Last modified: 2011-05-14 by andrew weeks
Keywords: koscian |
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The municipal heraldic arms appeared in Poland at the end of XIII century
and most often it was the adopted arms of the superior lord, enriched with
elements of municipal defensive architecture. Very often it presented the
image of a patron saint, which usually was also a patron of the municipal
parish church. Usually, a chief officer chose the heraldic arms or a town
council and its use, as a stamp which was the sign of the autonomy of the
The Kościan heraldic arms was probably established by aldermen, and then approved by a royal office. Because of the defensive nature of the town, a defensive tower was chosen as its visual symbol and is qualified as the architectural arms. It is possible to reconstitute the real look of Kościan's heraldic arms only by analyzing the few remaining stamps of the municipal marks. The oldest one of which originates from the end of XIV century and can be seen as a wax stamp on documents from 1396, 1397, 1401 and 1408. On the mark itself, there is a wooden defensive tower with gate and two rectangular windows. The tower has a balustrade with five columns and four battlements with the balustrade being held up on brackets. On the second and fourth column there is a triangular roof finished with a knob. The same arms can be found on a document from 1591. Aldermen probably ordered a new mark in 1622 which depicted a tower without a balustrade, brackets or knob. However, it still had an open gate, two rectangular windows, four columns and a triangular roof. This mark was used until 1793 when, due to the 3rd partition of Poland, Kościan was incorporated into Prussia.
These arms - a wooden tower with an external inscription in German and internal inscription in Polish - without the roof - was used up until 1880. Since 1875, there was a tower made of brick with a German inscription on the arms. Unexpectedly, in 1881 the municipal authorities started to use a new heraldic arms mark: over the tower a spread eagle was added, which was the trade mark given by the Polish King Kazimierz Jagiellończyk to the tailors from Kościan.
In 1891, the municipal authorities ordered a new mark with a metal piston presenting the tower with an eagle. In 1919, after having regained independence, a new rubber mark was made. It had a defensive tower with an eagle and an inscription in Polish "Magistrat miasta powiatowego Kościana" (municipal authorities of a district town of Kościan). In 1925, a new rubber mark appeared with another pattern using exactly the same elements. Since 1935, the third model of a rubber mark can be found in municipal documents with an altered inscription: Zarząd Miejski w Kościanie (municipal government in Kościan) and with the eagle adorned with a crown.
During the interwar period, the town heraldic arms was the same as the tailorś trade mark from King Kazimierz Jagiellończyk's times. It is worth mentioning that the heraldic arms with the tower and the eagle caused a fair amount of controversy amongst aldermen however, due to the political situation in Europe, the matter was left unchanged.
From1935 until 1945 Hitler's Head-Quarters were using the arms mark for local needs. This shows that the German invaders, whilst establishing the mark, based it on the design of stamps from the XIV and XV centuries.
After the Second World War the oval armorial marks came into use. These marks had heraldic arms on a shield placed in the upper part of an oval frame. They were based on historic stamps and represented the defensive tower. The only new elements were the brick and roofing-tile patterns. However, since 1950 these armorial marks have not been used.
In 1989, after system changes, municipal authorities appeared and the proper rank was restored to the municipal heraldic arms. In the case of Kościan, the historical look of the town heraldic arms was established in the Regional Museum. The origin was in the armorial marks originating from the turn of XIV and XV centuries. The analysis of the heraldic material showed that the historically justified heraldic arms of Kościan should be a wooden (smooth) tower with gate, two rectangular windows, a balustrade with brackets and five columns with a triangular roof finished with a knob. As far as the colouring was concerned, it became defined by a Polish professor Mr Marian Gumowski: a white background for the heraldic shield, a red tower, a blue roof and a black gate and windows. At the end of 90's, some esthetic corrections were made.
Pascal Gross, 12 Jun 2001