The richly decorated 17th-century monstrance of Bishop Stanisław Kazimierz Dąmbski's foundation, is used exclusively for displaying the Blessed Sacrament on Good Friday and during the solemn procession of the Resurrection on Holy Saturday. It was created between 1680 and 1699 possibly by a Silesian goldsmith Christian Schrötter in Kamienna Góra. Made in silver and adorned with semi-precious stones, it represents Christ in the form of a Host, accompanied by figures from the Old (Abraham, Melchizedek) and New Testament (Mother of God, St. Joseph, St. Peter). It was bequeathed to the Wawel Cathedral by the founder as an equivalent for the gold chalice and silver sanctuary lamp offered traditionally by the bishops at their inauguration.
Bishop Stanisław Dąmbski's monstrance by Christian Schrötter in Kamienna Góra, 1680-1699, Cathedral Museum at Wawel Hill in Kraków.
The monstrance, a chief example of the 17th century Polish goldsmithery, was commissioned by Augustyn Kordecki, Abbot of the Jasna Góra Monastery and later Provincial of the Pauline Fathers, as an ex-voto for the defence of the monastery during the invasion of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by the neighbouring nations in 1655, so-called Deluge. It was created in 1672 in Warsaw by Royal goldsmith Wacław Grotko from Prague in Czechia (also known as Grottke or Grottkau, active in Warsaw between 1665 and 1675), who was paid 30,000 zlotys in gold.
The work was made from jewels donated by pilgrims to the monastery. Over one meter high (103 cm) and over 13 kg weight monstrance was adorned with 2.366 diamonds, 2.208 rubies, 30 saphires, 81 emeralds, 215 pearls and enamel. A large diamond set in the crown at the top, was bequeathed to the monastery by Zygmunt Przerembski, voivode of Sieradz in 1668. Prophet Aaron and King David kneeling at both sides of the glory are holding wheat sheaves, an eucharistic symbol. Scenes at the foot of the monstrance are related to two themes: the sacrifice of Christ (the Sacrifice of Abraham and the Passover) and the eucharist (Elijah in the Desert and the Last Supper).
According to inscription on the base of the monstrance, Father Augustyn Kordecki was Provincial, Father Stanisław Ligęza was Abbot of the Jasna Góra Monastery and Father Romuald Dymalski was Sacristan of the monastery at the time of its creation.
Abbot Augustyn Kordecki's monstrance by Wacław Grotko in Warsaw, 1672, Treasury of the Jasna Góra Monastery.
Main centers of craftsmanship in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (PLC) in the late 16th and at the beginning of the 17th century, a period dominated by late Renaissance forms in arts, were large cities like Gdańsk, Poznań, Vilnius, Lviv and Kraków. Although now perceived as former German territory, Königsberg, known in Polish as Królewiec, was at that time the capital of Duchy of Prussia, a fief of the Crown of Poland, hence part of the Commonwealth and one of the country's important production and trade centers. Amber crafts developed therein, can be therefore considered as integral part of the PLC's production. Mannerist forms in applied arts prevailed till mid-17th century.
Carouche with coat of arms of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by Anonymous from Gdańsk, 1612, Artus Court in Gdańsk. Modified in 1690 to honour John III Sobieski.
Amber tankard in silver frame by Anonymous from Königsberg, ca. 1610, Czartoryski Museum.
Rock crystal reliquary in silver frame by Anonymous from Kraków, beginning of the 17th century, Mogiła Abbey.
Silver votive plaque with velvet background of Jan Wolski by Anonymous from Poland, 1631, Treasury of the Jasna Góra Monastery.
Polish Eagle, fragment of silver goblet with Saint Catherine by Anonymous from Kraków, first quarter of the 17th century, Kremlin Museum.
Maria Josepha of Saxony visited the Jasna Góra Monastery with her sister Maria Anna Sophia on May 23rd, 1744. Daughters of Augustus III of Poland and Saxony offered to the Black Madonna of Częstochowa two gold hearts with their names as votive offering. In 1747 the princess married Louis, Dauphin of France (1729-1765) and some time later, in 1756, through intermediary of Duchess Jabłonowska, she sent to Jasna Góra a votive offering for healing her husband. The oil on canvas painting by anonymous French painter is set in a rich bronze frame, cast, chased and gilded, adorned with rocaille motifs and cartouches with coat of arms of Maria Josepha (Polish-Lituanian Commonweath and Kingdom of France). Inscription on frame informs about the intentions of the Dauphine of France. Both the painting and frame were creted by French workshop, however similar example of craftmanship is a late baroque strongbox with monogram of Augustus III of Poland, created in Poland or Dresden.
Votive painting of Maria Josepha of Saxony by Anonymous from France, ca. 1753, Treasury of the Jasna Góra Monastery.
Strongbox with monogram of Augustus III of Poland by Anonymous from Poland or Dresden, 1740s, Czartoryski Museum.
The reign of king John Albert was a period of gradual transition from gothic to renaissance art in Poland. Majority of preserved effigies of the king were most probably created posthumously, however the artists who worked for the Wawel Cathedral, beyond any doubt known the king personally.
Among the oldest is a portrait of the king as a donor kneeling before the crucified Christ in a group of sculptures known as the Triptych of John Albert. The triptych was commissioned to the king's funeral chapel and created by Stanisław Stwosz (Stanislaus Stoss) in 1501. This original retable was dismanteled in about 1758 and some elements were reused in a new altar for the Czartoryski Chapel of the Cathedral between 1873 and 1884.
Similar grafic effigy of the king was included in a graduale, a book collecting all the musical items of the Mass, which he founded in 1499 for the Cathedral. John Albert was depicted once again as donor, kneeling before the Apocalyptic Virgin in a miniature by Master Maciej z Drohiczyna (1484-1528).
The last of the effigies, and the most important, is the king's tomb effigy carved in red marble by Jörg Huber. Late gothic image of the king lying in state with all attributes of his power was crowned between 1502 and 1505 with a renaissance arch created by Francesco Fiorentino. The tomb was founded after king's death by his mother Elizabeth of Austria and his youngest brother Sigismund.
Altar from John Albert Chapel now in the Chartoryski Chapel of the Wawel Cathedral with original sculptures from the early 16th century, in the casing from the third quarter of the 19th century by Władysław Brzostowski.
Crucifixion with king John Albert as donor by Stanisław Stwosz, 1501, Chartoryski Chapel of the Wawel Cathedral.
Crucifixion with king John Albert as donor by Stanisław Stwosz, 1501, Chartoryski Chapel of the Wawel Cathedral.
Miniature in graduale of king John Albert by Master Maciej z Drohiczyna, 1499-1501, Archives of the Wawel Metropolitan Chapter in Kraków.
Tombstone of king John Albert by Jörg Huber, ca.1502, John Albert Chapel of the Wawel Cathedral.
The Holy Trinity Triptych occupying the east wall of the Holy Cross Chapel of the Wawel Cathedral, was most probably created by Kraków's workshop of Jakub of Sącz, also known as the Master of the Holy Trinity Triptych or Master of the Choirs. It was established as a retable for the opposite Chapel of the Holy Trinity, also known as the Chapel of Queen Sophia of Halshany. The Queen, fourth and last wife of Jogaila of Lithuania (Ladislaus II Jagiello), most probably also sponsored the altar for her chapel which was finally accomplished in 1464, although built much earlier (between 1431-1433). The retable has a figure of the Risen Christ with two angels, St. Sophia with her daughters, patron saint of the Queen, and St. Anne at the top. The central group of the Holy Trinity is accompanied with statues of saints Dorothy, Margaret, Catherine and Barbara and two painted wings with choirs of apostles, martyrs, prophets and virgins on inner sides and conversion of St. Paul, vision of St. Eustace, St. George killing the dragon and St. Secundus crossing the river Po in outer sides. In 1616 or before the altar was moved to the current location in the Holy Cross Chapel.
Central part of the Holy Trinity Triptych by workshop of Jakub of Sącz, 1467, Holy Cross Chapel of the Wawel Cathedral in Kraków.
Statue of St. Dorothy from the Holy Trinity Triptych by workshop of Jakub of Sącz, 1467, Holy Cross Chapel of the Wawel Cathedral in Kraków.
Choir of the Holy Virgins from the Holy Trinity Triptych by workshop of Jakub of Sącz, 1467, Holy Cross Chapel of the Wawel Cathedral in Kraków.
St. Secundus crossing the river Po from the Holy Trinity Triptych by workshop of Jakub of Sącz, 1467, Holy Cross Chapel of the Wawel Cathedral in Kraków.
A work of high artistic merit is a trophy from the Great War with the Teutonic Order between 1409-1411. It was made for the Commander of Elbląg, Thile Dagister von Lorich. The diptych, a portable altar with relics, was taken by the brothers from the Elbląg monastery to the battle of Grunwald, where it fell into the hands of the Poles on July 15, 1410. Full-figured representation of the Crucifixion on the left panel is accompanied with the figures in two rows on the right panel depicting adoration of the Virgin and Child by the founder, recommended by Saints Barbara, Catherine, Margaret, Apostles Peter and Paul and Saint Dorothy. A gothic minuscule in the South German dialect on the outer side of the reliquary informs on the person of the founder, who was also depicted of the left panel as a donor before the Virgin. The outer side of the right panel depicts Man of Sorrows amid arma christi. The work was most probably created by a goldsmith William from Elbląg, who was frequently mentioned in the books of the Malbork Castle between 1399-1409.
Reliquary diptych of Thile von Lorich by Anonymous from Elbląg, 1388, Polish Army Museum in Warsaw.
A second reception stairway, the Senators' Staircase, of the Wawel Castle was constructed between 1599 and 1602 by Giovanni Trevano and Ambrogio Meazzi in the north-west corner of the castle. It is the first such modern construction in Poland facilitating the communication between the floors of the residence and located in the interior space of the edifice. Marble stairs do not run steeply, as it is in the Renaissance Deputies' Staircase, but break up regularly in the middle floors with comfortable podests. Early baroque portals of the saircase with auricular elements designed by Trevano were executed in greenish Carpathian sandstone by Meazzi. The Summary of the Royal spendings by the Kraków's supevisor Franciszek Rylski of Ostoja coat of arms from 1599 and 1600 in the Central Archives of Historical Records in Warsaw (I 299), records a spending of fl. 2991 gr. 15 den. 12 "for demolition of the old stairs and construction of the new one, for Italians and different materials" and salaries of "Jan Treurer (Giovanni Trevano), mason ad r[ation]em fl. 1300 datum fl. 1250" and "Ambrosio Meaczi (Ambrogio Meazzi) to inlay the stairs and doors ad r[ation]em fl. 500 datum fl. 300".
Podest of the Senators' Staircase of the Wawel Castle.
Cross section of the Senators' Staircase of the Wawel Castle.
Reliquary cross, so-called smaller, one of the most exquisite examples of Kraków's late gothic goldsmithery, was founded by Cardinal Frederick Jagiellon and executed by Kraków's goldsmith after 1493. The cross, together with so-called bigger cross was ceded to the Gniezno Cathedral in 1503 as a testament bequest of the cardinal, who was a bishop of Kraków and archbishop of Gniezno. During the World War II, it was confiscated by the Nazis and transported to Germany and restituted by the church authorities in 1958.
The piece was adorned with a pelican feeding its young with its own blood, a Christian symbol of selfsacrifice at the top, floral motifs and enammeled coat of arms of the cardinal in lower parts. The cross of gilt silver and enamel, cast, repoussed and engraved and measuring 53.4 × 2.7 × 20.1 cm (21 × 1.1 × 7.9 in) is on display in the Archdiocesan Museum in Gniezno (inventory number 273).
Reliquary cross of Cardinal Frederick Jagiellon by Kraków's goldsmith, after 1493, Archdiocesan Museum in Gniezno.
After his abdication as a King of Poland in 1669, John Casimir Vasa left for France to settle in Paris in Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés as its abbot. He took with him a large portion of the preserved Vasa collections, which was later sold in Paris on an auction in 1673 after his death. The inventory of a sell lists over thousand items:
55. A Christ carved in Saint Lucia wood, in an ebony box (Mr. Robert, griffier, 37.10 pounds).
56. Three Polish style chests with two wooden and another covered with black leather, as it is (Mr. Corade the Younger, 7 pounds).
57. A small bending seat covered with red velvet and a green velvet convenience chair, with a basin and two crystal chamber pots (Mr. Argilly, 9 pounds).
58. An altar frontal and two crédances in green velvet, trimmed with embroidery.
77. A large mirror of Venetian glass, trimmed at its edge, blackened and varnished, with its frame, gold and silver and silk (Madame Garnier, 131.10 pounds).
78. Dead Christ with Virgin made in wax, large as nature enshrined in a blackened wooden case with a large Venetian glass in front (Mr. Torque, 550 pounds).
79. A terracotta Virgin holding the infant Jesus, with two small crowns of enameled gold in a walnut box (Duke of Creguy, 20 pounds).
95. St. Peter painted on wood, original by Rubens, with its border of black wood (Mr. Corade, 40 pounds).
96. Virgin, infant Jesus and St. Elizabeth, painted on wood, with its black frame (Mr. Torque, 28 pounds).
97. St. Joseph holding the Child, with God the Father, the glory of little angels, original by Claude (?) Callot, in gold frame (MonMr. Buy, 25 pounds).
98. Virgin in oval, holding a bouquet of lilies, a small Christ holding a rose, black frame with silver ornaments (Mr. de Buy, 104 pounds).
99. Head of the Virgin in oval with two hands, black frame with silver elements (Mr. Lenosquy, 25 pounds).
100. A rose with a bud and a golden sun, with a motto in golden frame (Mr. du Moulins, 55 sols).
101. Two small paintings of St. Ignatius and St. Francis Xavier, with ebony frames (Mr. Cavaro, 6 pounds).
102. Effigy of Our Lord in a velvet case (Mr. Meusnier, 4.10 pounds).
103. Virgin with St. Elizabeth and St. Joseph, copy after Nicolas Poussin, in a white frame (Mr. Morin, 33.10 pounds).
104. Christ's head with its golden frame (Mr. de Buy, 92 pounds).
105. Descent from the Cross of Our Lord, painted on wood, without frame (Mr. Vacherot, 9.10 pounds).
106. Christ's head with its golden border (Mr. Boislabbé, 6.5 pounds).
107. St. Ignatius in an interior, who heals possessed in black frame (Mr. de Recourt, 9.10 pounds).
108. St. Anne who teaches the Virgin to read, with little angels above, a crystal glass with gold frame (Mr. Mamice, 25 pounds).
109. St. Dorothy in a gilded oval.
175. Two maces, one in ivory and other one lined with ivory (Mr. Lévesque, 8 pounds).
176. A rhinoceros horn, adorned with gilded silver, with a small cup of same material with a foot trimmed with silver (Mr. Le Blond, merchant-silversmith, 86.10 pounds for the horn, Ms. Garnier, 24 pounds for the cup).
177. A large Turkey carpet, as is (Reverend Father Barré, 30 pounds).
178. A large resting chair, trimmed and covered with brocade.
217. A pair of gauntlets with two Turkish helmets.
218. A large clock that marks the hours at night, with an ebony pedestal, with silver index and gilded brass elements, three little cupids and a silver eagle (Mr. Dupin, 500 pounds).
219. A counterweight pendulum clock in a blackened wooden frame (Phillibert Paturel, 56 pounds).
220. A counterweight pendulum clock in with a small silver dial and a small decoration at the top (Mr. Macon, 56 pounds).
221. A clock striking the hours, half hours and quarter hours, in a walnut case topped with brass (Madame de Turin, 80 pounds).
222. A pendulum clock that marks the minutes, with a large pedestal box (Reverend Father Barre, 240 pounds).
223. A spring clock, striking the hours and minutes, with an ebony pedestal, a large cross of white brass at the top and a crystal skull at the foot of the crucifix (Mr. Barbier, merchant-silversmith, 304 pounds).
224. A watch clock striking the hours, half-hours, quarters and repeats, marking the minutes, with a silver dial and a frame of gilded copper, adorned with embossed silver plate and foliage (Mr. Dupin, 230 pounds).
225. A pendulum clock, as it is (Mr. Galus, 220 pounds).
226. A clock that marks hours, half hours, the fourth months and moons and moon signs, all movements of steel instead of string, with an ebony and blackened wood pedestal, adorned with several figures in gilded brass and an eagle on top of the dial, with the coat of arms of the late Queen of Poland (Marie Louise Gonzaga), enamel on copper (Mr. Dupin, 160 pounds).
227. An alarm clock striking hours, half hours and quarters, which marks the month’s quarters, the holidays, the year, pendulum decorated with several silver foliage, gilded brass pedestal and such wood with a fortune above (Mr. Le Riche, 311 pounds).
228. A brass clock striking hours, half hours and quarters, with alarm (80 pounds).
232. A clock striking hours, half hours and quarters, moon signs, days of the week, the twelve signs of the seven planets, parts inside with chains, on ebony pedestal, the case adorned with ornaments made in gilded brass with an eagle above (Madame Pachau, 205 pounds).
233. A counterweight pendulum clock in a case of blackened wood, with brass plaques around which are engraved in gilded panoplies, copper whitened dial (Mr. Hardevillers, 46 pounds).
234. A clock on an ebony pedestal, which marks the hours with two globes both sides of the dial, one silver the other gold brass, with two small compasses at the bottom and a large compass made in gilded copper above and sphere made of gilded brass behind.
357. A small painting with a lemon on a plate and a silver overturned vase, in ebony frame (Mr. Clorasse, 6.10 pounds).
358. St. Joseph with infant Jesus, trimmed frame (Mr. Corade, 6.5 pounds).
359. A miniature on vellum, with ebony frame, representing the Crucifixion of Our Lord, with several figures, original by Hreusebon (Mr. Dupin, 71 pounds).
360. A painting of a woman with small children, frame adorned with ebony, original by Mactence (Mr. Corade, 21 pounds).
361. A vertical painting with a garland of fruits and an oval in the middle, vaubours figures and landscapes and fruits of obreville, original by above-named Masters (Jan Brueghel?), in a gilded frame (Mr. Bodin, 415 pounds).
362. A painting with a perspective of the Church in Gdańsk, without frame (Mr. Corade, 40 pounds).
363. A painting with Our Lord on the cross between two thieves, copy after Rubens, painted on copper, in black frame.
389. A head of Christ painted on copper, in ebony frame (Abbot de la Tour, 11 pounds).
390. A perspective of a temple with festivities, painted on wood, in a frame of blackened with gilded slats (Mr. Quesnel, 40 pounds).
391. A monk's head, in a black frame (Mr. de Buy, 35 sols).
392. A half-figure of weeping Heraclitus (Mr. Mauriceau, 38.10 pounds).
393. The portrait of a monk holding a cross in his hands, painted on canvas (Mr. Corade, 110 sols).
394. A half- figure of laughing Democritus, original by Hendrik Goltzius (with 392).
395. The Conversion of Mary Magdalene with a cross, a skull, painted on canvas, without frame (Mr. Corade the Younger, 10.10 pounds).
396. Judith with the Head of Holofernes, painted on canvas, no frame.
439. A large vertical painting with St. Joachim and St. Anne who teaches the Virgin to read, with angels, painted on canvas (Mr. Duchemin, 41 pounds).
440. A picture painted on canvas, which shows a naked woman, without frame (Mr. Bruny, 16.10 pounds).
441. A Satyr who eats from a pot with a peasant, a story from Metamorphosis (Mr. De Buy, 35.10 pounds).
457. A painting of medium size, with the Virgin's Genealogy, copy after Raphael, black frame (Mr. Bonhomme, 36 pounds).
458. A painting which shows a Virgin in Glory, with adoring King at the bottom and Saint John, original, in black frame (Mr. Torque, 21 pounds).
459. A small canopy of crimson velvet, trimmed with gold and silk, tailless (Mr. Ollivier, upholsterer, 151.10 pounds).
480. Twelve broken (folded ?) ebony chairs, trimmed at their edges with upholstery of red velvet embroidered with gold and trimmed with fringe, gold and silk, accompanied with twelve cushions, also of red velvet embroidered with gold on one side only (Madame Garnier, 250 pounds).
481. Two large parade chairs covered with velvet crimson, which wooden feets, arms and other ornaments are made of Polish silver, sewn with pearls in other places. The said two armchairs are upholstered with velvet embroidered cushions with small gold glands (Madame Garnier, 1703 pounds).
630. A mottled gold and silver cane with a screwing handle in ivory and lower parts in silver (Mr. François, 56 sols).
631. A Cossack style baton made in a wood from India, with a lion’s head at the end and a silver hoop (Abbot de la Mothe, 6 pounds).
632. A baton of the late King of Poland made in a wood from Brazil, set with gold at both ends (Mr. Rondet, 27.10 pounds).
646. An ebony cabinet with two doors with drawers, with an inkwell and compact with two small lids and two rings of Polish silver (Mr. Dupin, 120 pounds).
647. Another cabinet, similar to above one, with silver settings (Mr. Dupin, 38 pounds).
648. An ebony checkerboard with black and white checkers, and a game of chess.
649. Eight high-warp tapestries representing the Life of Solomon, and four other high-warp tapestries representing Saul and Solomon, 54 French ell width altogether by 3.5 French ell high, the twelve pieces constitute two hangings (Mr. Maré, 1413 pounds for seven pieces, the said Mr. Maré, 1002 pounds for five pieces).
650. A walnut cabinet of on a twisted column, topped with several drawers and small plates of gilded copper serving as an ornament; a table and two similar wooden pedestals (Mr. Gallois, 120 pounds).
651. Fifteen pieces of tapestry of red velvet and gold brocade, 36 French ell width altogether by 2.3 French ell high, and twelve pieces of crimson red velvet, embroidered with gold and topped with a fringe of gold and silk, sloping from the said tapestry containing 36 French ell (Mr. Huvin, upholsterer, 2251 pounds).
655. A large gilded carriage for six, upholstered with Venetian velvet in palmettes on aurora background and blue flowers, with glasses and set on a chassis (sold by Mr. Torque).
656. A small carriage, upholstered with Venetian velvet in palmettes on aurora background and black flowers, with three glasses and set on a chassis (sold by Mr. Torque).
657. A large mourning carriage draped in black in and out, without glasses and set on a chassis (sold by Mr. Torque).
721. Four large plates, eight small, round basin, a jug with a cover, a saltcellar and dozen plates. Made of sounding pewter (Mr. Bourgeois, 43.02 pounds).
722. A large basin with figures in relief, accompanied with a vase, made of gilded German silver, on which is represented the horse Pegasus and the figure of Mercury, 62 marks and seven ounces of weight (Mr. Gerard, merchant-silversmith).
726. A ring with a purple ruby carved on eight sides with six faceted diamonds (Mr. De Buy, 1200 pounds).
727. Another ring with a long purple sapphire with six faceted diamonds (Mr. Macon, goldsmith, 600.10 pounds).
728. Ten pieces of Brussels’ tapestry representing the story of deeds of Ulysses (by Jacob Geubels), including parts sewn with gold, containing 56 French ell width by 3.5 French ell high (Mr. Dupin for Mr. Paul, agent of Charles I Louis, Elector Palatine, 12,000 pounds).
729. Four other pieces of Brussels’ tapestry representing the Deeds of Hercules and Triumph of Bacchus, sewn with gold containing 22 French ell width by 4 French ell high (Mrs. Bruneau, stored in the furniture repository of His Majesty close to the Louvre, 16001 pounds).
Inventory made in Nevers
1. A tapestry of 40 strips of Venetian brocade, with slopes and fringe in various colors (Mr. de Buy, 400 pounds).
2. Thirteen ell of tapestry of 7 pieces, 2.5 French ell high, from Venetian brocade (not sold and left in Nevers).
3. A bed of wood with a red satin mattress; a bed and pillow filled with feather and covered with red taffeta, a pavilion with lining of brocade “Porte de Paris”; a green silk cover, with 3 bags of leather (Madame Filogue, 220 pounds).
LL XII. Four portraits of four Princes of Neuburg (Mr. Corade, 12 pounds).
CX LL. Amazon painted on canvas (Mr. de Buy, 110 sols).
LL VI. A portrait of a Maltese Commander (Zygmunt Karol Radziwiłł?), painted on canvas (Mr. de Buy, 6 pounds).
LI LL. A painting on canvas depicting St. Casimir, in a trimmed frame (Mr. Bodin, 51 pounds).
CX S. Another painting also painted on canvas, depicting St. Casimir (Mr. Corade, 110 sols).
LX LL. Portable chair, covered in black cloth (Mr. Bourguignon, 60 pounds).
XXX S. A portrait of a Polish Prince (Mr. Corade, 30 sols).
Virgin and Child with flowers by Anonymous after Carlo Dolci, after 1642, National Gallery in London, was listed under number 98 of the King's belongings.
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