Poctiweho cechu mlinarskeho peczet / Fair Millers’ Guild seal

Pages 73-84
Citation KOVÁŘ, Lukáš . Poctiweho cechu mlinarskeho peczet / Fair Millers’ Guild seal. Journal of the National Museum. History Series. Prague: National Museum, 2016, 185(1-2), 73-84. DOI: https://doi.org/. ISSN 1214-0627. Also available from: https://publikace.nm.cz/en/periodicals/jotnmhs/185-1-2/poctiweho-cechu-mlinarskeho-peczet-fair-millers-guild-seal
Journal of the National Museum. History Series | 2016/185/1-2

The urban environment enriched sigillography with artisanal symbols and its own aesthetics, while also contributing to the vulgarisation of seals themselves. The milling trade was a part of this, its symbols being the gearwheel and waterwheel, millstone, tiller, chisel, axe and compass with brackets. The first users of these symbols, however, were the nobility, with heraldic figures which took hold here including the cogwheel / waterwheel, millstone and rarely also tiller. The oldest millers’ guild seal dates back to the early 16th century. Their appearance changed over time and according to location, but in general it can be said that the dominating identifying symbol was the cogwheel / waterwheel. It is mainly lions who take on the role of shield-bearer, but one can also come across angels, griffins, nymphs and miller figures. The seal image is often accompanied by axes and compasses with brackets, with the first crowns appearing in the second half of the 17th century. Millstones on guild seals are first seen at the beginning of the 18th century, with the use of chisels or a separately positioned tiller seen rather sporadically. You can come across guild seals with Saint Wenceslas in Moravian Wallachia and Moravian Slovakia. The personal seals of artisans and burghers were inspired by guild seals, but their symbolism and execution is simpler. One only rarely comes across miller symbols on municipal seals, although there are a couple of examples with topographical depictions of whole mills.

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