Gallery – Bulawa & Buzdygan Maces


Maces are amongst the most beautiful objects you can find in Polish collections. In 2007 the Museum – Palace of Wilanów in Warsaw opened fabulous exhibition, where the author, Jacek Gutowski (the Author of the book “Tartar Arms and Armour”), gathered almost all the maces he could find in Polish museums.

As you probably know there are two types of maces used in Poland, and these are the same as the maces used in Eastern and Western part of the world.

The first type is a bulawa-mace, which you can call in English also a baton, seen on the picture above, with round or oval head on the helve. These were never used in battle, always were of high artistic values, and were worn by hetmans, the highest ranked persons in the Polish army.

The second type are buzdygan-maces, or flanged (winged) maces, where the head of the mace is divided into the “feathers” (usually six). These were used as battle weapons up to the half of the 17th century (or maybe even longer) as we can see on the painting “Battle of Kircholm” by Peter Snayers kept in Sassenage Castle (Chateau de Sassenage) near Grenoble:

hussarwiththemaceLater, in the second half of the 17th c. and on the bigger scale in the 18th century, buzdygan maces became much more decorative and fancy. As the bulawa became the sign of hetman, buzdygan maces were used as hussars officer ensign.

Maces used in Poland were mostly of Eastern origin. Many goods was imported from Ottoman Empire and Persia but also from the Hungary and Transylvania (both under Ottoman influences). In a turn of 17th and 18th century some Polish manufactures (especially so-called Lviv Manufacture run by Armenians, the refugees from the Persian empire) started to made some decorative maces using Eastern patterns.

Mr Gutowski prepared a really great exhibition, trying to gather as much historical resources as he could. Thanks to his work he could improve dating and provenience of many known and unknown maces. Unfortunatelly, despite the plans, the museum haven’t made a catalogue or any book for the exhibition, which is a real shame.

Below you’ll find a gallery of pictures I made in 2007. I’m sorry for the quality of some pictures, but the light was quite bad sometimes. You’ll find additional information (if there is) in the picture captions.



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