Vintage Wawel Castle Souvenir Ceramic Frame Clothed Woman
Vintage 1950-60's souvenir from Wawel Castle, Krakow Poland. A replica in clay with ceramic frame is of the carvings by Sebastian Tauerbach (d. 1552) from the Renaissance coffered ceiling in the Envoy Room built in 1529. The coffered ceiling originally had 194 head sculpture but in the early 19th century, it was destroyed by Austrian troops. The 30 surviving heads are installed in Hall’s reconstructed coffered ceiling, The actual heads were realistically carved of linden wood, and painted in naturalistic colours representing men and women of all walks of life, from commoners to royalty. (pictured below) They looked down on the Polish King whenever the king was receiving envoys or holding debates of state or conducting trials the Wawel Royal Castle. The last picture is of the castle ceiling that the souvenir is replicating.
Art history experts agree that the piece of cloth or scarf covering her mouth is consistent with the attire of townswomen, typical of the Renaissance period. Such a covering could have been used as a neck or mouth wrap. Often women did that as an expression of mourning.
Among the legends was that the King Sigismund II August upon hearing that a woman was caught eavesdropping on a conversation between the monarch and his advisors, he opted to award a gag on her. Rather than having her imprisoned, she was to bear a testimony for posterity that not everything is for public consumption, and heaven forbid, become a fodder for gossip. A crafty king, he was, I concluded. The explanation was consistent with the king’s experimental policies with civil rights and freedoms, including religious tolerance.
Size 5 1/2" x 4 3/4" x 2 1/4" deep