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Home 09 March 2021
Culture Traditional forms of Art - Professions Wood sculpture Epirus Metsovo

Vemothyra for the Sacred Porte, Monastery for the Repose of the Virgin Mary at Makrino (1780)
(Photo: Triantaphyllos Sioulis)

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Geographic map of Ioannina Prefecture with the works of Metsovo and Tournovo wood sculptors
Geographic map of Ioannina Prefecture with the works of Metsovo and Tournovo wood sculptors

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Topics
made of stone
textliles
Silver work
Wood sculpture
Hagiography - Painting
LOCATION
Epirus
Gorgopotamos
Metsovo
Wood sculpture: Subtopics All topics
Representative works
Wood sculpture of Metsovo
Wood sculpture of Gorgopotamos

14/11/2006
The agreements

Triantaphyllos Sioulis

© Prefecture of Ioannina
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We refer as an example to the agreement that was signed in the year 1659 between the curates at the church of Phaneromeni in Zakynthos and the Cretan wood sculptor Manios Manganiaris, in which we observe the remittance of 1/3 of the consideration for the iconostasis as a deposit:
«IN THE NAME OF CHRIST AMEN, 1659, APRIL 30TH AT THE BEACH IN THE CITY OF ZAKYNTHOS ON THIS DAY THERE HAVE APPEARED IN PERSON, THE PARTY OF THE FIRST PART SIGNOR MIKELIS ROUTZERIS, SIGNOR ALEXIS PHOTEINOS AND SIGNOR GIANAKKIS DRAKOS GASTALDES IN THE PRESENT OF OUR LADY THE PHANEROMENI WHO HAVE ORALLY AGREED HERETO AND WITH THE PARTY OF THE SECOND PART SIGNOR MANIOS MANGANIARIS, TAGIADOROS FROM CRETE WHICH PARTIES HAVE WHEREBY AGREED AS FOLLOWS; THE ABOVE GASTALDES BY THE OPINION AND WILL OF THE ENTIRE PARISH THAT IS DESIROUS OF CONSTRUCTING THE DIASTELA FOR THE AGHION VEMA AT THE ABOVE CHURCH IN THIS MANNER, WHEREBY THE ABOVE SIGNOR MANIOS HAS PROMISED TO CONSTRUCT THE ABOVE DIASTELA AND CRUCIFIX WITH THE TWO CAPITALS, THE BANDS (FASCIA, ZONES, FRIEZES) IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE DESIGN THAT HAS BEEN PRODUCED AND WE HAVE AGREED WITH THE SAID DESIGNER TO REMIT TO HIM IN TOTAL THREE HUNDRED REALS (SPANISH COIN) IN THREE INSTALMENTS, WHEREBY WE SHALL PRESENTLY REMIT TO HIM THE SUM OF ONE HUNDRED (100) REALS AS A DEPOSIT, AND, SIMILARLY ANOTHER ONE HUNDRED (100) SHALL BE REMITTED TO HIM AT THE HALF WAY AND THE BALANCE, THE REMAINING OTHER ONE HUNDRED (100) AT THE COMPLETION OF THIS FABRICATION; IN RESPECT OF THE FIRST INSTALMENT HE SHALL BE PRESENTLY PAID IN RED WINE THAT IS IN THE POSSESSION OF THE ABOVE CHURCH IN ITS CELLAR IN THE AMOUNT OF THREE SIXTY UNIT BARRELS AND THE ABOVE GASTALDES WARRANT THAT THEY WILL CONTAIN ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY PITCHERS IN NET WINE; WHICH WINE HAS BEEN VIEWED ON MANY OCCASIONS BY THE ABOVE NAMED MANGANIARIS AND IT IS TO HIS LIKING AND HE HAS SEALED IT AND THEY HAVE ASSESSED IT BETWEEN THEMSELVES AT 50 WHITE COINS FOR EACH PITCHER (40 KARTOUTSA = APPROXIMATELY14 OKAS), THE MEASURE IN THE PRESENT LOCATION WHERE THEY MANUFACTURE THE ABOVE (150) PITCHERS FOR SEVENTY NINE (79) REALS AND THE BALANCE TO COMPLETE THE ONE HUNDRED REALS IN THE SUM OF TWENTY ONE REALS FOR THE FIRST INSTALMENT SHALL BE PAID TO HIM BY US THE GASTALDES AND THUS HAVING UNDERTAKEN UNDER THE ABOVE TERMS FOR SETTLEMENT; FURTHERMORE THE ABOVE GASTALDES AND THEIR SUCCESSORS PROMISE AS ABOVE TO SUPPLY TO THE ABOVE TAGIADOROS A CARPENTER TO PLANE THE TIMBER THAT NEEDS TO BE USED IN THE ABOVE FABRICATION. ON THE OTHER HAND MANIOS SHALL ALSO BE OBLIGATED TO ALSO CONTINUE AND TO COMPLETE EVERYTHING PERTAINING TO THIS WORK AND THE COLUMNS FOR THE LOWER SECTION SHALL BE MADE LIKE THE UPPER COLUMNS, NAMELY WITHOUT A RELIEF. ACCORDINGLY THE PARTIES HAVE ALSO MUTUALLY ACCEPTED THE ABOVE CLARIFICATIONS, TO MAINTAIN THE PRESENT AGREEMENT IN ALL TERMS OF THE PROMISE AND THE FOLLOWING HAVE ACCORDINGLY CONTRACTED AND THE FOLLOWING HAVE BEEN WITNESSED BY:
I, STAMATELOS CHALKOMATAS BEAR WITNESS TO THE ABOVE.
I, GIANNIS NOMIKOS BEAR WITNESS TO THE ABOVE.
I, ALEXIS PHOTEINOS GASTALDE CERTIFY THE ABOVE AND IN THE NAME OF MY COLLEAGUE SIGNOR MIKELIS ROUTZERIS WHO IS NOT ABLE TO WRITE.
I, GIANNIS DRAKOS CERTIFY THE ABOVE.
I, MANEAS MANGANIARIS CERTIFY THE ABOVE».
When the construction of a church had finished, the committee undertook to locate wood sculptors for the construction of the sculptured decorative. Where they new of a renowned taliadoros they would notify him to assign its construction to him. On other occasions the taliadoroi were kept informed of where churches were being constructed and would go there to meet the curates in order to undertake the work. In accordance with the agreement the wood sculptors were employed as «sypsouma» or «xipsouma», namely with or without food being guaranteed by the employers. Further to a corresponding adjustment in the price the primary materials would be at the expense of the craftsman or the client. The wood sculptors were either employed in the location of the church or in their home town and then there would be a transportation of the wood sculptures for their installation in the church.
Reputation was one of the most important factors in finding employment. «FURTHER TO THE REPUTATION THERE WOULD BE A MEETING AT SOME BAZAAR OR FESTIVAL DURING THAT PERIOD. THERE THE MASTER TALIADOROS WOULD BRIEFLY PRESENT OTHER ARTISTIC DESIGNS FOR ICONOSTASES, PULPITS, DESPOTIC THRONES, ICON STANDS AND CIBORIUMS FOR THE EPITAPHS, WITH A NEGOTIATION OF THE MARGINS IN ALL RESPECTS OF THE DESIGN AND THE PRICE. THEY WOULD RESULT IN THE CHOICE OF A DESIGN, THEY AGREED ON THE PRICE, ON THE METHOD OF PAYMENT AND THE DELIVERY OF THE WORK, THEY SIGNED CONTRACTS OR AGREEMENTS THAT HAD EITHER BEEN DRAWN BY A NOTARY PUBLIC OR IN PRIVATE BETWEEN THEM, NAMELY BETWEEN THE CHURCH COMMITTEE AND THE WOOD SCULPTOR WITH TERMS ON THE PRECISION AND THE DETAIL IN THE CARVING, ON THE QUALITY OF THE TIMBER AND ON THE PERIOD FOR THE SETTLEMENT OF THE WORK. AMONGST ALL THE TIMBER VARIETIES THE WALNUT WAS ALSO PREFERRED BY THE CLIENTS BECAUSE IT HAD A STRONG ENDURANCE AND THE WOOD SCULPTORS BECAUSE THE DRY WALNUT TIMBER CARVES BEAUTIFULLY AND WITHOUT PROBLEMS».
On many occasions, the residents in the communities where they created the iconostases would also provide letters of thanks to the wood sculptors, similar to letters of introduction, which confirmed their reputation. These were also useful for their work, since these would also be presented to other communities in order to convince them so as to assume other works.
Accordingly we observe for example: «RECEIPT BY THE WOOD SCULPTOR GIANNIS PASCHOULIS THE CONSTRUCTOR OF THE ICONOSTASIS AT THE CHURCH OF AGHIOS KONSTANTINOS (METROPOLIS OF PHILIPPOUPOLIS)... THE CRAFTSMAN GIANNIS PASCHOULIS METZOVITES TALIADOROS, HAS AGREED IN PERSON THAT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONTRACT THAT HE EXECUTED HE AGRRED WITH THE PARISHIONERS OF AGHIOS KONSTANTINOS TO CONSTRUCT THE ICONOSTASIS AT THE CHURCH OF AGHIOS KONSTANTINOS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE VIENNA, ACCORDINGLY ALSO THE CONSTRUCT THE DESPOTIC THRONE AND THE COVER FOR THE HOLY SANCTUARY FOR THE SUM OF 22,370 PIASTRES, AND UPON ITS COMPLETION TO THE LIKING OF ALL HE RECEIVED THE COMPLETE SUM OF 22,370 PIASTRES FROM THE SAID PARISHIONERS AND THIS HAVING BEING SETTLED IN FULL HE HAS NO FURTHER CLAIMS. IN VERIFICATION THE PRESENT RECEIPT HAS BEEN PREPARED AND IN DUPLICATE FOR VERIFICATION IN THE PRESENCE OF THE BELOW MENTIONED FAITHFULL WITNESSES AND FOR OUR VERIFICATION AND ONE PART HAS BEEN HANDED TO THE CRAFTSMAN - GIANNIS WHILST THE OTHER SHALL BE HELD BY THE CHURCH, WHICH SHALL HAVE THE AUTHORITY AND THE VALIDITY AT EVERY COURT OF JUSTICE. IN 1836 ON MARCH 17, I, THE CRAFTSMAN GIANNIS PASCHOULIS METZOVITES TALIADORS HAVE VERFIED THE ABOVE». The Giannitzio community provided a letter of thanks dated 26th September 1883 to Georgios Taliadoros (i.e. Meranos): «he has pleased us quite admirably. It was three times better than the agreement. Accordingly we have provided the present letter of thanks to Georgios Nikolaos Taliadoros from Metsovo also in indication». Something similar also occurred at another village of Eurytania: «I IOANNIS MERENITIS THE UNDERSIGNED HAVE CERTIFIED AS THE CONTRACTOR FOR THE INTERNAL CONSTRUCTION AT THE HOLY CHURCH OF AGHIOS BESSARION IN THE VILLAGE OF AGHIA TRIADA THAT I HAVE RECEIVED ON THIS DAY ON BEHALF OF THE EXPERT GEORGIOS MELIOTIS, THE ICONOSTASIS AND THE CEILING FOR THE SAID CHURCH THAT HAS BEEN CONSTRUCTED BY HIM IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE BUDGET AND I HAVE NO CLAIM AGAINST HIM:
AT AGHIA TRIADA ON 23RD JANUARY 1894
THE RECIPIENT
Ι. MERENITIS»
On some occasions, in order to acquire some work, a type of contest was held between the different parties of taliadoroi. They would be assigned a small section of the project and in accordance with the output the project would then be assigned.
Accordingly, in accordance with the oral tradition there was a contest between the Tournovo and the Metsovo wood sculptors for the assignment of the construction of the iconostasis for the church of Aghios Athanasios at Ioannina. The Metsovo wood sculptors were assigned to sculpt the pulpit and the Tournovo wood sculptors the despotic throne. Finally, the construction of the entire project was assigned to the Tournovo wood sculptors. According to Ms. Hatzimichalis, the contest was held between the taliadoroi from Metsovo and the wood sculptors from Pramanda at Tzoumerka. Nevertheless, Plataris has in some way disputed this fact and has written that «EITHER THE PULPIT HAS ALSO BEEN CREATED BY TOURNOVO WOOD SCULPTORS OR THE ICONOSTASIS IS ALSO THE WORK OF METSOVO WOOD SCULPTORS», since together with other particulars he has also presented a letter from the last descendant of the Taliadoros or Bouris family from Tournovo, namely Georgios, who having made no mention of the project at the Metropolis of Ioannina that it had been built by his ancestors, as it has been attributed to them, has not excluded that his letter «MAY HAVE ALSO BEEN CRAFTED BY METSOVO CRAFTSMEN».