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Art & etnography

The paintings, sculptures, works of graphic art, antique coins, handicraft and folk products and other items related with the history of mining and mining culture, in particular items deriving from former underground chapels, collected gradually thanks to the ongoing penetration and stock-taking of the mine’s equipment.

Former objects of worship stand out among them – numerous crucifixes, images of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Christ and Saints, especially the patron saints of miners, St. Kinga and St. Barbara. These are sculptures made of wood and salt, as well as paintings (e.g. Guardian Angel, 1691), wooden reliquaries and numerous elements of chapel decoration.

The collection of art includes the works of Polish painters, including J. Matejko, J. Mehoffer, F. Cynk, F. Olesiński and A. Długosz, the author of numerous depictions of miners and events in the history of the Cracow Saltworks. The collection of drawings and graphic works is extensive, featuring views of the mine (the oldest being from the 18th century) and works of artists related with Wieliczka (W. Skoczylas, J. and T. Markowscy). A high level of goldsmithery is represented by works of artistic handicraft, among them the symbol of wealth of the old-Polish Saltworks – the horn of Wieliczka miners, donated in 1534 to the Brotherhood of Saltdiggers by Seweryn Boner. It is also necessary to list the large collections of mining uniforms and gala weaponry (17th – 20th century), including decorated axes, engraved ivory and wood and the so-called “barty”, as well as sabres and mining staffs.