The Trumpeter of Krakow (Cracow)

Laurie's September 6, 2011 Button Floozies post of Button Floozies: Are you a button floozie?... Calling all Floozies shows us a button known as The Trumpeter of Krakow (Cracow)

Over the years, the Trumpeter of Krakow has been depicted on buttons starting in the late 1800s as Victorian picture buttons.  This button was manufactured in various materials, sizes and slightly different images.  

The story depiction of this button relates to 13th century Polish folklore.  The story tells us one day in Krakow, the ancient capital of Poland, an old watchman guarding the town from the Market Square church tower, noticed in the distance, a cloud of dust growing bigger and bigger as it approached the town.     

The dust cloud was a large army of Tatars.  The Tatars had invaded their city before burning it and looting, murdering and enslaving its residences.

The Trumpeter of Krakow's job was to play an fanfare every hour.  On this day, high above the town in the tower, the only thing the trumpeter was able to do to warn the people was was to play the same Hejnal (St. Mary's Dawn, a Crocovian hymn) over and over. 
 At first the people of Krakow were puzzled by the same song, but eventually understood that an attack was imminent.

The Krakow archers took their positions waiting for the Tatars arrival.  Surprising the Tatars with wave after wave of flying arrows, the Tatars were forced to retreat, saving the town of Krakow.

After this victory, the towns people found the Trumpeter of Krakow in the tower with a Tatar arrow piercing his throat.  He died with his trumpet clasped in his hands ready to play another warning note.

To honor the trumpeter, the Cracovians decreed the Hejnal to be played at dawn and dusk daily in his memory.  

Historical records tell us the playing of the Hejnal has been cancelled and reinstated several times. Today, the trumpeter still plays daily.

Starting in 1927, a live broadcast of the trumpeter playing the Hejnal from the church is broadcasted daily at noon on the Polish national radio station.

The Trumpeter of Krakow is one of many stories that have found their way as designs on clothing buttons.  It continues to amaze me how one can study buttons and tell history through them.  

Art, stories, inventions, world events, fashion are just a few things used over the years in the creation of clothing buttons - a timeline of buttons is a timeline of history.

by Tami Hacker, Vintage Connections


Kathy said…
Fascinating little history lesson - thank you for sharing!
Bigbluebed said…
That is a very emotional. Very lovely to hear the stroy behind the button. thank you.