expensive and luxurious fabrics, reflecting very high standards of living at the court of Władysław Jagiełło and his wife Jadwiga in late 14th century. The first of these fabrics, clearly oriental in style, was probably made in Egypt in the 15th century. Patterns visible on the other two fabrics are closest to Spanish weaving manufactures from the 13th, 14th, and 15th century.
Silver necklace made of several strands of double stranded wire. The ends of the necklace are forged in the lenticular plate form, decorated on one ornament, completed with hook and eye fastening.
This treasure was found during rescue investigations in the basements of the backyard annex at 13 Kanonicza Street in Kraków in 1979. The deposit fell under the core of the early medieval bank of Okol. It was hidden in a pit measuring 108 x 210 cm, at a depth of about 100 cm, under walls partially covered with oak and fir wood...
The iron sword from the Mały Rynek [Small Market] Square in Kraków was discovered during the renovation of the square’s surface in 2007. So far, it is the only sword found in the archaeological research in the area of Kraków.
In the second bay, counting from the west, of the south transept, placed against a stone wall inside an arch, on an altar stone covered with brass plate, there is a metal, glazed case in the shape of a horizontal cuboid on tiny legs. On the top strip, there is an inscription saying: SERVAE DEI REGINAE HEDVIGIS EX TUMBA A. D. 1949; on the bottom strip: IUXTA VOTA ADAE STEPHANI CARDINALIS SAPIEHA CURA STANISLAI JASINSKI SCHOLASTICI ET PAROCHI SUMPTIBUS CULTORUM SERVAE DEI. On side strips, there are highly stylised leafy ornaments and on the joints of the strips, there are highly stylised lilies. Inside, there is a baculum–type sceptre made of gilded wood, thin and elongated. Its bottom part has a handle separated with a simple ring, in the top part, there is a polygonal plate topped with a finial composed of ragged leaves. The top and bottom ends feature rounded bumps. The orb is made of wood, gilded, globe-shaped, topped with a Greek cross. Unfortunately, Jadwiga’s crown did not survive. The insignia found in Jadwiga’s grave were in no way repaired. They were treated as relics and exhibited permanently next to her sarcophagus. In order to do so, a glass display cabinet was designed and made by a Kraków-based bronzesmith, Edmund Korosadowicz.
In the collection of the Regional Museum in Olkusz, there is a well-preserved medieval sword. It is called an executioner's sword, because local legend claims that it was used for an execution carried out in the square in Olkusz. Scientific research does not, however, confirm such a hypothesis with regard to the presented exhibit.
The cult of saints caused reliquaries to be treated in a special way in the Middle Ages. They served as housing for objects of worship – the remains of saints and martyrs or objects which had come into contact with holiness, which is why considerable attention was paid to their construction using precious metals and beautifully decoration. They were often inlaid with expensive stones.
In the late Middle Ages, popular romances and knight poems, as well as legends from the north, had an enormous influence on court culture. On their basis, court customs developed, an essential aspect of which was an image of ideal love. This was reflected in the ceremonies glorifying the figure of a lady. The decoration of a small case from the 2nd quarter of the 14th century is some kind of interpretation of the medieval world-view, centred around courtly love, which — interestingly — was an ethical problem. Its moralistic and didactic themes, having literary sources, evoked good and bad examples of behaviour, building the principles of proper behaviour.
The sculpture depicts Madonna in a slight contrapposto pose, with her head tilted to her right arm, holding the Child, facing front, in her right arm. The hollowed out figure was probably intended to be attached to the niche of an altar retable.
A small pouch made of a long piece of fabric sewn in half, reinforced on the sides with a silk tape, with a binding in the top part and a hole for a string used to tighten and loosen the pouch. At the bottom, there are decorative elements (tassels) consisting of gold circles made of thread and long single tassels. The whole pouch is embroidered with split stitch, long and short stitch and fishbone stitch. On one side, there are four human figures among thin trees with palmate leaves resembling oak leaves. On the other side, the same young woman is being led up a hill by the old man. Although interpretation of the scenes on the alms pouch is not certain, it is most likely they depict episodes from the story of Tristan and Iseult. The tale of unhappy love of brave Tristan to beautiful Iseult, the wife of king Mark of Cornwall, was written down for the first time in the 12th century and has been reappearing since then in many countries and language versions. Scenes embroidered on the pouch, enrooted in the Arthurian tradition, depict the clash of a sophisticated world of courtly ways (young and beautiful lovers) with wild forces of nature (the old men). There are only several alms pouches with similar decorations preserved until now.
This painting consists of a portrayal painted with tempera on a linden board, with the addition of silvering and glazes. Saints with dark hair, turned slightly to the side, dressed in long tunics and coats, are holding palms in their hands. At the top, on a white stripe in the background, there is a black inscription, written in majuscule...
The rationale consist of two wide ribbons that form the shoulder pieces, joined at the chest and at the back with large circular shields, to each of which, a pair of slightly narrower ribbons that go diagonally outwards is connected. All parts are covered with small pearls which serve as a background for decorations embroidered with gold thread. In the middle of each shield, inside four concentric circles, there is a standing figure of the Lamb of God with a halo round his head and a vexillum on a crossed flagpole. long the ribbons, separated by narrow strips, there are capitalised inscriptions.The ends of the hanging ribbons are sectioned with couples of strips and include shields with the emblems of the Kingdom of Poland (White Eagle) and the Kingdom of Hungary (Anjou). They are placed in such a way that whether you see the rationale from the front or the back, the Eagle is on the left and the Anjou coat of arms is on the right ribbon. All edges of the rationale are trimmed with a narrow stripe, while the edges of the ribbons are trimmed with long gold tassels. Threaded pearls decorating the rationale were fixed in strings to a linen base reinforced underneath with a thick stiffening. The lining was made of red damask. Several types of yellow thread was used for the embroidery: drawn cored wires – smooth, twisted into ropes, lamellae (plates) and the so called bullion. All stripes, letters, vignettes and the Lamb of God are embroidered on a relief base made of thread. Red-and-gold as well as blue-and-gold lamé was used for the background in the coats of arms.
The casket is cubical in shape and consist of six rectangular ivory plates bound together with metal nails and fittings. The top plate is fitted with hinges and serves as the lid. The front side is fitted with a rectangular lock decorated with an image of a tower and two persons: a woman with a large key in her hand and a man on his knees with his hands joined together. On the lid, there is a metal handle engraved in a diagonal checked pattern filled with simplified flowers. On the side plates, there are twelve figural scenes from medieval chance de geste, while on the lid, there are three court scenes. Narration in all of these images follows from the left to the right. The front side features the following images: Conversation of Alexander the Great with Aristotle, Phyllis and Aristotle, Thisbe and lion, Death of Pyramus and Thisbe, while the back side features: Lancelot fighting a lion, Lancelot crossing the Sword Bridge, Gauvain on the Dangerous Bed and Damsels freed by Gauvain. The left side features: Tristan and Iseult’s Meeting in the Garden, the Hunt of the Unicorn, while the right side features: Enyas’ fight with a savage and Old Porter Welcomes Galahad. The lead features a Knight Tournament in the centre, flanked by two scenes which together depict the motif of Siege of the Castle of Love. The Kraków casket is one of seven so called complex caskets, which can be found in world’s most important collections of medieval art.
The bronze original is located in the National Gallery in Prague. Once, it was in the third courtyard of the Prague Castle, where a bronze copy is now located. The original was probably created in 1373 and was funded by the Bohemian King and Roman Emperor Charles IV of Luxembourg, who was at the peak of his power at the time.
In the upper part of the bell resonator is a date, “1382”, written in Roman numerals, which helped identify the date of the casting of the bell. It is also decorated with ornamentation. In the middle of the resonator is a frieze decorated with a curved line. Above it there are three plaques depicting the crucifixion scene placed at equal intervals.