Regulations for the sculptors’ guild of Mexico City, 1589

English Translation
Regulations for Carvers and Sculptors

Issued in the noble city of Mexico on the 17th of April, 1589, and signed by his Excellency the Viceroy of New Spain, the Marqués of Villamanrique on the 18th of August of the same year.

At the beginning of every year, this Council will name two people to be overseers of the trade, and, before the Council, they will swear to faithfully uphold and carry out the ordinances below, and to inform the loyal executors [of the Council] so that they may punish all those who may infringe them.

The Overseers are to examine all those who request it using both a nude figure and a dressed one, requiring them to first demonstrate their composition with a drawing, and then carry it out with a well–proportioned and graceful statue. When the petitioner has demonstrated his skill, he is to be given an examination card to present to the Council.

The Overseers are also to examine all those who request to be carvers with a carved column topped with a capital, with the winged figure of an angel, and a bird, so to [show they can] carefully cut the wood, and preserve the relief, show drawing skills. Once the petitioner shows all this, he is to be given an examination card as above.

The exams are to be held in the house of the Overseer who is examining the candidates on their respective skills, so that the work may be carried out there.

That no one shall open a shop without having been examined and possessing a examination card, on the pain of having the works in the shop confiscated, and being fined thirty pesos to be paid to four parties: the Exchequer, the City, the Judge, and the Accuser. On the second offense, the fines shall be doubled, doubled again for the third and the offender banished for two years.

That no person, except those certified as sculptors, weather artist or carpenter, shall be commissioned to make a retablo, or a base, or any other public work, or secretly carry out any work except in the house of an examined master, nor have Indians carrying out such work in one's house, with offenders punished as above.

That Indians are not regulated by these ordinances and their punishments, so that they may freely execute their works. But no Spaniard, even one thus certified, shall buy a work from an Indian to resell in or outside of his shop, with offenders punished as above.

That every fifteen days, or more frequently as deemed necessary, the Overseers shall visit the shops and [public] works, and if work is not progressing as agreed upon, they shall report to the Committee so that they may mete out punishment, taking away the commission and fining them twenty pesos. For every time the Overseers fail to make a visit, they shall be fined one peso.

That no person coming from the kingdom of Castile, or examined in other regions, is to open a shop, without first presenting himself to the Council, so that it shall be clear what the examination requires. Should he need to take it a second time, the applicant shall be fined thirty pesos, divided into four as above.
   

Spanish Original
Ordenanzas de Entalladores, y Escultores

Las dió la N.C. de Mexico én diez y Siete de Abril de mill, quinientos, óchenta, y nueve, y las confirmó el Exmo. Señor Virrey de Nueva España Marquez de Villamanrique én diez y ócho de Agosto del mismo año.

Que áprincipios de áño, ésta Ciudad nombre dos personas para Veëdores del óficio, y juren én Cavildo de vssar bien, y fielmente, y hazer, que guarden las órdenanzas, y dar noticias álos fieles éxecutores para que se castigue ál que contraviniere.

Que los Veëdores han de examinar álos que pidieren examen de una figura desnumada, yótra vestida, dando Razón de su compostura por dibujo, y arte, yluego hacerla de búlto bien medida, y con buena gracia, y én sabiendo ésto seles deë la carta de examen presentando él examinado ál Cavildo.

Que dichos veëdores han de examinar ál que pidiere examen de éntallador de un Chapital corriendo una columna vestida de talla, y follajes de un cerafin, de un pajarito decortar bien la madera, y guardar los Campos y que la sepa dibujar, y sabiendo esto sele deé la Carta de examen én la forma Referida.

Que los éxamenes sean én la Cassa del Veëdor, que fuere éxaminador, én él arte énque se pide él examen, para que álli pueda óbrar él examinado.

Que ninguno tenga tienda sin ser examinado, yque tenga carta de esamen pena de perdida de la óbra, que se hallare, ytrenta pesos áplicados por quartas partes, Camara, Ciudad, Juez, y Denunciador, por la Segunda doblada, la misma por la tercera, y destierro de dos años.

Que ninguna persona, sino fuere examindo én éste arte, áunque sea pintor ó Carpintero se encargue de hazer óbra de Retablos, camas, u otra qualquier cosa publica, ni secretamente mas que sea én casa de maestro examinado, ni tener Yndios delos dichos óficios én su Casa: só la dicha pena.

Que los Yndios no son comprenhendidos én estas órdenanzas, y sus penas, sino que Libremente ussen sus óficios: pero ningun Español áunque sea examinado pueda comprar óbra deéllos para Revender én sus tiendas, ni fuera de ellas, só la dicha pena.

Que los Veëdores cada quince dias, ó antes si huviere Urgencia, viciten las tiendas, y óbras, y sino ban como deben, den Razon énla Diputacion para que se castiguen dando por perdida la obra, y veinte pessos y los Veëdores hagan las vicitas só pena de un peso por cada vez que la dejaren dehacer.

Que ninguno que venga de los Reinos de Castilla, ó de ótra parte examinado tenga tienda, sin que primero se áya presentado én Cavildo, y haga constar ser él contenido én la carta de examen, y sea Reprendada; pena de treinta pesos áplicada, como dicho és.
   








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