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Court Banner


The Banner of the Archduke Maximilian's Silesian Armies

The Banner was won on 24th January 1588 at the Battle of Byczyna, which was fought between the armies of Maximilian III Habsburg, pretender to the Polish throne, and Chancellor Jan Zamoyski, on the side of Sigismund III Vasa. It was personally won by the young Stanisław Żółkiewski, later to become Chancellor and Hetman (the Battle of Byczyna opened the way to the Polish throne for Sigismund III Vasa).

It was kept in the treasury of the Zamoyski Estates, most certainly in Zamość, and since the 1850s in Warsaw. It was sewn onto a net, probably towards the end of the 19th century, which seriously damaged the textile. It spent the war years hidden in the Czartoryski Museum, which allowed it to avoid the fate of the Zamoyski Estate collections which were burnt in 1944. It was transferred to the Wawel collections in 1959 and purchased in 1995.

The Banner is rectangular in shape, with two teeth, and is sewn from yellowish silk and painted on both sides. It shows a black eagle with a ribbon on its breast with the partially illegible inscription Wel[Her] In Gottes H[erres] and the date, 1587.
Silesia, 1587
silk, tempera
170 x 190 cm