14/11/2006
The guilds

Triantaphyllos Sioulis

© Prefecture of Ioannina

The guilds or the associations developed in the area of present day Greece mainly during the Turkish occupation. From the 16th century onwards the wood sculpture art also developed specifically in the Epirus area. The main reason for its development was the use of wood in the decoration of the churches and the residences in the place of marble, since it was a less expensive material and could be more easily processed.
The fact that relatively early wood sculptured works were appearing in Epirus, even before the 16th century, confirms that the Epirot wood sculptors were continuing an older Byzantine tradition. We refer as an example to the wood sculptured walnut door at the Red Church of Bourgarelion that was present by Orlando and has been dated to approximately 1250 AD, as well as «the so called sanctuary door at Perama of Ioannina», which has been dated between the 12th – 14th century.
In relation to the guild for the processing of timber in Byzantium it was the profession of the «TIMBER WORKERS», «THE PROFESSION OF THE CARPENTER WAS PRACTISED BY THOSE WHO THEN KNOWN AS THE MATRIKARIOI», who were also known as «LOGGERS AND OAK CUTTERS» as well as those exercising the art of wood sculpture, who were known as «ADVANCED TIMBER TECHNICIANS...», who «...WERE THEN UNDER THE DIOCLETIAN DECREE KNOWS AS SCULPTORES LIGNI ‘‘THE SCULPTORS OF WOOD”, AT WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY THE BASILICA WERE CREATED, SOME OF WHOM SCULPTED VARIOUS DOMESTIC UTENSILS AT THE ARISTOCRATIC RESIDENCES OR THEY DECORATED THEIR PANELS WITH VARIOUS SCULPTURES ».
The practice has remained from long ago to also term the teams of wood sculptors as guilds or associations. The term guilds or associations referred to those groups of people who were occupied with various crafts and who constituted partnerships, mainly in the cities. They were numerous and organised with a Board of Directors, charter, etc.


Shield and Upper shield, Monastery for Aghios Demetrios at Dichounion (1763)
(Photo: Triantaphyllos Sioulis)

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