A Cameroonian artisan at work

An artisan (from Italian: artigiano) is a skilled manual worker who makes items that may be functional or strictly decorative, including furniture, clothing, jewellery, household items, and tools. As an adjective (spelled "artisanal"), it has been used as a marketing buzz word to describe or imply an association with the crafting of hand made food products, such as bread, tofu, beverages and cheese.


Artisan origins

Artisans were the dominant producers of consumer products prior to the Industrial Revolution. According to classical economics theory, the division of labour occurs with internal market development (Adam Smith). However, according to economist John Hicks, merchants and artisans originated as servants to the rulers, which occurred much earlier.

Medieval artisans

During the Middle Ages, the term "artisan" was applied to those who made things or provided services. It did not apply to unskilled labourers. Artisans were divided into two distinct groups: those who operated their own business, and those who did not. Those who owned their businesses were called masters, while the latter were the journeymen and apprentices. One misunderstanding many people have about this social group is that they picture them as "workers" in the modern sense: employed by someone. The most influential group among the artisans were the masters, the business owners. The owners enjoyed a higher social status in their communities.[1]

See also


  1. ^ History of Western Civilization, Boise State University

External links

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  • artisan — artisan, ane [ artizɑ̃, an ] n. • XVIe; it. artigiano, de arte « art » 1 ♦ Personne qui exerce un métier manuel pour son propre compte, aidée souvent de sa famille, de compagnons, apprentis, etc. (rare au fém.). Le serrurier, le cordonnier sont… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Artisan — Ar ti*san (?; 277), n. [F. artisan, fr. L. artitus skilled in arts, fr. ars, artis, art: cf. It. artigiano. See {Art}, n.] 1. One who professes and practices some liberal art; an artist. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] 2. One trained to manual dexterity in …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • artisan — ARTISAN. s. m. Ouvrier dans un art mécanique. Homme de métier. Simple artisan. Habile artisan. Les boutiques des artisans. [b]f♛/b] Il se dit figurément De celui qui est l auteur, la cause de quelque chose. Il a été l artisan de sa fortune, l… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • artisan — Artisan. s. m. Ouvrier dans un Art mechanique, homme de mestier. Simple artisan. habile artisan. les boutiques des artisans. Il se dit fig. de celuy qui est l Auteur, la cause de quelque chose. Il a esté l artisan de sa fortune, l artisan de son… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • artisan — I noun artifex, artificer, craftsman, craftworker, faber, handicraftsman, journeyman, laborer, machiner, master craftsman, master workman, mechanic, mechanician, one engaged in a manual enterprise, one skilled in an industrial art, one trained in …   Law dictionary

  • artisan — UK US /ˌɑːtɪˈzæn/ US  /ˈɑːrtəzən/ noun [C] PRODUCTION ► someone who is skilled in making things with their hands: »State of the art industrial manufacturing is complemented by the work of skilled seamstresses and artisans …   Financial and business terms

  • artisan — 1 artificer, *artist, architect 2 mechanic, workman, workingman, *worker, operative, craftsman, handicraftsman, hand, laborer, roustabout …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • artisan — Artisan, ou Artiste, Artifex, Opifex …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • artisan — ► NOUN ▪ a skilled worker who makes things by hand. DERIVATIVES artisanal adjective. ORIGIN French, from Latin artire instruct in the arts …   English terms dictionary

  • artisan — [ärt′ə zən, ärt′əsən] n. [Fr < It artigiano; ult. < L ars, ART1] a worker in a skilled trade; craftsman artisanal adj. artisanship n …   English World dictionary

  • artisan — (ar ti zan) s. m. 1°   Celui qui exerce un art mécanique, un métier. Artisan habile, adroit. 2°   Anciennement, artiste. •   Vous.... voyez dans les arts les secrets qui ne sont connus que des artisans, BALZ. Liv. VI, Lett. 6. •   L artisan… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

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