The insignia (symbols of profession) of the “Herrengrund” Miners Fraternity of Špania Dolina consist of crossed mining instruments, the hammer and iron. These represent the oldest work tools used to extract ore.
The Miners Fraternity insignia are used as a mark on the 1574 Renaissance chalice and also decorate the Baroque monstrance, the portal of the Corpus Christi Chapel dating from 1593, the painting of St. Clement and the cartouche above the main altar.
The insignia of the Špania Dolina Miners Fraternity were created in 1701 by Peter Neumann, a goldsmith from Kremnica, and are made of gold plated silver sheet. This is attested by his goldsmith mark and the SCK mark of guild testing by the town of Kremnica.
The hammer is 42,5 cm long, decorated with an emblem of the Sun, the IHS sign, the word CHRISTUS and the numerological symbol for Christ.
It also bears the following inscription in Old German:
To the Hon. Gentleman Benedikt von Majern
Hon. Tobis Alojz Ruprecht, mining master, for the honourable Miners Fraternity of Špania Dolina On the handle:
After you, the judgment. Do not err – on your honour, do not damage it.
The iron is 42,8 cm long, decorated with an emblem of the Moon, the word MARIA in calligraphic rendering, and with the following inscription:
Andrej Troschdiak, the German, and Matej Mráz the Slovak fraternity master, in the year 1701
With the consent of the Christian authorities Ján Kaltz Feitzer and Gerg Hiter assistants of Slovak nationality.
The insignia are kept in a box with the original gilded inscription on leather: For the honourable Miners Fraternity of Špania Dolina under the hon. Gentleman Michl. Lud. Deadd, the mining master, as well as under Juraj Kogler, the German, and Andrej Kartinka, the Slovak fraternity master, in the year 1718
The insignia of the Miners Fraternity in Špania Dolina have played an important role in the religious and social life of the miners. During mass on special occasions members of the Miners Fraternity (the ausschuss persons) perform a “service” ceremony involving the insignia. This ceremony dates back to times prior even to the year 1519 when Fraternitas Corporis Christi was transformed into the Miners Fraternity. The insignia are also used during miners’ weddings and funerals.
Ausschuss persons with the insignia assist during visits of important people to Špania Dolina or during admission of new members to the Miners Fraternity.
In the past, each mining town had its miners fraternity and each fraternity had its insignia. Many insignia of the Slovak miners fraternities can be seen today in a number of foreign museums, however, in Špania Dolina you can enjoy the original hammer ceremony, for example during mass on Christmas Day, Easter Sunday and St. Clement’s Day.