Collections

Fraternities attributes

The collection of the fraternity's monuments is the oldest section of our museum and initiated the present collections. The first items came to our collection in years 1899 - 1924 as gifts. They let us learn about craftsmen's' skills, about the routines and customs of this numerous and economically important society.
The centre of the craftsmen's traditions was the fraternity's inn. It was a place where all needed to incumbency objects were stored. It was a please of trainees' promotion to journeymen, place of entertain of travelling journeymen arriving in the town. In the inn common cases were discussed. People there used to sing, play dicing or cards. The chairman of the meeting was master of the fraternity. He had cartridge belt with the emblem of the fraternity hang on his neck and the mace similar to the military ones.
In this museum collection, we own ones of the goldsmiths' fraternity from the beginning of the 17th century made from brass, gild copper, enamelled, with the gemstones, in the shape of quadruple bow with the rosette in the middle and the crown at the end.
Other symbols of the master's majesty were small sceptres, canes and rings. The golden ring created in 1538 year admires with its precession. This ring was made by goldsmiths' fraternity. It is enamelled, embossed with two herms and the chrysalides between them. Probably it was created in the workroom of Krakow's goldsmith - Ludwig.
In the inventory of the fraternity inn we also have utensils used during the common feasts such as mugs, pitchers and cups mostly made from tin or copper, very rarely from glass. Most of them ware made in the 2nd half of the 18th and the beginning of the 20th century. The most representative are the cups. These are embossed with the engravings or artistic decorations, which are usually covered with the inscriptions of donors and fraternity's emblems. In this group undoubtedly the most interesting one is cup of sword bearers from year 1603. This is the cup made from green colour glass and the notched bottom edge. On the surface of this glass there are paintings of the sword bearer emblem ended with a crown, the date and scene of crucifixion with the Virgin Mary and St. John.
Cases, called counters were used to store of fraternity's money, ex veto, seals, books and certificates. These were usually made from wood, rarely from metal, on four small legs and two bars with lid on wicket. Inside of the case there were dedicated drawers and boxes. There were a lot of hiding places in double bottom or lid. All of them have very sturdy lock. There were embossed with marqueterie, distemper or oil paintings. In this category the most notable is case of surgeons' fraternity from the 17th century with the painting of "The Good Samaritan" on the bottom side of the lid. There is also a case of saddler' and leather-worker' fraternity from 1784 year. This one was made from oak wood, embossed with golden fretwork with flowers and Krakow's crest.
Fraternity's announcement called also "Fraternity circularization" was used to inform about the date of meeting in the fraternity inn. It was used as identity card. It was a wooden or metal plate embossed with the fraternity emblem or their patrons. In the museum's collection there are a dozen or so fraternity circularisation.
One of the most important is circularization of goldsmith's fraternity from 1614 year, made from gild bronze by Samuel Piaskowski. It has a shape of ring with the idea of St. Eligiusz on it. The considerable group in fraternity's collection is ex voto - gifts from trainees graduating to journeymen. In our collection these are usually silver plates, cartouches with fraternity emblem or their patrons from the 18th century. (Other kind of ex voto are silver coins and medals with the name or date on the reverse, older or contemporary to being given.)
The masterwork of polish goldsmiths in this collection are: Golden Plate of St. Eligiusz, the gift from Buis in 1609. On this rectangular forged plate made from gild copper and put in the wooden, carved frame there is a figure of Eligiusz - the goldsmith's patron, pounding the mug in the goldsmith workroom with the journeyman working the fire.
On the exhibition there is the silver shrine in shape of monstrance, made by goldsmith Jan Piotrowski in 1747 in his workroom, and great fraternity chasuble of the cereals merchants' guild from the 15th century, sawed from patterned silk and the idea of The Tree of Life with Jesus Christ Crucified embroidered on it.
In the sparse group of saved images of the Krakow's craftsmen are portraits painted by foreman of the goldsmith fraternity - Grzegorz Przybylo and his wife Katherine, made in boxwood in 1534 year