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  • Date of production 19th century
  • Place of creation Koszyce?
  • Dimensions height: 165 mm, width: 162 mm
  • ID no. The National Archives in Kraków, craft guilds of Małopolska’s towns and villages – set of fond remnants, IT 1493/19
  • Museum The Stanisław Boduch Koszyce Land Museum
  • Subjects city, sculpted
  • Technique sculpture
  • Material wood
  • Object copyright The National Archives in Kraków
  • Digital images copyright public domain
  • Digitalisation RDW MIC, Małopolska’s Virtual Museums project
  • Tags Koszyce , 3D , guilds , public domain
Print description

Obesłanie of the guild of carpenters in Koszyce depicts an eagle on one side, and the Eye of Providence as well as carpentry tools on the other: a protractor, compass, plane and the inscription: “.Year. 1546 .”

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Obesłanie of the guild of carpenters in Koszyce depicts an eagle on one side, and the Eye of Providence as well as carpentry tools on the other: a protractor, compass, plane and the inscription: “.Year. 1546 .” It was made in the 19th century, so the date placed thereon probably does not refer to the year of the exhibit’s creation, but rather to some important event in the history of the guild. Koszyce used to be a large craft centre. In 1579 there were 86 craft workshops there.
What was obesłanie? It is a characteristic element obligatory in the organization of the life of individual guilds. It constituted a sign authenticating the conveyed message. If a messenger carried an obesłanie when summoning, for example, guild members to a meeting, it was a confirmation that the message came from the guild master. Without this sign, the information was considered unreliable.

Elaborated by the Stanisław Boduch Koszyce Land Museum, 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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Koszyce, the royal city

The first source of information about Koszyce is contained in the data on Peter’s pence from the year 1328, where a record states: “Peter’s pence was donated jointly by the parish of Witów–Koszyce”.
A breakthrough in written sources regarding the city took place in 1374. That year, a city charter under Magdeburg law was granted to Koszyce by Elizabeth, daughter of Władysław I the Elbow-high.

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The first source of information about Koszyce is contained in the data on Peter’s pence from the year 1328, where a record states: “Peter’s pence was donated jointly by the parish of Witów–Koszyce”.
A breakthrough in written sources regarding the city took place in 1374. That year, a city charter under Magdeburg law was granted to Koszyce by Elizabeth, daughter of Władysław I the Elbow-high.
Granting a city charter under Magdeburg law to Koszyce meant that it had already become a developed city by that time. On the one hand, the location privilege granted by Elizabeth under Magdeburg law could have been a confirmation, and, on the other hand, an extension of an earlier charter which is unknown to us. When bestowing the charter upon Koszyce, Queen Elizabeth established weekly markets on Mondays. After receiving the privileges, Koszyce became a royal free city, i.e. a state city.
It comes as a surprise that, in 1421, 47 years later, Koszyce received its second city charter under Magdeburg Law, granted by King Władysław Jagiełło. It is difficult today to provide a definite answer to the question of why Koszyce received two city charters under Magdeburg law. Two versions are considered. The first one assumes that the document from 1374 could have been lost and had to be renewed. According to the second version, the first city charter was not given by the crowned head, but by the regent who was then Elisabeth of Poland, and it was necessary that the king had it renewed.
In any case, Koszyce underwent rapid development during that time. Of significant influence, apart from the introduction of Magdeburg law, which contributed to the city’s boom, was the fact that there were three trade routes running through the royal city: the so-called royal route Kraków–Sandomierz, the Kiev route Kraków–Sandomierz–Lublin–Kiev, and the river route along the Vistula (in the town of Morsko near Koszyce, the fifth largest river port was located, from which salt from Bochnia, grain, and timber were floated down the river).
Koszyce as a city had a coat of arms, a market square, and a city hall. The coat of arms was a legal and political attribute of the city and appeared on its seal. The procedure and date of endowing the coats of arms are unknown. According to Prof. M. Gumowski, Koszyce had two coats of arms. The first one showed two baskets in a blue field. The second coat of arms showed the figure of St. Stanisław of Szczepanów in golden robes, and this type of civic identification mark appears on the seal presented on the portal.
During the initial period after the introduction of Magdeburg law, the power on behalf of the king was held by the vogt. Sources from 1382 state that the power in Koszyce was held by a vogt named Paweł, and, in 1412, they mentioned Wojciech, a village mayor from Jawiszowice, who was a town councillor. Along with the development of the city, city councillors appeared. The first information about city councillors from Koszyce dates back to 1399. Over time, the vogt’s authority was replaced by that of the mayor and city council, which held extensive authority. It could, among others, enact statutes for guilds, such as the statute of the grand guild in Koszyce presented by us, which later had to be approved by the king.
Koszyce belonged to cities with a craft and trade profile. According to the register from the end of the 17th century, there were 70 craftsmen in the town, as well as 12 traders, and 46 people were engaged in agriculture. For comparison, at that time, there were 56 craftsmen in Proszowice. This testifies to the rapid development of Koszyce, which also had its own measurement unit: i.e. 1 Koszyce bushel equalled ¼ of a Kraków bushel.
The 17th century saw a progressive decline of the Małopolska’s cities, including Koszyce. Then, along came the partitions, the Napoleonic wars (Koszyce were within the boundaries of the Duchy of Warsaw) and the January Uprising of 1863, which was important for Koszyce. The city then became a crossing point for movement of troops and weaponry, and the residents became allies of the insurgents. After the suppression of the uprising, severe repressions commenced on the tsar’s orders, who – through the Committee Ordering the Kingdom – on June 1, 1868, revoked the city rights of Koszyce and several dozen other cities. For the time being, irreversibly.

Elaborated by The Stanisław Boduch Koszyce Land Museum, © all rights reserved

See:
Seal of Koszyce

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“Obesłanie” – wooden plate bearing the emblem of the guild of the carpenters in Koszyce

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