Master Potter

Author unknown
Genre Poem
Keywords 15th century, Christ, devotion, Eucharist, Old Czech
Title (in Czech) Mistr Lepič
Title (in English translation) Master Potter
Editor Andrea Svobodová – Kateřina Voleková
Translator Walter Schamschula
Edited source Praha, Národní knihovna České republiky, XXIV A 183 (zl. 29), fol. 1v (formerly on the pastedown of the MS V A 23)
Introduction Walter Schamschula – Andrea Svobodová
TEI P5 XML Encoding Anna Michalcová – Michal Mocňák – Ondřej Tichý
Summary of content A symbolic poem expressing the cult of the host transformed into the body of Christ.
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Introduction to the Text

The poem Master Potter, long regarded as satirical, has been identified by Dmytro Čyževskyj as religious. God the creator is symbolized by the artisan. The topos of Deus artifex (‘God the craftsman’), who may be seen as a weaver, potter, blacksmith, etc., has origins in antiquity and is very common in the Middle Ages (cf. Curtius 2013, pp. 543-546, s. v. God as Maker). In Old Czech, there is a similar symbolic poem Kocovník, where God is a furrier who, in the process of creation, dresses man. In Mistr Lepič (‘Master Potter’), the image of Deus artifex is combined with the biblical story of the wedding at Cana (Matt. 22) with its symbolism of vessels and wine. There is also symbolism of numbers (three and six). God not only provides the vessels for the heavenly food, i.e. man, he also gives bread and wine to the wanderer, i.e. the Eucharist. The final verse daj pocěstným vína s chlebem (‘give the wanderers bread and wine’) does not, however, necessarily indicate that the poem reflects Utraquist ideas.

The poem is remarkable for each stanza consists of 4 verses in trochaic tetrameter, the third of which contains interior rhyme, thus adding an organizing factor to the stanza and marking its second half. For a detailed description of the metrical system and a description of its format see Schamschula (1991, pp. 71-72).

Introduction to the Sources

The song has been preserved in two copies, one from the beginning of the 15th century (Praha, Národní knihovna České republiky, XXIV A 183, fol. 1v; not available online), the second from the third quarter of the 15th century (Praha, Národní knihovna České republiky, V F 2, back pastedown; available online).

About this Edition

The edition contains a transcription of the ms. XXIV A 183, taking into account the edition of Walter Schamschula (cf. Schamschula 1991, see Existing editions below).

The present translation has been taken, with the permission of Walter Schamschula, from the text of his edition. No textual changes have been made to the text, and only obvious typographical errors have been removed (cf. Schamschula 1991, see Existing editions below). The introductory information, based on Schamschula´s edition, has been supplemented from new contributions on the topic.

Existing Editions

Staročeský Spor duše s tělem, t. zv. první, Stanislav Petíra (ed.), Sborník filologický 9, 1931, pp. 136-137 [ms. XXIV A 183, variants from ms. V F 2; semi-diplomatic transcription].

Staročeská lyrika, Jan Vilikovský (ed.), Praha 1940, pp. 139-140 [ms. XXIV A 183; standardized transcription].

Výbor z české literatury od počátků po dobu Husovu, Bohuslav Havránek a kol. (eds.), Praha 1957, pp. 426-427 [ms. XXIV A 183; standardized transcription].

Čechische mittealterliche geistliche Lyrik, in: Kleinere Schriften 2, Dmytro Čyževśkyj (ed.), München 1972, p. 70 [ms. XXIV A 183; standardized transcription; with translation into German].

Mistr Lepič, in: Česká středověká lyrika, Jan Lehár (ed.), Praha 1990, p. 193 [ms. XXIV A 183; standardized transcription].

Mistr Lepič/Master Potter, in: An Anthology of Czech Literature. 1st Period: from the Beginnings until 1410, Walter Schamschula (ed.), Frankfurt am Main – Bern – New York – Paris 1991, pp. 71-73 [ms. XXIV A 183; standardized transcription].

[Mistr Lepič], Alena M. Černá (ed.), Praha 2015 [ms. V F 2; standardized transcription]. Available at: https://vokabular.ujc.cas.cz/edice/PisLepB

Existing translations

Mistr Lepič/Master Potter, in: An Anthology of Czech Literature. 1st Period: from the Beginnings until 1410, Walter Schamschula (ed.), Frankfurt am Main – Bern – New York – Paris 1991, pp. 71-73 [ms. XXIV A 183].

Further Reading

Čyževśkyj, Dmytro: Příspěvek k symbolice českého básnictví náboženského, Slovo a slovesnost 2, 1936, pp. 98-105.

Čyževśkyj, Dmytro: Čechische mittealterliche geistliche Lyrik, in: Kleinere Schriften 2, München 1972, pp. 69-86.

Curtius, Ernst Robert: European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, Princeton–Oxford 2013.

Edition


MECZ [online], Master Potter, ed. unknown, trans. Walter Schamschula. KREAS Faculty of Arts, Charles University, Retrieved 07.12.2022, from https://mecz.kreas.ff.cuni.cz/publication/master-potter/ Bibtex citation

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