Kęty was a well-known handicraft centre. Furriers were also well-known among the many representatives of handicrafts cultivated here. They set up their own guild, which hat makers and tailors later joined. The museum's patron, Aleksander Kłosiński, also came from a furrier family and knew guild customs well. The furrier’s chest was probably made in the first half of the nineteenth century.
Dowry chests used to be an inseparable element of the furnishings of almost every house. They were often passed down from generation to generation, repainted, renovated, and in time considerably differed in the colour and ornamentation of their original appearance. Time, fashion, and also wardrobes which were cheaper and cheaper and consequently more accessible, were their enemies. Cheap chests were usually made of softwood, which was often attacked by insects.
The tailors’ guild chest is the oldest guild chest in the collection of the Aleksander Kłosiński Museum in Kęty. Tailors from Kęty set up one of the oldest guilds in town. Also, the oldest surviving charter issued by King Sigismund Augustus in 1558, mentioning the guild chest belonging to them. Unfortunately, the chest from that period has not survived, but a chest somewhat younger, made in 1792, belongs to the museum collection.
One of the rooms in a barn is traditionally called a mow (sąsiek). In this case, the name refers to a wooden chest, usually situated in a hall or in a chamber behind a hall, which was designed for keeping grains for sowing. A chest belonging to the collection of the Museum in Kęty is typical of southern Poland. Inside the chest are two chambers for two types of grain.
A painted wooden chest in a Skawina style. It is made of coniferous wood and placed on wheels cut of a wooden plank. A cuboid box is supported on a frame of wood in which there are wheels and a small rectangular drawer. The lid is attached to the rear wall with hinges. The chest has a lock and a signboard with an opening for a key in the front wall made of iron. On the signboard is a date: 12.09.1893.
It has been in the Museum's collection since 1979. According to the accounts of the exhibit's previous owner, the chest comes from the Church of St. Margaret in Nowy Sącz, from where her husband received it years ago.
The chest was part of the dowry of a bride. The girl held in it her dowry – festive shirts, petticoats, skirts, aprons, scarves, true coral beads, homemade linen, and sometimes embroidered tablecloths. When it was “moved” to her husband's house, the lid of the chest was opened so that the neighbours could see the gathered dowry.
The guild chest, often also called “the mother”, was the most important object for the guild brothers. It was connected with the functions it performed. First of all, it was a treasury, in which statutes, books, and other important documents were filed, and money and guild jewels were often hidden in its cleverly hidden secret box. Shoemakers in Kęty were exceptionally dynamic; they sought to conquer the neighbouring markets with their excellent products and succeeded in so doing.
The guild chest was also called the treasury, counter or mother. This one, belonging to the guild of millers and bakers in Kęty, is made of sycamore wood and comes from the beginning of the nineteenth century. In contrast to the other guild chests from Kęty, it is simple in form; neither is there any hidden box nor decorative painting inside. What distinguishes it, are the beautiful fittings that make it appear very impressive.
The chest is made of oak, with inlaid work made of ash. The inlaid work presents two angels, and between them there is a wooden bathtub (on the lid) and two mallets, callipers, and an axe (on the front wall). There are metal handles on the sides of the chest, and, in the middle, there is a compartment for guild privileges.
The presented object is a high, dark green chest, resting on four profiled legs with a drawer at the bottom. The front wall is decorated with a painted pattern of vertical rectangles with concavely incised corners, separated from the background by a honey colour and a narrow burgundy red frame.
The presented box is the so-called putnia box. It was designed for carrying padlocks by salesmen called putniorze. They walked from village to village with putnia boxes...
Dowry chests used to be an inseparable element of the furnishings of almost every house. They were often passed down from generation to generation, repainted, renovated, and in time considerably differed in the colour and ornamentation of their original appearance.
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.
A wooden cuboid counter with a flat cover belonged to the guild of craftsmen specialising in processing animal skin and the production of leather items. Red tanners owed their name to the oak bar used in tanning, which gave the skin a red tone. Leather dressers delicately tanned skins for gloves and clothes with an alum solution.
The presented exhibit belonged to the Guild of Furriers, which has a centuries-old tradition in Myślenice, dating back to the Middle Ages. The guild chest was a richly decorated chest, whose decoration displayed elements usually associated with a given craft and which was used for storing valuable utensils, such as ceremonial cups, documents, and seals.
The lockable presented chest—decorated with zigzag and oblique grid motifs—was used for grain storage. It was carved in an interesting way. The craftsman who made it either knew—or had come into contact with—the achievements of Roman culture.
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.
A guild counter was used for keeping documents connected with the guild, the power insignia of seniors, guild books. The counter of the surgeons’ guild is a cuboid wooden chest with a cover. Its external walls are decorated with panels, ornamented with rhombus motifs filled with stars made in the technique of intarsia (a form of inlaying wooden surfaces with other types of wood).
One of the most precious Italian Renaissance wooden chests in the Wawel collection. It catches the eye with its form narrowing towards the bottom of the trunk, supported on lion paws, and resembles antique sarcophagi to which it owes its popular name “the sarcophagus chest.”