The Motif of a ‘Blind Harper’ in an Unexpected Place

Joachim Śliwa



In the village of Nawojowa Góra (25km west of Kraków, Poland) there is an Italian style villa built in the years 1923–1925 for Karol Gustaw Domański (1888–1936). For one of the rooms (a bedroom), the owner commissioned the manufacture of furniture decorated with Egyptian motifs. Among the latter, of particular interest are two relief panels carved in oak wood and featuring the figures of ‘blind harpers’ (respectively in left and right profile). There is no doubt that the woodcarver copied one of the harpers’ figures from the tomb of Ramesses III in the Valley of the Kings. The room decoration was probably designed by Julian Krupski (1871–1954), a painter and stained-glass artist who was a friend of the owner’s family. The furniture was made in 1929 and the discussed panels are an excellent example of the Egyptomania typical of the period, triggered by the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb (1922). In this case, however, the designer made use of another resource, which had been known to science for much longer. Nevertheless, the local community has long regarded the motif as associated directly with Howard Carter’s sensational discovery.

Słowa kluczowe

Egyptomania; tomb of Ramesses III (KV 11); Julian Krupski (1871–1954); Karol Gustaw Domański (1888–1936)

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