The Historical Museum in Bielsko-Biała

Silesian Voivodeship Cultural Institution

Ethnographic collection

The collection boasts approximately four thousand inventory items. Those are exhibits coming mostly from the area of the former Bielsko province. The largest part is formed by the elements of folk costumes (from the end of the 19th century till today) worn by highlanders (the Silesian Beskids), the Lasi (mostly in the area of Biała) and residents of Cieszyn, Pszczyna and Wilamowice.  

What is particularly interesting is the collection of silver jewellery worn mostly by women from Cieszyn, including bands, breastplates (so-called orpanty), brooches and breastpins (so-called hoczki) – pins for jerkins – żywotki from Cieszyn. The collection of the latter amounts to almost 1500 pieces. Those were made at the end of the 19th century and in the first half of the 20th century, through the use of both moulding and casting techniques as well as the filigree technique.  

Some of them bear a maker’s mark which renders it possible to establish who it was manufactured by. Among the breastpins cast, the most interesting ones are the pins with figurative motifs (with various types of lions, double-headed eagles, winged dragons, mermaids, angels, cupids, deer, peacocks, pigeons), but there are also many vegetative motifs. The filigree breastpins usually have the shape of stylized leaves and flowers filled with ogees, volutes and circles. There are also numerous jerkins (żywotki) and traditional caps with lacy ornaments made using bobbin, crocheted or needle lace.

The collection also includes decorative fabrics, a wide range of embroidery (in one or many colours, cross-stitch, flat embroidery, broderie anglaise, cutwork) and crocheted lace from Koniaków.

The folk art encompasses both ancient paintings, sculptures and chromolithographs as well as modern art: sculptures, reliefs, paintings and glass paintings. Part of the collection is also formed by toys and wooden birds.

The traditional and ritual art is represented by Nativities, ritual masks and carol singers’ stars. The Nativities display a varied collection of styles ranging from boxes wrapped in paper with a few characters cut out from plywood or cardboard, through thatched buildings resembling rural houses with characters carved in wood, to the church architecture typical of puppet Nativities. Two of them resemble the architecture of Bielsko and Biała. The oldest Nativity comes from Godziszka and was made by an unknown author at the turn of the 20th century. The masks are mostly made of wood. The most popular ones include the masks of a Jew, Devil and Death, as well as goats accompanying carol singers. The collection also shows costumes of Gypsy men and women as well as Horses from the group of the so-called Grandfathers (Dziady), who still go carolling on the New Year’s Eve and the first day of the New Year in some villages of the Żywiec Beskids.

The Department also boasts household equipment and objects, exhibits related to the folk handicraft (mostly weaving and wood processing) as well as agriculture and farming.


The Historical Museum in Bielsko-Biała
address ul. Wzgórze 16, 43-300 Bielsko-Biała
phone sekretariat (pn - pt, 9:00 - 15:00): 33 811 10 35
phone kasa / ekspozycja: 33 817 13 61

Prawa autorskie. W braku odmiennego zastrzeżenia, prawa autorskie do treści niniejszej strony internetowej posiada Muzeum Historyczne w Bielsku Białej. Żadne materiały, poza materiałami określonymi jako materiały do pobrania, znajdujące się na niniejszej stronie internetowej nie mogą być reprodukowane lub przesyłane w jakiejkolwiek formie i w jakikolwiek sposób bez pisemnego zezwolenia jej Właściciela. Treści w materiałach do pobrania nie mogą być w żaden sposób modyfikowane bez pisemnej zgody Właściciela tej strony internetowej.

Zastrzeżenia prawne. Właścicielem i operatorem niniejszej strony internetowej jest Muzeum Historyczne w Bielsku – Białej z siedziba przy ulicy Wzgórze 16, 43-300 Bielsko - Biała. Publikowane na stronie internetowej informacje i cenniki nie stanowią oferty handlowej w rozumieniu art. 66 Kodeksu Cywilnego. Muzeum Historyczne w Bielsku – Białej dokłada wszelkich należytych starań w celu zapewnienia rzetelności prezentowanych informacji. Istnieje jednak zawsze ryzyko pojawienia się pewnych nieścisłości.

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