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On 30 March 1615, Mikołaj Spytek Ligęza, the heir to Bobrek and Chrzanów, approved the articles of the guild of Chrzanów drapers, establishing, e.g., the rights and duties of the guild members. This charter is stored in the museum collection (just like the charter issued by Andrzej Samuel Dembiński in 1642). The document says, among others, that capmakers, shearers, dyers, hosiers and fullers could also belong to the guild of Chrzanów drapers, as they all used wool in their products, just like drapers did.

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On 30 March 1615, Mikołaj Spytek Ligęza, the heir to Bobrek and Chrzanów, approved the articles of the guild of Chrzanów drapers, establishing, e.g., the rights and duties of the guild members. This charter is stored in the museum collection (just like the charter issued by Andrzej Samuel Dembiński in 1642). The document says, among others, that capmakers, shearers, dyers, hosiers and fullers could also belong to the guild of Chrzanów drapers, as they all used wool in their products, just like drapers did. The sons of masters and apprentices were obliged to set out for an apprenticeship journey to Moravia, Silesia, Wielkopolska and Podgórze. The trip lasted one year and six Sundays.
Drapers took care of two altars in the parish church of Saints Nicolaus and Stanislaus. Apart from the stamp and privileges granted by the town owners, the museum collection also includes other items connected with the guild of drapers: a sash of the guild standard, a cross-shaped brass obesłanie (wooden or metal plate bearing the emblem of the guild, used to confirm guild documents), a wooden guild counter, the brotherhood guild book from the period 1808–1950, and the book of acts of the drapers’ brotherhood from 1889–1957.

Elaborated by Anna Sadło-Ostafin (Irena and Mieczysław Mazaraki Museum in Chrzanów), editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums, © all rights reserved

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Guilds

The main aim of the existence of guilds was to ensure that the associated craftsmen would have exclusive rights to practice their craft in town (craftsmen who did not belong to guilds were called botchers). But the role of guilds was not limited to administrative functions...

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The main aim of the existence of guilds was to ensure that the associated craftsmen would have exclusive rights to practice their craft in town (craftsmen who did not belong to guilds were called botchers). But the role of guilds was not limited to administrative functions (representation before the town authorities, acquiring new qualifications, ensuring standards of workmanship, caring for equal chances of sale by limiting the production and sale), the organisations also fulfilled religious and culture-forming functions.
Did you know that guilds were the courts for the first instance, resolving all disputes among craftsmen. In case of brawls, gambling, disputes connected with debts, or work outside of guilds (botchers), guilds imposed fines, which were usually paid with candles or wax.
Guild organisations still function, for example, the Polish Association of Stage Actors, although, under somewhat different names today.
In the past, a craftsman membership was obligatory; today guild associations only encourage voluntary association because thanks to this “the plant gains prestige and a craftsman does not feel lonely in the trade“. This is particularly significant when certain professions are dying out.
The mechanisation of many professions that used to be made by hand in workshops has resulted in a marginalised role of guilds and also in the disappearance of many guild rituals and celebrations.
Guilds which work to this day (there are 479 registered guilds in the structures of the Polish Craft Association) fulfil a communicative function – they settle disputes that may arise between a client and a craftsman; its members sit on examination boards before which young apprentices of the craft take a master’s exam to receive the title of master or journeyman).
The activity of guilds was not limited only to administrative and professional matters. Guild meetings and also rituals interfered in the zone of guild brothers’ spirit. Every member of the association was obliged to participate in religious rituals and ceremonies (masses, Corpus Christi processions).

Participation in ceremonies was often an occasion to show other people the affluence and wealth of a given association (banners embroidered with a gold thread were exhibited).
After the death of a guild brother, a funeral service was celebrated in a particular solemn way.
Members of guilds also founded altars, in which they placed valuable jewellery, treating them as a kind of treasury protecting them from being robbed.
Did you know that guilds were equipped with instruments of punishment, also called good advice?

Elaborated by Editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums,
Licencja Creative Commons

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.

See also:
Chest of the tailors’ guild and related guilds in Kęty
Cross of tailors’ guild in Kęty
Stamp of the drapers’ guild
Obesłanie” – metal plate bearing the emblem of the grand guild of Tarnów
Welcoming cup of Sword Bearers' Guild
Manuscipt Charter of shoemakers’ guild

Read more about guilt chests.

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What is sigillography and the secret language of stamps?

Kazimierz Stronczyński, who was for some time in possession of the valuable Włocławek reliquary (Kruszwica reliquary) presented on the website, was a distinguished cataloguer of historical items, a creator of numismatics and an inestimable expert and researcher of seals...

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Kazimierz Stronczyński, who was for some time in possession of the valuable Włocławek reliquary (Kruszwica reliquary) presented on the website, was a distinguished cataloguer of historical items, a creator of numismatics and an inestimable expert and researcher of seals.
Sigillography is the science focused on the history, meaning and secret language of stamps.
In the past, when paper correspondence was the main channel for transferring information, there was a whole language of signs.
Private letters were always sealed with white wax. The shades of white had their significance: snow white was reserved for the most distinguished figures, off-white was used to seal letters addressed to persons of a lower rank.
Red wax, which can also be bought today, was intended for postal correspondence.
Anyone who has contact with official documents knows how important it is to press the stamp of a person signing a document in a legible and straight way. Or is this approach just an indication of the care for details and respect for the addressee and nothing else?
Perhaps it was the trace of practice and custom of the times when correspondence was art (text written in calligraphy, properly selected paper, signature and stamp became the equivalent elements of a message).
In the world of these codes and symbols, a lopsided stamp was interpreted in a straightforward way of breaking all contacts with the addressee, even if the contents of the letter did not suggest such a decisive move...

Elaborated by Editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums,
Licencja Creative Commons

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.

See seals from the collection of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums:
Wax seal of the imperial and royal (C.K.) District Starost (head of district)
Stamp of the drapers’ guild
Seal of Koszyce

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Stamp of the drapers’ guild

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