The royal collection of prints includes images of a Pole, and also a townsman of Aleppo. Contrary to the vision of history presented in textbooks, the similar costumes worn by these two make one think about similar identities, about the hybrid influences that shaped them. It also evokes the colonial mindset through which Poles perceive and describe the world, and the manner in which foreigners perceive and describe a Poland that, in the 17th century, stopped being a colonial power and became, instead, a colonised country.

The desire to describe and organise the world, to call and classify things, is an important element of the Enlightenment imagination. At the same time, it is clearly visible how unclear the distinction is between what is typical and what goes beyond the norm (normality versus pathology)—how easily, all that is different is excluded or fetishized. To show the links between apparently distant images, objects, and identities, is to create a universal history—one that is based on similarities and not differences, on a foundation of shared values. Such a history is defined in opposition to what is particular, local, and individual.

An attempt to organise the world is also a process of knowledge generation. As a side effect, it creates things that imitate knowledge—mirrors that reflect our notions and prejudices.