Armoury, Szczyrzyc Abbey

The building that currently houses the museum was probably built in 1607–1625. Initially, it was a gatehouse with accommodation for guards and guestrooms. It was transformed into a granary in the 19th century. The monastery museum was established in 1954 to display exhibits collected in the abbey and was initially located in cloisters of the lower part of the monastery. After the general overhaul ended in 1984, the collections were transferred to the building recovered from the state. In the room known as the armoury, various Polish and foreign weapons are on display, including sabres from the 16th to the 19th century, short swords, rapiers, cutlasses, halberds, firearms, a 17th-century crossbow, 16th-century knight’s armour, hussar armour breastplates from the 17th century, chain mail and various types of helmets. The room also contains a collection of weapons from various continents such as a Japanese armour, a samurai’s sword and a hara-kiri knife, Australian boomerang, African hunting spear, yatagan, Indonesian fetter, African djerid and Malay kris. In addition to the weapons, a collection of minerals is also on display. A unique early 20th-century print of a copy of the medieval world map from Ebstorf compiled towards the end of the 19th century on the basis of the cartographic research of Konrad Miller is a valuable exhibit. Its prototype was made in the early 13th century by Benedictines from the Ebstorf monastery. It is an example of the ‘mappa mundi’. It depicts three continents known at the time: Europe, Asia and Africa. The shape of the map resembles an imperial orb. It was painted in a circle with the inscribed figure of Christ with hands outstretched to form the sign of a cross. Geographic directions are presented, as follows: east at the top of the map (with the face of Christ who came from the East according to the Christian tradition), west at the bottom, north on the left and south on the right. Jerusalem depicted on a regular square plan in which the image of the Risen Christ was depicted is at the centre of the map. The entire map consists of about 1600 drawings and explanations referring to history and development of the world. Many miraculous places can be seen in central points while mysterious and dangerous beasts roam the edges. Christ’s head and limbs show four cardinal directions. Polonia (Poland) is visible in the bottom left part of the map.

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