Objects derived from noble metals were usually marked with signs, so-called features. Their appearance on goldsmith’s products, their number and significance were related to regulations issued by craftsmen’s guilds, then also by city and state authorities. These small marks with numbers and symbols in various shapes, which often remind us of cavities, are an extremely valuable source of information about the artwork. It is possible to specify several types of symbols when recognizing their elements and functions.
Rectangular, closed with a trifoliate arch, with the figures of Moses (on the left) and Aaron (on the right), and the Decalogue tables (in the middle), with the initial words of the commandments engraved in Hebrew. The figures of Moses and Aaron are flanked by spiral columns. On their plinths are Hebrew inscriptions marking the date: on the right plinth, תקס ("560"), on the left: לפק (“according to the abbreviated calculation”) [=1800]. In the three-leaf top, three openwork crowns with colourful glasses are attached.
Welcome cup was a decorative container for drinking beer in guild inns during important celebrations. Its Polish name wilkom comes from the German greeting willkommen [welcome]. Each newly arrived guest had to empty the cup filled with an alcoholic beverage in honour of the guild. The production of such cups developed in Germany in the 2nd half of the 16th century, and later spread throughout Europe.
Among the memorabilia of the old town authorities stored in the collection of the Museum in Tarnów, a special place is occupied by a set of three identical tin jugs. These vessels were created in Gdańsk in 1639, probably in the workshop of the master Assmus Virian.
A children’s crown, open-work, closed by two yokes, on the junction of which there is a sphere with a trace of a broken-off cross. The ring is decorated with eight fleurons: four with palmetto-ribbon patterns at the base of the yokes, and four leaf-like ones. The crown, on the other hand, is decorated with colourful glass imitations of gemstones of a cabochon cut and various faceted cuts.
The preserved Polish inventories dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries inform of a rather high number of silver and gold spoons being the property of the royal court, the Polish aristocracy, the nobility and the bourgeoisie.
Spring clocks, which were invented in the 15th century, have improved with time. Gradually they were constructed smaller and smaller, and at the beginning of the 16th century they were of such a size that they could be placed on the table. One of popular types of such clocks was a horizontal timer with a mechanism placed in a polygonal, flat casing with a horizontal disc on the top.
Six-arched, closed, covered with a canopy with a small crown and a bunch of flowers at the top. The profiled rim, decorated with two appliqué, openwork bands. The crown arches, alternated with figures of birds, are in the shape of lions standing on their hind legs with the front legs resting on narrow, flat bands in the form of a twig supporting the canopy with a drapery in the shape of leaves.
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.
This plate could have been used on the Sabbath or, more likely, during the Purim holiday celebrated in the month of Adar, which symbol is fish, used as an decoration motif in this exhibit.
It is one of the most magnificent Baroque, secular works of Polish goldsmithery preserved in the collection in the world. The scenes most emphasized on the goblet are connected with weaving. This was the main source of income for the residents of Leszno in the 17th century. Two of them illustrate everyday occupations – shearing and weaving, and the third one clearly has a allegorical meaning.
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.
The ring was purchased for the museum collection in 1998 in one of the antique shops in Sącz. According to the owner of the shop, the ring was found among other objects hidden in one of the houses in Nowy Sącz during the war. The exhibit has a great historical value, as only a few similar objects could be found in Polish museum collections.
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.
The silver fowler of the Kraków Fowler Brotherhood is one of the most valuable objects in the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków. This is an example of the work of an outstanding goldsmith of Renaissance Kraków. Unfortunately, we do not know either the artist's name or the goldsmith's workshop responsible for the creation of the bird's sculpture. Very few of the marksmen's societies can boast of an original, well-preserved, cockrel of this type.
At present, the tableware of the Polish royal court is known to us almost exclusively from archive materials. The majority of preserved single items or their designs come from Augsburg – the most important centre of the European goldsmithery in the 17th and 18th centuries. Among these items, the most outstanding is the state set of John Casimir Vasa.
The head is made of gold with six feathers fully covered with an engraved and chiselled floral ornament with niello petals, leaves and palmettes. At the end of the head there is a screwed-in pear-shaped pinnacle with embedded rubies and diamonds. When screwed out, it enables the feathers to protrude.
Kiddush translates from Hebrew as “sanctification.” The ceremony is celebrated at the beginning of the Sabbath and other holidays, by saying a special blessing over a cup of red sweet wine (or red grape juice).
The find is dated back to the 1st half of the 5th century (before 434). It is one of the most interesting pieces of proof of contact between the peoples inhabiting the area of southern Poland and the Huns in the 1st half of the 5th century. The grave was discovered by accident in 1911 while mining sand. The majority of the excavated objects were smuggled to Kraków over the then Russian-Austrian border.
The welcoming Goblet is one of Kraków's most valuable guild relics, preserved at the National Museum in Kraków. It was submitted to the museum on 19 September 1905, by the Association of Tailor's Companions, along with a collection of souvenirs belonging to the tailors' guild: a guild counter, a bell, a tray, and a crucifix.