Symbolika pražských přísežných mlynářů (cechovní pečeť a cejchy) / The symbolism of Prague’s sworn millers (guild seals and guild signs)

Pages 39-48
Journal of the National Museum. History Series | 2016/185/1-2

Besides demonstrating the gradual evolution of their competencies, written material produced through the activities of Prague’s sworn millers also show the method this unofficial ‘millers’ court’ presented itself to members of the local guild, and also to others. In a society in which a knowledge of reading and writing was not commonplace, this mainly involved the use of guild seals, fulfilling the role of a means of authentication. The seals (pendent or applied) were used on a wide spectrum of written materials issued by the millers’ guild. In its most representative form, they were used on guild articles granted by various miller guilds in the Kingdom of Bohemia. There were used in a more basic form on completion documents for apprentices and so-called relations which sworn millers used to announce their findings in disputes relating to mills and the use of water power. So-called cejchy were signs which were placed near weirs, and they fulfilled a similar role to the seals on guild documents. Not only did they state the water level permitted, but also symbolised the authority of the sworn millers who oversaw the observance of the determined water level.

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