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The guild sign belonging to the butchers in Kęty was used for summoning the craftsmen brothers to meetings and various celebrations. The information provided by carrying such a sign was very important, and it had to be recognised with due care and attention. A messenger walking with the sign — usually the youngest foreman — appeared in a workshop or craftsman’s house and informed the man of the order of the guild elders. If he did not find anyone at home, he would leave a sign written in chalk on the door or table. 

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The guild sign belonging to the butchers in Kęty was used for summoning the craftsmen brothers to meetings and various celebrations. The information provided by carrying such a sign was very important, and it had to be recognised with due care and attention. A messenger walking with the sign — usually the youngest foreman — appeared in a workshop or craftsman’s house and informed the man of the order of the guild elders. If he did not find anyone at home, he would leave a sign written in chalk on the door or table. Ignoring a messenger with the sign led to a heavy fine. It sometimes happened that, due to the volume of business, none of the masters had time to go around with the sign. Then, it was sent from home to home. If, however, one of the brothers forgot to pass the sign on, he also became liable to punishment, not to mention the claims against the brothers whom the sign had not reached.
The obesłanie (wooden signboard bearing the emblem of the guild) of the butchers is richly decorated. It was made in 1861, in the times of the guildmaster Antoni Hałat, which is proclaimed by the inscriptions on the board: “ZA CECHMIST / ANTONIA / HAŁATKA”. The author is Eustachy Kanty Westwalewicz, who signed the sides of the sign: “EU KANTY / WESTWALEWICZ”. The feature has the shape of a cross, which was of great significance for additional emphasis on the importance of the message. This impression was additionally strengthened by the image of Christ’s head in the crown of thorns, the Chistogram “IHS”, and the lamb with a cross from the other side. Images related to the Arma Christi  [Passion of Christ] also appear: nails, a hammer, a spear, a ladder, and even dice for which the fate of Jesus’s garment was cast. The artist carved here —  according to the general custom of ornamentation — the images of tools and products of craftsmen. For butchers, axes and animals whose meat was mostly sold in slaughterhouses were depicted. The handle of the guild sign was also decorated, featuring beautifully carved oak leaves. The entire sign is covered with colourful polychrome. The edges are red, the background is navy blue, the oak leaves are green, and the letters and parts of the relief are painted in gold.

Elaborated by the Aleksander Kłosiński Museum in Kęty, © all rights reserved

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Cross of butchers’ guild in Kęty

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