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  Home > Folk Art > Dolls > Polish Historical Series >

Stanczyk 1480 - 1560 - Court Jester Of Kings - Polish Doll
Stanczyk was the most famous court jester in Polish history. He was employed by three Polish kings: Alexander, Sigismund the Old and Sigismund Augustus. Some historians suppose that "Stanczyk" was a diminutive of "Stanislaw Gaska", the jester's true name.


 
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Stanczyk was the most famous court jester in Polish history. He was employed by three Polish kings: Alexander, Sigismund the Old and Sigismund Augustus.

Some historians suppose that "Stanczyk" was a diminutive of "Stanislaw Gaska", the jester's true name. Others, however, maintain that Gaska was in fact Stanczyk's less talented colleague.

Stanczyk has been always considered to have been much more than a mere entertainer. He is remembered as a man of great intelligence and a political philosopher gifted with formidable insight into Poland's current and future situation. He used his job to criticize and warn his contemporaries by the use of satire. His witty jokes often pertained to current political or court matters. Stanczyk's remarks and jokes were preserved by numerous contemporary writers and historians, including Lukasz Gornicki, Jan Kochanowski, Marcin Kromer, and Mikolaj Rej who praised him for fighting hypocrisy in the name of truth.

The best known anecdote about Stanczyk is that of a hunting incident. In 1533 King Sigismund the Old had a huge bear brought for him from Lithuania. The bear was released in the forest of Niepolomice near Krakow so that the king could go hunting the beast. During the hunt, the animal charged at the king, the queen and their courtiers which caused panic and mayhem. Queen Bona fell from her horse which resulted in her miscarriage. Later, the king criticized Stanczyk for having run away instead of attacking the bear. The jester is said to have replied that "it is a greater folly to let out a bear that was locked in a cage." This remark is often interpreted as an allusion to the king's policy toward Prussia which was defeated by Poland but not fully incorporated into the Crown.

Stanczyk became a popular historical figure in Polish literature after the partitions (1795). Some writers treated him as a symbol of Poland's struggle for independence, others provided him with rather Shakespearean traits. He appears in the works of, among others, Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz and Jozef Ignacy Kraszewski.

Stanczyk was also one of Jan Matejko's favorite historical figures and he appears on a number of his paintings. Matejko, giving the jester his own facial features, created the popular image of Stanczyk that is familiar to most modern Poles. The painter always depicted Stanczyk with a very concerned and reflective look on his face, in stark contrast to his cap'n'bells and other jester's gear.
(From Wikipedia)

This traditional Polish doll set is completely hand made the old fashioned way with paper mache, dress materials and paints.  The doll is clothed in authentic regional folk custume as certified by the Polish Ministry of Culture.  Notice the attention to detail and fine workmanship.
Features
  • Posable arms
  • Mounted on a wooden base
  • Size - 3" x 3" x 11" - 8cm x 8cm x 28cm


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