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- Date of production 1752
- Place of creation Poland
- Dimensions height: 40.5 cm, width: 53 cm, weight: 39.7 cm
- ID no. MŻKW IV/ 1114
- Object copyright Kraków Salt Works Museum in Wieliczka
- Digital images copyright public domain
- Digitalisation RDW MIC, Małopolska’s Virtual Museums project
The chest is made of oak, with inlaid work made of ash. The inlaid work presents two angels, and between them there is a wooden bathtub (on the lid) and two mallets, callipers, and an axe (on the front wall). There are metal handles on the sides of the chest, and, in the middle, there is a compartment for guild privileges.more
The chest is made of oak, with inlaid work made of ash. The inlaid work presents two angels, and between them there is a wooden bathtub (on the lid) and two mallets, callipers, and an axe (on the front wall). There are metal handles on the sides of the chest, and, in the middle, there is a compartment for guild privileges. The eagle is painted on the inside of the lid, and there is also a Wettin coat of arms with the inscription: “AD 1752, die 3, 10-bris” and the names: “Ignatius Dobrzański, Adalbertus Kurpielski, Joannes Szczypka, Joannes Tekieli”.
The chest, also known as a counter or a guild treasury, served to store privileges, seal pistons, hallmarks, and money collected from the candidates for the masters, from the entry fee for learners, as well as from penalties and fines. The keys to the chest were in the hands of the senior guilds.
In Wieliczka, cooperage was one of several professions functioning mainly for the needs of Żupa [mine and brewhouse]. Initially, coopers were not associated in any guild; it wasn’t until the middle of the 15th century that they entered the guild of blacksmiths, which consisted of craftsmen working in the salt-mining and salt-making industries. Later, in the 1670s, coopers belonged to the guild of related crafts working with the same raw material (wheelwrights and carpenters). Finally, at the beginning of the 17th century, they established their own guild. The importance of coopers in Wieliczka gradually increased with the increased demand of Żupa for their wares.
On the chest, there are images of the product and cooper tools: a baking bath, a compass, two mallets, and an axe. The baking bath is an example of one of many coopers’ products. In Wieliczka, the following were also produced: vats and small kegs for beer, mugs, watering cans, buckets, bowls, tubs, ladles, casks, barrels for cheese and butter, flour and cereal dishes, and normal barrels, of which a large number were bought by Żupa of Wieliczka. Coopers used few and very simple tools, most of which were depicted on the chest. The callipers were used to measure the bottom. The mallets, made of wood, were used to hit the staves when mounting the bottom in the vessel. Wooden trunks and logs were cut with an axe, from which staves and other parts of the vessels were then produced.
Elaborated by Kraków Salt Works Museum in Wieliczka, © all rights reserved