01 Apr PROGENY FROM THE WORLD OVER
A translation of an article by news provider Jutarni List released in Croatian in 2018
With translator's notes for the English speaker
THE STORY OF THE ŠTAMBUK VINE
A Prague master from the 18th century
established stonemasonry in Selca and one of Brač’s1 most well-known families
26.03.2018. at 22:30
Recently deceased world-class cartoonist Davor Štambuk (left) and poet and diplomat Drago Štambuk2
Since the 300th Anniversary, in 2013, of the signing of the contract that purchased the freedom of the first Štambuk on Brač, Jan Antonin, his descendants from all over the world have been coming to Selca. Many of them have never seen Brač sculpture before. A Venetian galley oarsman bought by a Brač landlord in the 18th century, earned his freedom and remained on the island. From that same man, Jan Antonin (‘Ante’ or ‘Antun’) Standel Pergher, the Štambuk family vine is derived. All those carrying the Štambuk family name, scattered around the world, from Brač to Chile, are descended from a Czech that arrived as a rower on Brač.
(Link to Croatian article by news provider Jutarni List)
In 1905, one descendant, Vjenceslav Štambuk, founded the first stonemasonry school on Brač in Selca. It was headed by Czech Vaclav Barda in its early years.
Jan Antonín was the first master stonemason on Brač, and together with Barda, who was also originally from Prague, they laid the foundations of a tradition without which, Brač would be unquestionably culturally diminished.
Exactly how Prague citizen Standel Pergher arrived on Brač is not known with any certainty. At that time Venice3 had ruled Dalmatia4 for three centuries - since 1409. It was still a time of settlement and people were frequently driven to Dalmatia’s small island towns by exile and by wars. At that time, adventures that shaped people’s destinies were not only driven by the seeking of their fortunes. Legend has it that a storm forced the galley5 that Standel Pergher was on to land at Pučišća6 on Brač.
Dr. Dražen Štambuk, a former rector of the University of Split7, has some comment on the local circumstances on Brač at the time of Standel Pergher’s arrival there in 1710. He writes that a local landlord, Matej Nizetić, needed a stonemason, and it was not easy to get a master of that profession to the island at the time. Nizetić had recently bought the quarry of St. Mikula near Selca.
A master stonemason
It was a matter of good luck that the galley, ‘Vendramin’, had a trained Czech stonemason on board. Nizetić negotiated with the captain of the galley and relieved Standel Pergher of his duties by paying the captain 558 Venetian liras. Jan Antonín was not a seaman on a military galley. Vendramin was a general use galley of the Venetian navy8.
It is not known how the master stonemason Standel Pergher ended up as an oarsman on a Venetian galley. He may have been convicted of a crime in Prague and could have been subsequently sold to the Venetian navy, which was always short of men to man their ships. Perhaps some misfortune struck him in Venice, or he was abducted and made captive and forced to work on a galley.
Under contract, Standel Pergher had to return the amount to Nizetić that he had paid the galley captain for his release, with work. This he did in three years and two months by working on the building of ordinary stone houses as well as more opulent dwellings on Brač. He then became a free citizen of Venice and continued to work as a stonemason. He came to work with local people in Pučišća where there is a large quarry that is known for its white stone. He would point out that he was originally from Prague and that he had studied stonemasonry there for six years.
Jan Antonín had a good reputation and he liked being called ‘Mistro Antonio’ by the inhabitants of Brač. If it was not for his Czech background, and perhaps his great skill as a stonemason9, he probably would have been called ‘Majstor Ante’ otherwise. He came from an entrepreneurial Prague10 family. His father was a tanner who made gloves. They lived in the artisan neighbourhood of Novo Mesto11 in the outer districts of the Czech capital. The neighbourhood is now a UNESCO protected heritage site.
As a native of Prague on Brač, perhaps due to nostalgia, he developed a passion for genealogy, which he narrated. He traced the Standel Pergher family name to the German name ‘Stammbuch’, and as the islanders had nicknames for everyone he also became known locally as ‘Štambuk’.
In a Venetian document dated 1713 and called ‘The Contract of Freedom’, a notary noted his name, in Italian, as ‘detto Stambucco’ – ‘called Stambucco’12.
It took more than two centuries for a Štambuk to be born with the same passion for genealogy that Jan Antonin had. Some thirty years ago, Zagreb dentist Dario Štambuk began studying the genealogy of the Štambuk family.