Seals from the Collection of Lviv Historical Museum

The sphragistic collection of Lviv Historical Museum has over 2500 items from the 14th — 21st centuries. These include seals (imprints), seal matrixes, seal rings (signets) and moulds (copies) of old seals. 

Lviv Historical Museum was established in 1893. Today the Museum houses more than 370 thousand exhibits, it is visited by 400 thousand people every year.

Seal matrix of Lviv (1694)Lviv Historical Museum

Seals from the Collection of Lviv Historical Museum

The museum collection of sphragistics is based on the collections of museum institutions which functioned in Lviv prior to World War II: the City of Lviv Historical Museum, the National Museum of King Jan III, Princes Lubomirski Museum, the Stavropegial Institute Museum, the Museum of Taras Shevchenko Scientific Society and others. Geographically, most of the exhibits are connected with Lviv and Galicia, as well as the states who ruled over these lands in the 14th — 21st centuries (Poland, Austria-Hungary and the USSR).

Seal matrix of Lviv Barbers Guild (18th century)Lviv Historical Museum

Such countries as France, Russia, Italy, Great Britain and Germany are featured as well. Especially valuable is the fairly numerous collection of Lviv sphragistics. Lviv Historical Museum stores the original matrixes of the seals of Lviv Magistrate, Presidents of Lviv, church hierarchs of different confessions, city craftsmen's guilds, various governmental structures, personal seals of famous people, etc. A part of them is presented at the Google Arts & Culture exhibition.

Seal of the Bench (court) of Lviv (galvanocopy) (Late 19th century)Lviv Historical Museum

Seals of the Authorities of Galicia

The section presents the seals of the authorities of Galicia from ancient times to the middle of the twentieth century.

The seal of the city of Lviv (mould) (Late 19th century)Lviv Historical Museum

The seal was used throughout 1359—1787. The brass mould is based on the seal of the oldest known, no longer existing document of the City Chancellery of Lviv from 1359.

Seal of the Bench (court) of Lviv (galvanocopy) (Late 19th century)Lviv Historical Museum

The matrix of this seal is known to have been used throughout 1412—1764. This galvanocopy was produced from a copy of the seal attached to a document from 1421.

Seal matrix of Lviv, 1694, From the collection of: Lviv Historical Museum
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The oldest matrix of a seal of Lviv in the sphragistic collection of Lviv Historical Museum. It was used in 1694—1746.

Seal matrix of Lviv (1694)Lviv Historical Museum

The date “AD1694” (Anno Domini 1694) can be seen under the corded horizontal line below. Legend: sigillum civitatis leopoliensis (Seal of the City of Lviv).

Seal of the City of Lviv (imprint), Late 15th century (?), From the collection of: Lviv Historical Museum
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This seal was used in 1496 — 1698. Legend: sigillum civitatis leopoliensis min (Small Seal of the City of Lviv).

Seal matrix of the Magistrate of the free trade city of Brody (Last 18th century)Lviv Historical Museum

The seal was brought to Lviv Historical Museum in 1940 from the former King Jan III National Museum Lviv, where it was delivered in turn by burgomaster of Brody Gustav Kochanowski.

Seal matrix of the Magistrate of the free trade city of Brody (Last 18th century)Lviv Historical Museum

The noble crown above the shield is decorated with stones. Legend in German language: magistrat der freyen handelsstadt brody (Magistrate of the Fee Tade City of Brody).

Seal matrix with the Princes Lobkowicz coat of arms (19th century)Lviv Historical Museum

The face of the matrix bears the Princes Lobkowicz family coat of arms covered with a mantle and with a mitre on top.

Seal matrix with the Princes Lobkowicz coat of arms (19th century)Lviv Historical Museum

Below the seal, there is a motto: popel jsem a popel budu (I am ash and ash I shall become). The Lobkowicz are one of the oldest Czech noble dynasties, known since the 14th century.

Seal matrix of Petro Bilyanski, bishop of Lviv, Halych and Kamianets, no earlier than 1779, From the collection of: Lviv Historical Museum
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Legend: petrus bielanski episcopus leopoliensis haliciensis kamenecensis podol (Petro Bilyanski, bishop of Lviv, Halych and Kamianets-Podil[skyi).

Seal matrix of President of Lviv (1896)Lviv Historical Museum

The seal bears a knightly cross decorated with laurel and linden branches. Inscription in Polish: prezydent królewskiego stolecznego miasta lwowa (President Of The Royal Capital City Of Lviv).

Seal matrix of President of Lviv (1896)Lviv Historical Museum

The coat of arms of Lviv is depicted on a cross on the escutcheon under the royal crown.

Seal matrix of the Ruthenian Nobility Society of Galicia, Early 20th century, From the collection of: Lviv Historical Museum
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The circle in the centre bears the Sas coat of arms. Inscription: товариство рускої шляхти в галичинї (The Ruthenian Nobility Society of Galicia).

Seal matrix of the Ruthenian Nobility Society of Galicia (Early 20th century)Lviv Historical Museum

The Ruthenian Nobility Society of Galicia was founded in 1907 in Sambir, operating till 1914.
The aim of the Society was to consolidate the Ruthenian (Ukrainian) nobility in Galicia.

Seal of the Military Committee of the Division "Galicia", 1943, From the collection of: Lviv Historical Museum
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Round rubber stamp with a rectangular base.

Seal of the Military Committee of the Division "Galicia" (1943)Lviv Historical Museum

In the middle of the circle on a five-pointed shield there is an image of a walking lion. Circular inscription in German: wehrausschuss galizien (Military Committee of Galicia).

Seal matrix of Lviv Potters Guild 3 (16th century)Lviv Historical Museum

Seals of the City Craftsmen's Guilds of Lviv

The section presents the seals of the city craftsmen's guilds of Lviv from the 15th century to the end of 18th century.

Seal matrix of Lviv Potters Guild 1 (15th century)Lviv Historical Museum

The central part of the seal is filled with hexagonal stars and a short, “tubby” jug with three long-stemmed five-leaf flowers at its core.

Seal matrix of Lviv Potters Guild 3, 16th century, From the collection of: Lviv Historical Museum
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The central piece of the seal depicts the tree of the knowledge of good and evil growing out of a jug.

Seal matrix of Lviv Potters Guild 3 (16th century)Lviv Historical Museum

A snake is coiled around the trunk of the tree. Adam and Eve (created from clay by God), patrons of the potters, stand by each side.

Seal matrix of Lviv Jewelers Guild (Early 17th century)Lviv Historical Museum

Depicted in the middle of the seal is St. Eligius, the patron of the guild. The seal’s affiliation with Lviv is evident in the lion depicted below, heading in the left direction.

Seal matrix of Lviv Jewelers Guild (Early 17th century)Lviv Historical Museum

Abbreviated Latin inscription: sigil contub aurifa leopol (Seal of Lviv Goldsmiths Guild). The matrix was likely produced on the occasion of approval of the Lviv free jeweler's guild statute in 1600.

Seal matrix of Lviv Tailors Guild (17th century)Lviv Historical Museum

Depicted on a blue, horizontally-hatched background in the middle of the escutcheon are scissors with blades aiming upwards.

Seal matrix of Lviv Tailors Guild (17th century)Lviv Historical Museum

Between the blades, there is a lion standing on his hind legs. Latin inscription in two concentric circles: sigillum contuber sartorum leopolien (Seal of Lviv Tailors Guild).

Seal matrix of Lviv Joiners Guild, 1715, From the collection of: Lviv Historical Museum
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The central piece bears the attributes of this guild — joinery tools. Square and calipers with legs spread wide make up a quadrant, overlapped and interwoven by two more unidentifiable tools.

Seal matrix of Lviv Joiners Guild (1715)Lviv Historical Museum

The matrix is encircled with a mixed Latin and Polish inscription: sigillvm cechi stolarski lwowsk 1715 (Seal of Lviv Joiners Guild 1715).

Seal matrix of Lviv Barbers Guild (18th century)Lviv Historical Museum

In the middle of the seal are a rococo escutcheon under the five-pointed crown, a mannequin and a wig with a braid, tied with a ribbon. The lion at the escutcheon is standing on his hind legs.

Seal matrix of Lviv Barbers Guild (18th century)Lviv Historical Museum

Inscription in German: parucken macher zunft siegel k k stadt lemberg 1788 (Seal of Lviv Barbers Guild. The Royal and Imperial City of Lviv. 1788).

Seal matrix of Lviv Masons Guild (1779)Lviv Historical Museum

In the centre of the seal is Archangel Michael clad in armor, his burning sword risen up. Such building tools as calipers, masonry hammer, level and square are the depicted at the Archangel's feet.

Seal matrix of Lviv Masons Guild (1779)Lviv Historical Museum

The middle part of the seal is encircled with a ring, drawn with a “braid” pattern. Legend: sigillum contubernii muratorum leopoliensis (Seal of Lviv Masons Guild).

Seal matrix of Lviv Potters Guild 2, Late 18th century (?), From the collection of: Lviv Historical Museum
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On the potter’s wheel in the middle, there is a tall jug with decorative handle. The jug’s body is wider at the bottom.

Seal matrix of Lviv Potters Guild 2 (Late 18th century (?))Lviv Historical Museum

The seal is encircled with an inscription in Polish language: cech gańczarski we lwowie (Potters Guild of Lviv).

Seal matrix of Lviv Soapmakers Guild (18th century)Lviv Historical Museum

Depicted in the middle of the seal is a rococo escutcheon under the five-pointed crown, masterly lined with branches and flowers. The lion on the escutcheon is standing on his hind legs.

The lion is holding a bar of soap in his right paw and a bundle of candles in his left paw. Misspelled inscription in Polish: pecenec cichi midlarski lwowsci (Seal of Lviv Soapmakers Guild).

Seal matrix of Lviv Tinsmiths Guild (1797)Lviv Historical Museum

Standing on a decorated stand are two griffons who are holing an exquisite lantern in their front paws opposite each other. German inscription at the top: lemberg 1797 (Lviv 1797).

Seal matrix of Lviv Glovemakers Guild, Late 18th century, From the collection of: Lviv Historical Museum
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The central piece of the seal bears the guild’s emblem: a five-fingered leather glove with fingers aiming upwards.

Seal matrix of Lviv Glovemakers Guild (Late 18th century)Lviv Historical Museum

Pants with legs spread wide are hanging from above, resembling a tent. At the bottom, there is an unbuckled leather belt. Inscription in German: lemberger handschumacher zunft (Lviv Glovemakers Guild).

Credits: Story

Creator: Ruslan Koshiv.
Thanks for:
Myroslav Poberezhny (texts, photos),
Roman Herynovych (photos),
Andrew Poznakhivsky (translation)

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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