A close analysis and interpretation of the last will and testament of a grain merchant written in 1616 Kazimierz Dolny, Poland, sheds light on the process by which possessions were bequeathed and assigned meaning. Material goods were deeply embedded in human relationships and heavily invested with religious importance, especially concerning the attainment of salvation. Testaments disclose ideas about ownership, the built environment as a site of exchange, and the power that goods could accumulate over time. In revealing the significance of material culture during the early modern era, they yield crucial insights about the interconnection between society, culture, and economy.
© 2017 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Inc.