In the inter-war period, the art of kilim making was at its prime. The achievements of Polish artists gained recognition at the Paris International Decorative Art Show in 1925. On the one hand, it was widely believed that it was necessary to draw on folk culture and, on the other, creatively process the patterns.
Brussels weaving workshops worked for the wealthiest clients: popes and rulers. These were large enterprises, employing from a few to a dozen qualified weavers, capable of bearing the very high costs of making fabrics. Expensive materials — the best wool, often Spanish or English, silk and the most expensive threads of gold and silver — constituted a very serious expense, not only for the workshop, but also for the client.
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.
Budrysówka (also: burdysówka) scarves were worn by older women. They folded them in half and at the corner and put them over their shoulders to use as a warm covering in the winter. They also wore them on their heads when it rained or snowed. The middle of the scarf consisted of a one-coloured thin cloth.
The custom of hanging a parochet on the Aron Kodesh door (the Torah Ark in the synagogue, in which the Torah scrolls are kept) goes back to Biblical times. In the Temple of Jerusalem there was a similar curtain separating the Holy place from the Holy of Holies...
The offered hand invites a handshake. However, its extension is a dirty flag with the inscription Rag. We must decide whether we shall respond in kind to the seemingly friendly gesture, or whether we shall openly reject it. The work is a commentary on the epoch of the People's Republic of Poland.
The interwar period wast the heyday for many fields of art and the economy, including Polish industrial design. The trends in contemporary design were initiated by the cooperative “Ład”, founded in 1926 by the lecturers of the School of Fine Arts in Warsaw as a continuation of the concept of Krakow Workshops.
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.
An apron to match the Kraków costume made of two gores of white thin woollen fabric with motifs of green twigs, roses and other pink and red flowers, and blue and pink tiny flowers and buds printed over it.
The “trumpet” was an object — a prop of the Rabbi character (played by Zbigniew Gostomski) and his Pupil (Dominika Michalczuk). The natural-sized tin trumpet was covered with a black material, a kind of casing whose end on the cup side dropped loosely falling into the metal bucket. The trumpet was hung on a metal frame structure (nearly 3.5 metres high) where a system of blocks and transmissions was installed with steel links enabling it to be raised and dropped by a crank handle.
The horse tack shown is a part of the almost typical horse-riding equipment used in the Republic of Poland by rich noblemen and magnates in the 17th and 18th centuries. The tack consists of a saddle, a girth, stirrups and a bridle with szkofia and a breastplate. The shabrack with a pair of tassets also originates from Adam Sapieha's collection, though the previous owner is unknown.
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.
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.
In the 16th century, Rome attracted artists from the North with a series of discoveries of ancient works, as well as with works of the Renaissance masters – Raphael, Michelangelo and Leonardo. This fascination brought a trend in paintings known as the Netherlandish Romanesque. Its sources were of two kinds.
The czuha played a special role in the outfit of the Lemkos: it symbolised wealth and prestige. The czuha was obligatorily worn to Orthodox church, on more important festivals — even in the summer, as well as for weddings (even if one had to borrow it). It was a kind of a voluminous coat made of brown domestic cloth, which for other Lemkos was indicative of its owner’s origin.
A kimono is one of the first things that comes to mind when we think of Japan. We always see those traditional dresses exquisitely decorated with painted or embroidered designs. Each of them is decorated with the most beautiful and elegant patterns. However, there are also everyday kimonos with repeating, small patterns of flowers, birds, fans and other motifs. They are made using stencils such as the Ise-katagami, which the Japanese have been creating for centuries.
The sukmana coat, formerly known as an outer garment, was commonly worn on Sundays and festivals by the inhabitants of Kraków villages. It was made of white cloth formerly manufactured, for example, by drapers from Chrzanów (even in the early 20th century, about a dozen families living in Chrzanów were still involved in this craft). Cloth made of spun wool was purchased from merchants from Biała. Depending on the recipient, tailors used a various finish of sukmana coats.
The complete novelty was an animal and plant landscape, no longer treated as a background or complement to the scene, but as a separate subject matter. This type of textile was called a verdure (French: verdure) from the word verdir, or “to paint in green”, because of the predominance of this colour. It is sometimes claimed that one of inspirations for this kind of woven depictions was the hunting preferences of clients , as they are often also described as tapestries “to admire hunting” (ad venationem spectantia peristromata) or “fighting animals” (pugnae ferarum). The plant and animal landscape as a separate subject matter initially appeared in tapestries, later in paintings (for example paintings by Roelant Savery, 1576–1639). Verdures created between 1553 and 1560 that are part of the collection of tapestries of Sigismund II Augustus are probably among the first examples of this subject matter in tapestry art.
Decorating walls with precious textiles added grandeur and significance to modest interiors. It is known from preserved descriptions and inventories that European rulers highly valued this artwork and loved being surrounded with tapestries since they added splendour to their owners. Tapestries were ordered for specific chambers of a ruler's residence as they performed relevant functions in a given space, expressed through the subject matter of their presentations. A special place in the entire collection of Sigismund II Augustus was occupied by monogram and heraldic tapestries, commissioned probably after 1553 (around 1555). Their subject matter and set of motifs expressed a precisely defined agenda directly related to the person of the ruler and his country.