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Historically, a master craftsman or master tradesman (sometimes called only master or grandmaster) was a member of a guild. The title survives as the highest professional qualification in craft industries.
In the European guild system, only masters and journeymen were allowed to be members of the guild. An aspiring master would have to pass through the career chain from apprentice to journeyman before he could be elected to become a master craftsman. He would then have to produce a sum of money and a masterpiece before he could actually join the guild. If the masterpiece was not accepted by the masters, he was not allowed to join the guild and possibly remained a journeyman for the rest of his life.