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One common object which was very useful in the life of a guild was the obesłanie – a sign used to authenticate transferred messages. The Obesłanie was used by a messenger when he had to pass a message from the guild elders to other members of the guild. They were informed of all important issues concerning the guild: meetings, funerals, celebrations and the like, and obesłanie had a similar function to a contemporary membership card.


Along with the development of the city of Tarnów – which had had municipal rights since 1330 – guild craft organisations were established and developed. Already, in the fourteenth century, the city had grown into a significant centre of craft production in various specialities. Usually, in towns where there was a greater number of producers representing the same profession, they merged into one independent guild. In cases when the number of craftsmen from particular occupations was small, they often communicated with each other and created common guilds, the so-called associated (also called “great”) guilds, associating several (usually related) professions. Such guilds were often referred to by the name of the craft which was most widely represented. That was also the case in Tarnów. Associated guilds evolved over time, merged and separated, and the membership of particular crafts in them changed – often those professions that “grew stronger” detached themselves and created their own independent guilds.

The proclamation of the fraternity presented here was used by Tarnów’s guild of carriage-builders, which was an associated guild associating carpenters, wheelwrights, saddlers, glassmakers, rope makers and other rarer specialities. Previously, these crafts had functioned for a long time as part of the guild of coopers, from which they separated in 1646. Ten years after the announcement of the formation of this fraternity, the carpenters separated from the guild of carriage-builders, setting up their own corporation. The initials, which are visible on the fraternity's announcement, refer to the saddlery masters: Marcin Bielawski – a founder of the fraternity – and Walenty Bielawski.

Elaborated by Łukasz Sęk (District Museum in Tarnów), © all rights reserved


“Obesłanie” – metal plate bearing the emblem of the grand guild of Tarnów


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