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Studia Waweliana — 6/​7.1997-1998

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Nowacki, Dariusz: A gothic pendant in the Wawel collections
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Studia Waweliana
Tom VI-VII, 1997/1998
PL ISSN 1230-3275


A Gothic Pendant in the Wawel Collections

In 1995 a modest jewel (fig. 1 a-b)1 was acąuired
for the Wawel Museum, which is noteworthy not only
because such objects are rarities in Polish collections.

Cast in silver and fire-gilded, the pendant has the
form of a ring, flattened in section, inside which is a
bas-relief openwork composition - Adoration of the Magi
- cut out of the background. Mary, distinguished by a
halo, is seated in the centrę of the scenę, holding the
Child in swaddling clothes on her lap. One of the Magi

except for the bumps left after casting. The whole is
4.1 cm high, 0.3 cm thick, and weighs 9.64 g.

The object betrays a limited rangę of goldsmith's
techniąues employed, with almost no chasing; this,
however, despite a summary character of the form
due to imperfections of the cast, does not essentially
detract from the artistic ąualities of the entire object,
discernible even in photographic enlargement. A nu-
merous group of related jewels - decorative pieces

is kneeling before her, behind him stands another,
Pointing with his hand over her head, while the third
is advancing with a vessel for myrrh, closing up the
composition on the left. The rim is decorated with a
twisted cord ornament; soldered on to the top is a
smali ring for hanging the jewel. The reverse is plain,

1 Inv. no. dep. 680; h. 4.1 cm; diam. 3.7 cm; w. 9.64 g.
Private deposit. The emission spectrometric analysis performed
by Dr Maria Ligęza from the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow,
revealed c. 30% of copper content.


E. Moses, Anhanger [in:] Reallexikon zur deutschen
Kunstgeschichte, 1, Stuttgart 1937, cols. 699-701.

worn at the belt, round the neck, on watch chains,
attached to rosaries, or sewn on to the clothing —
used alike by men, women, and children, exhibit
similar traits. Throughout the 15th century this was
the most popular kind of middle-class jewellery, cast
in silver but towards the close of the century super-
seded by gold and copper-gilt, more carefully chased
though artistically inferior to elaborate box reliąu-
aries2. Also these examples of smali devotional works
of art repeat the most fashionable iconographic Solu-
tions, developed in monumental art - painting and
sculpture - and popularized by engravings. The choice
of subject matter is rather conventional: The Annun-
ciation, Adoration of the Magi, Garden of Gethsemane,