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The Historical Collection

The basic register of the museum from 1879 contains several objects of great value, and a part of these are still the pride of our collection. Among these objects there are some of local interest, but also with an outstanding value regarding the history of Székelyföld and Transylvania, starting with the 17th century (the watch of Prince István Bocskai, some pieces of furniture once belonging to Tamás Basa, lord of Háromszék, the glass of Prince János Kemény, pieces from the tableware of Pál Béldi, porcelain platter of Count István Apor) and following with the relics of 1848–1849 (the highest military medal of the War of Independence: the star-cross given to General Bem for taking the city of Szeben, donated by Lajos Kossuth; or the ceremonial saddle of the martyr from Arad, General Ernő Kiss).

Géza Nagy has become the curator of the museum in 1881, and in his endeavour to create a modern, up-to-date museum he divided the material of the museum into collections. Within “Antiquities” he outlined the following collections: archaeological collection, numismatic collection, arsenal, goldsmith’s collection, watches, seals and furniture.

The material of the historic collection – first of all the arsenal – was expanded mostly in the years before World War I, when the weapons confiscated within the Háromszék were donated to the museum. In the interwar period – mainly through the collecting work of Vilmos Csutak, Ferenc László, János Herepei, and the deposits of the historical Churches – the museum was expanded with numerous objects of ecclesiastic art. Also in these decades the museum was given the only surviving cannon manufactured by Áron Gábor, and the military press of General Bem, bought from Debrecen and donated to the city of Kézdivásárhely in 1849.

These collections suffered a severe loss in 1945, when during the rescue attempt the most valuable items (a tin can of Hodgya from 1400, the glass of Prince János Kemény from 1660, the star-cross of General Bem from 1849 etc.) were destroyed.

In 1970 the board of the museum decided to create a separate historical collection thus, besides choosing and collecting the suitable items a new, a separate scientific register was made, while the collection was assured a separate storehouse.

1. The arsenal

In this collection we have a great variety of weapons used for hand-to-hand combat, mostly swords and sabres, weapons and status symbols in one. There are 105 items, representing a large period of time, from the 13th century through the time of the Transylvanian Principality, the Székely border-guards’ period, respectively the 1848–1849 Revolution and War of Independence to World War I.

Taking into consideration the historical value, we have to outline the 12 double-edged swords from the 13th–15th century, with which we possess the largest mediaeval sword collection in Transylvania, with approximately one third of the known material.

The weapons of the 16th century are represented by the sabres, which were more adaptable to light cavalry combat (e. g. a great piece with four blood canals and the inscription APPAFI / ANNO 1599), respectively daggers for penetrating the armour (one made in Northern Italy and one with rough blade).

A large part of the arsenal is represented by 18th and 19th century swords and sabres, and through them we can observe the evolution of this type of weapon. Many of these items were used in the 1848–1849 Revolution and War of Independence, and were donated by the owner or his descendants to our institution. The collection is completed also by the complementary weapons of the late 19th century clothes, such as the ornamental sword with gilded hilt and semi-precious stones, often having an archaic form, in use for the Hungarian dress uniform.

In the end we have to mention the weapons of oriental origin (such as the Turkish, Japanese, Cossack and Caucasian swords), only a few in number, but of an outstanding value.

This collection also has a few maces, used both as a weapon and as a sign of military rank. They have diverse forms: some are feather-like; others are globular with chains, with neat or rough heads. Among the halberds and pickaxes we have to mention four axes of mediaeval origin, found at Sámsond. A big halberd with curved handle and square head dates back to the time of the Principality, to the 16th–17th century.

The firearms represent around the eighth part of the historical collection. Among the 140 pistols the oldest one dates back to the second part of the 17th century. The ones from the 18th and 19th century are first of all flint pistols, Austrian military models. From the same period we have extremely decorated pistols from the Balkans. The pistols with firing-cap appeared in the first part of the 19th century, and our collection holds some examples of French, Prussian and Austrian production.

From the early age of repeating pistols we hold one front-loaded and several back-loaded revolvers, and a few Hungarian automatic pistols (FÉG).

The eldest pieces in our 83-piece collection of rifles are two Turkish military guns (tüfenk), followed by the flint rifles, the firing-cap military and hunting rifles of the 19th century, and finally the Russian Mosin-Nagant gun. The specialties of this collection are a Girardoni-rifle, a firing-cap rifle by a craftsman from Brassó called Horváth, with the inscription “Kronnstadt”, and an Arabian curved beaded musket.

In this collection of firearms we can include also those 10 signalling mortars of different sizes, donated to our museum by some cities and communities.

The defense weapons represent a relatively small part of the collection, even though there are interesting pieces such as Hussar helmets from the 16th–17th century, an iron helmet with wires, a cuirass, three complete armours and an ornamental shield that can be hanged on the wall, most of which were included in the collection in the early period of the foundation of the museum.

2. Lapidarium

In the lapidarium of the historical collection one can find first of all carved works of the Middle Ages and of the Modern Age. Here can be seen a 1636 inscription from the tower of the reformed church in Albis, the sepulchre of two captains from Háromszék (a completely-shaped one of Kelemen Béldi from Bodola with an inscription – 1627, and one of János Nemes from Hidvég – 1642), the 18th century tympanum ornaments of the Mikes castle from Uzon, a 1792 carved inscription of the Bethlen castle from Alsórákos, the rescued tablet from the Lábas Ház of Sepsiszentgyörgy with the shield of the 11th (Székely) Hussar regiment.

Probably the most valuable items of this collection are the carved porch of the Tompa mansion from Kisborosnyó (1728), respectively the 17th century frame of the gate of the Basa mansion from Zabola, which are exhibited in the entrance hall of the museum. The gothic tabernacle of the church from Nagygalambfalva can be found in the Chapel.

3. Furniture

The collection of furniture is quite poor considering the numbers, but its most valuable items recreate the interiors of the homes of Transylvanian aristocracy and bourgeoisie. From Zabola we have the reclining armchair (1640) and bookcase (1642) of Tamás Basa, lord of Háromszék. Another important piece is the painted chest of drawers with secret compartments of Anna Récsey, an Oriental table flat, a few pieces of furniture made by Áron Gábor (a round table, a chest of drawers with desk), a leather armchair with blazon, and a Neo-Renaissance desk made by István Sovánka.

4. Clocks

The eldest piece of this collection is the watch of Prince István Bocskai made in Augsburg in 1604, yet we mostly keep 18th and 19th century items, clocks made in Vienna, but also some pieces made by Transylvanian masters.

5. Pipes

The collection of 44 pipes includes mostly decorated or simple pieces from the 18th end 19th century. Their base is meerschaum, ceramics and wood. The engraved, semi-embossed decoration presents shields and hunting scenes. The most frequent zoomorphic representations are the horse, the deer and doe. The most valuable item is one jealously watched relic of our museum: the pipe given by Count István Széchenyi to Ferenc Deák in 1840.

6. Seals

To this collection belong special items like the seals of the Székely border-guard regiments or the items used by the regional administration, but there are also some familial or individual ones. Most of the seals are official ones, donated to our museum by the Háromszék County. We have a seal of Bardoc subregion from 1830, seals of Udvarhely region from 1856 and 1867, respectively the elder seals of almost every village of Háromszék replaced with new ones in the 1880s.

7. Tin collection

The tin collection can be considered an important one in spite of the fact that its most valuable items were destroyed during the failed rescue attempt from 1945. The remaining items include palettes, plates and cans – many of them with the sign of the guild –, respectively a special polygonal bottle from 1830. Most of these pieces were made in Transylvanian (Brassó, Szeben, Segesvár) manufactories, but there are some coming from Buda as well. Besides the enumerated items we can also find the vessels with scale, used in drugstores, devotional objects from the churches of Háromszék, and others once the property of Saxons guilds.

8. Guild mementoes

Our guild mementoes collection is relatively rich, consisting mainly of objects of the 19th century guilds from Sepsiszentgyörgy. The outstanding pieces are the chest of the local boot-makers’ guild from 1846, the common chest of the joiners’ and locksmiths’ guilds from 1853, plus the chests of the boot-maker, hat-maker, furrier and tin-maker masters from 1856. We have to mention also the calling tablet and seal of the boot-makers’ guild from 1810, the wood goblet of the tanners’ guild, the writing kit of the joiners’ guild, and the flag of the tailors’ guild, which had been used as the flag of the militia during the Revolution from 1848–1849.

9. Porcelain, ceramics, glass

The most important and the eldest items of our 145-piece porcelain and ceramics collection are the Hutterite jugs with tin cups, but there are also some specific items made in the short-lived manufactory of fine ceramics from Sepsiszentgyörgy: coffee cups, salt-cellars, match-cellars, bowls, plates etc.

The glass collection has more than 130 items, made both in Transylvanian manufactories and factories from abroad. This collection, expanded by donations and purchase, includes non-series glass and crystal objects. The Transylvanian products are mainly objects from Sepsibükszád, but we also have some objects from Porumbák, Zalánpatak or Feketeerdő. Highly appreciated are the glass objects made by István Sovánka, the man whose name is related to the last prosperity period of the glass manufactory from Sepsibükszád.

10. Sound recording and playing

Among the objects of sound recording and playing from the private collection of Ernő Csáky are numerous gramophones, Pathé phonographs, radio and TV sets, but also a rich and valuable collection of records.

On 1 April 2015 MAGMA Contemporary Art Space from Sfântu Gheorghe celebrated its 5 years anniversary. During these five years we have collaborated with around 250 artists, art theorists, philosophers, etc. and together we contributed to what MAGMA is today.[ details ]
MAGMA Contemporary Art Space from Sfântu Gheorghe cordially invites you to the opening of the group exhibition Examples for Non-universal Chair on March 18, 2015 at 18:00. [ details ]
MAGMA Contemporary Art Space from Sf. Gheorghe kindly invites you to the opening of the exhibition 'DREAMHUNTING' by Igor BUHAROV (Kornél SZILÁGYI), Ivan BUHAROV (Nándor HEVESI) and Vasile CROAT (László HORVÁTH). [ details ]
On January 15, 2015 at 19:00 MAGMA Contemporary Art Space from Sfântu Gheorghe cordially invites you to the opening of the exhibition entitled The geometry of water by Hungarian artist Ágnes PÉTER winner of the first prize at the second edition of the International Graphic Art Biennial in Szeklerland.[ details ]
SALON VIDEO and MAGMA Contemporary Art Space cordially invite you to the opening of the archive-exhibition salonvideo_SUBmissions.[ details ]
Magda CSUTAK // Solo Exhibition[ details ]
Ivan Ladislav GALETA solo exhibition[ details ]
Opening: 14. February, 2014., 19:00[ details ]
Group exhibition[ details ]
Zoltán Szegedy-Maszák & Márton Fernezelyi [ details ]
The 35-year anniversary exhibition of MAMŰ[ details ]
Prints, Drawings and Photos from the Ethnological Archives[ details ]
MAGMA Contemporary Art Space invites you to the opening of the exhibition entitled Master and disciple 4 of the artists Ilona NÉMETH and Jaro VARGA [ details ]
Joint temporary exhibition of the Hungarian Museum of Trade and Tourism, the Hungarian Museum for Science, Technology and Transport and the Fazakas & Kimmel Collection [ details ]
The commune Árkos and the Covasna County Capital, Sepsiszentgyörgy will host an extraordinary event: the ‘Spiral’ International Contemporary Art Symposium takes place here at the Training Center and the garden of the Szentkereszty Castle. [ details ]
Our exhibition attempts to give an overview of the main events, effects and consequences of the greatest plague epidemic of European history, the Black Death, which first devastated Europe in 1347-1349. [ details ]
Holidays and Encounters II. – Ethnographic exhibition and Europe in Miniature cultural program in the Székely National Museum[ details ]
Executive editor: Vargha Mihály.
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