DATE 18 April - 25 August 2024
Cordage is one of man's oldest occupations, involving the making of cords and ropes. And it all probably began in the Neolithic period with the twisting of fibres into cords, which became stronger and longer over time. Thanks to this invention, it was possible to make the first tools, traps, huts, "domesticate" animals, with time to erect great megalithic structures, ancient buildings and monuments, build ships and greatly improve transport in the Wieliczka Salt Mine. The use of cords, strings and ropes became commonplace.
The core part of the exhibition consists of prints showing rope-making techniques. More than 100 objects have been gathered in one place: books and illustrations from the 16th to the 20th century. These prints represent a variety of techniques: woodcut, copperplate, etching, aquatint, lithography, woodcut engraving. Some of them were printed on handmade paper, sometimes having watermarks. In addition, the exhibition includes machines, tools, materials and cordage products.

The prints presented in the exhibition show the work of the craftsmen, their workshops, machines, tools and products. This makes it possible to compare the work and technology of rope-making by French, English, Italian or Polish ropemakers. Of note are the open-air ropemaking tracks or ropeworks - long brick buildings measuring more than 300 metres - in Rochefort, Toulon and Brest in France and the rope-making hall in the Venetian Arsenal.

The ingenuity of using grottoes and quarries in Naples, Syracuse or a cave near the town of Castleton in the UK for rope production is surprising. On the other hand, Maciej Alojzy Seykotta's work from the 19th century shows a ropemaking workshop deep underground in the Wieliczka salt mine. To this day, it features the Powroźnik cross-path - a long, straight walkway where cords, ropes and cables for the mining industry were made.

The objects come from the private collection of Marek Skubisz, the work of Maciej Alojzy Seykotta from the collection of the Cracow Saltworks Museum Wieliczka.
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