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 Найдите 4 «польских» понятия на этой картинке… Коллаж: Wikimedia/Culture.pl

From chemistry and entomology, to human pathology and musicology – here are the curious stories behind some things from very different fields of reality with what seems like nothing in common other than the word ‘Polish’ in their names.

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Born in Independent Poland. Lahestaniha. The Children of Esfahan Back in Iran After 75 Years, photo: Abolqasem Jala

The Born in Independent Poland. Lahestaniha. The Children of Esfahan Back in Iran After 75 Years exhibition looks at the story of Polish refugees in Iran during World War II. The exhibition will present an extraordinary collection of negatives from the studio of Abolqasem Jala, which were discovered half a century after the end of the war.

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The Born in Independent Poland. Lahestaniha. The Children of Esfahan Back in Iran After 75 Years exhibition looks at the story of Polish refugees in Iran during World War II. The exhibition will present an extraordinary collection of negatives from the studio of Abolqasem Jala, which were discovered half a century after the end of the war.

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The Elżanowski coat of arms as depicted by Tadeusz Gajl, photo: wikimedia.org

There are a couple of thousand different Polish coats of arms. You might expect that these would all include images of some lofty or knightly character but that isn’t always the case. Many are suprising, even baffling. So let’s take a look at seven unusual coats of arms and the stories behind them.

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The Rawicz coat of arms, Polish Armorial from the Middle Ages to the 20th century, Tadeusz Gajl, Gdańsk 2007, photo. wikimedia.org, Jarocki (Rawicz without the rose)

Coats of arms, hereditary graphic signs identifying families of nobility, first appeared in Poland in the 13th century. The Polish use of these signs differed in some aspects from what was typical in other countries - a single coat of arms may have been used by many Polish families. Culture.pl takes a quick look at the basics of heraldry and its Polish specificity.

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Wybrane strony Polskiej Deklaracji o Przyjaźni i Podziwie dla Stanów Zjednoczonych, tom 7, 1926; fot: Biblioteka Kongresu USA

When the United States celebrated the 150th anniversary of their Declaration of Independence in 1926, Poland sent well-wishes in a Declaration of Admiration and Friendship. It contained 5.5 million signatures – one-sixth of the Polish population at the time. These signatures have been digitised and are open for anyone to browse – and maybe find a familiar name!

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Piotr Uklański, Untitled (Pope John Paull II), 2014, photo: Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw

From the times of feudal service, though regaining independence in 1918 and World War II, to the era under the communist regime and now today – the story of Poland is narrated by selected works of art from the exhibition Late Polishness: Forms of National Identity after 1989 at the Centre for Contemporary Art at Ujazdowski Castle.

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Noblemen in kontuszes with sabres, picture taken in Lwów in the 1920s, reproduction: FoKa / Forum

Originating from Persia and other places in the East, the kontush sash, an ornate band worn around the waist, was a staple of the Polish nobility’s attire in the 17th and 18th centuries. Once symbols of their owners’ status and of Old Poland’s unique fashion, kontush sashes nowadays are cherished museum artefacts.

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Wawel Royal Castle and the Royal Archcathedral Basilica of Saints Stanislaus and Wenceslaus, photo: Bartłomiej Kudowicz / Forum

Wawelskie Wzgórze, na którym mieści się Zamek Królewski i Katedra, przez wieki było centrum władzy świeckiej i duchownej w Polsce. W roku 1000 w Krakowie powstało biskupstwo, a wkrótce potem na Wzgórzu Wawelskim wzniesiono pierwszą katedrę.

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It epitomises a nation’s glorious history and its unrelentless spirit. It’s even travelled overseas to become a legitimate American name, albeit with a Polish ring. Just how did ‘Tadeusz’ become the archetypal Polish name?

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Raphael, or Raffaello Santi (1483-1520), Portrait of a Young Man, 1514, oil on wood, 75 x 59 cm, courtesy of the Czartoryski Museum, photo: kolekcje.mkidn.gov.p

The works of art which were confiscated, stolen, or burnt on Polish territory between 1939 and 1945 number hundreds of thousands. Here, we haven't written about those which were destroyed and lost forever, but instead focus on the ones which still exist somewhere, and remain to be found.

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