THE COACHES OF KING JAN III SOBIESKI AS AN EXEMPLE OF UNDERAPPRECIATED POLISH MASTERPIECES (Karety króla Jana III Sobieskiego przykladem niedowartosciowanych polskich arcydziel)
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Today, much is said about the culture, tradition, identity and heritage of a nation, a region or a city. This trend is the outcome of a search for one's own roots and an attempt at answering the question: who am I and in what way do I differ from others? It is universally known that the exceptional qualities, attraction and specificity of each European state are determined not by its borders, which for all practical purposes are nonexistent, but its unique culture and artefacts which should be protected. The authoress presented the priority of historical monuments in the construction and launching of 'small homelands' in her book entitled 'Przywracanie kulturze dolnoslaskiej jej regionalnej specyfiki' (The Restoration of the Regional Specificity of the Culture of Lower Silesia). Gathering pertinent material she came across a certain monument which should certainly perform that function, but which remains totally underappreciated. She has in mind the carriages of King Jan III Sobieski, which experts on the subject regard as the most magnificent example of this category. Polish horse-drawn carriages surpass others predominantly thanks to their lavish embellishment and artistic level. Why do they remain unknown? The Museum-Palace in Wilanow, which is the legal owner of the carriages, informed her that they are kept in a subterranean part of the palace but no further data are available. The only competent person in Dr Teresa Fabijanska-Zurawska, a world-renowned specialist and senior curator of the largest Polish collection of carriages featured at Lancut Castle. In August 2008 the authoress arrived in Lancut in order to conduct an interview whose prime question was: 'I have travelled specially from Olawa, a town which up to 1741 contained the carriages of King Jan III Sobieski. You discovered them at the beginning of the 1970s, adapted for a pulpit in a church in Radacz. Almost forty years have passed, and the Poles still know almost nothing about this unique monument. Why?'. Dr. Teresa Fabijanska-Zurawska has remained powerless since although she has prepared scientific material concerning the royal carriages, the popularisation of knowledge and its promotion are not part of her competence but are reserved for the legal owner of the monument. The ensuing situation is the consequence of the absence of suitable luminaries, who could contribute to rendering the valuable monument part of national pride and, predominantly, integrate us in activity aimed at the protection and promotion of the Polish cultural heritage. The intention of the presented article is a depiction of these exceptional monuments of Polish national culture.
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