Relics of the craftsmanship are collected in the Department of the Kraków’s History and Modern Art. These are mainly articles of daily use but also decorative objects. Objects given to the museum at the beginning of the 50’s of the 20th century from the Old Files’ Archives of the of the City of Kraków are huge part and the basis of the collection. Referring to the museum’s profile, which collects keepsakes related to the Kraków’s history, these are objects given by Kraków’s craftsman guilds and municipal institutions. The collection is being extended all the time. Collection of the craftsmanship can be categorized by used techniques:
Relics of the modern gold smithery have the greatest artistic value in our collection. They are related to the city council patronage and the goldsmiths’ guild. An insignia of the City Council is a silver and gilded little sceptre of the Kraków’s mayors from the beginning of the 16th century. It merges features of the Gothic and Renaissance styles. Head of the sceptre is fretted with frieze of Lila, IHS initials and inscription related to righteous judging: „Iuste iudicate F[ilii] H[ominum]”.
Very characteristic relic related to the City Council is ring of the Kraków’s mayors. Golden hoop of the ring, according to the inscription, saying that it comes from year 1532 and the stone from 1590.The sapphire stone has carved Kraków’s crest in it, and it could have been a seal too. This is one of the earliest releases of the city’s crest with an eagle placed in the city defence walls’ gate. A chest of the City Council was used for storing important documents and writing accessories. It was founded in 1751 by the City Council. Founding the chest, the aldermen wanted to commemorate celebrations of the Great Jubilee of the Holy Year – 1750. The chest has been made from wood, covered with silver, decorated in the regency style plates. A lid of has been crowned with casted figure of women similar to Minerva, carrying the city’s crest, what is an idea of righteous judging. Inside the chest there are silver ink pots and sandboxes. In the second half of the 19th century the set of accessories was extended with silver, gilded penholder in shape of a feather. Most of the objects related to the goldsmiths’ guild ceremonies and traditions, because of the profession, used to have jewellery forms (e.g. announcement in shape of a ring). A necklace of the guild was in shape of a cockade (previously called ribbon), ended with a crown and decorated with pendant in shape of a little tear. Brass cockade is decorated with semi-precious stones and painted with colour enamel. Such necklaces and brooches have been made in Europe since a half of the 17th century. Characteristic relic related to the goldsmith’s guild is rectangular board made from the gilded copper. It is ornamented with made by puncturing image of the guild’s patron – St. Eligius and thread from the legend about him. The board is very precious iconographic source, realistic and detailed. It presents goldsmith’s workshop from the beginning of the 17th century. According to the inscription it was founded to the guild’s chapel. In the corners of the board there are three symbols and Pomian coat of arms (probably of the founders and authors of the board) and date – 1609 - related to the time when it was made. As per the inscription, depending on interpretation, the plate was made or gilded by Cornelis Buis, goldsmith who came to Kraków from Antwerp and from 1064 was a citizen of Kraków. Noteworthy are 2, coming form the 16th century, rings made by Kraków’s goldsmiths.
Two bas-reliefs of the goldsmith – Grzegorz Przybyła and his wife – Katarzyna, are also related to the gold smithery. It was made from box-tree and according to the inscription is coming from year 1534. It shows profiles of busts of the married couple. Using this, hard sculptural material the artist precisely presented facial features of both figures, and moreover – elements of the Renaissance clothing and accessories (texture of a goldsmith’s fur collar, rosary in his hand or rings on hand of his wife).
In the collection, significant group of objects made from base metals are tin ware. The tin ware was usually related to the Kraków’s guilds’ activities: cups, plates, candlesticks and pitchers. In 2007, the museum bought a collection of tin. The collection mainly includes objects made between 17th and 19th century in Silesia and Germany. Small part are dishes from guilds inns, and the root of the collection are decorative dishes and these of daily use in houses and bourgeois kitchens – pitchers, cups, tankards, measures, bowls, tureens, plates, chocolate makers, coffee pots, milk pots. The tin collection also includes accessories from churches and chapels: chalices, paxes, candlesticks, altar vases, containers for holy Oils or altar lamps. Many interesting objects made from tin are placed in the bourgeois house – The Hipolit House: brass bedding heater made in 1690 with made using technique of puncturing decorative motif of big fruits and flowers, copper gilded plate from year 1600, with man’s bust made in Nuremberg with the same technique, wine cooling tub from 17th/18th century. Moreover in the collection there is a copper pot made in the 18th century, with decoration of a convex palm leaf on the lid. It was probably made by Kraków’s craftsman.
A collection of ceramics is mainly includes stove tiles. Tiles found during constructional or renovation works in Kazimierz district and whole Kraków from the end of 19th century until 30’s of the 20th century used to be given to the Old Files’ Archives of the of the City of Kraków. Huge and precious group in this collection are tiles from the 16th century, patterned upon designs brought by Bartosz from Kazimierz – designer of stoves in the WawelCastle (e.g. tiles with coat of arms of Poland and with initials of Sigismund I the Old, tiles with coat of arms of queen Bona and floral motives. Very unique motif can be seen on the tile from the 1st half of the 16th century, found on the area of the Town Hall where previously used to be tenement houses. It is decorated by a couple – man and woman, in profiling burst, ordered to each other. Their clothing, from the Renaissance epoch, is presented much in details. Very interesting Gothic relief decoration can be seen on the tile form the beginning of the 16th century. The relief shows motif of a pigeon with a branch in a beak and letters IHS. Tiles from the 17th century have typical for this time white and blue colours, sometimes green and lower relief decoration. Moreover from the 17th century come semicircular finials of the stove’s attic with a motif of balustrade with couple of dolphins in antithetic take. In the collection of modern ceramics utensils there are mugs and pharmaceutical vases given to the Old Files’ Archives of the City of Kraków, made in 16th – 18th century.
The most precious relics in this collection is a cup of the sword-bearers’ guild made from greenish glass. The most characteristic features of this cup are convex bottom in shape of a cone and corrugated cylinder plastered to the bottom edge. It comes from year 1604. It was decorated with painted with enamel picture of the sword-bearers’ guild’s emblem and a scene of the Crucifixion and figures of St. Mary and John by the cross.
Very unique is a miniature, glass rooster made at the beginning of the 17th century, placed in the knob on the top of the Town Hall Tower in 1611. In the collection of glass objects there are bottles and pharmaceutical jars made between 16th and 18th centuries. These survived in various conditions.
Mentioned objects are bagged to decorate exhibition’s interiors. They grace in the interiors of the bourgeois house – „The Hipolit House” exhibition (e.g. Venetian mirror, glass from the manufacture in Naliboki and Urzecze)