The Russian surname of KURKOWSKI was an occupational name for a merchant or trader. The name was originally derived from the Russian word KUPTSA, meaning to buy. Many of the modern family names throughout Europe reflect the profession or occupation of their forbears in the Middle Ages and derive from the position held by their ancestors in the village, noble household or religious community in which they lived and worked. The name has numerous variant spellings which include KUPKA, KUPETS, KUPIEC, KUPEC, KUPEAK, KUBETZ, KUBACH and KUPETZ. Russian surnames are almost exclusively patronymic (occasionally metronymic) in form, usually ending in 'ov' or 'ev'. Habitation and topographic names are rare, and many common Russian surnames are polygenetic, and their literal meaning is clear, even though the reason for their adoption may not be. A notable member of the name was Frantisek KUPKA (1871-1957) the Czech painter, born in Opocno, East Bohemia. He studied art at the Kuntgewerbeschule at Jaromer in 1888, and in 1889 entered the Acadamy of Prague. In 1892 he went to Vienna. Moving to Paris in 1895 he worked as an illustrator and pursued his interests in the occult. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. Heraldry appeared later in Russia than in most other Western European countries. It is generally agreed that it was copied from the west sometime in the late 17th century, and quickly achieved state significance. In 1722 Emperor Peter I (The Great) established an official Heraldry Office headed by a Master of Heraldry under the jurisdiction of the Senate.
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