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JEWISH ART
AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY
EDITED BY

CECIL ROTH

12 color plates
485 pages
450 black-and-white illustrations

For the

first

Jewish art

is

time, a complete history of

presented in a many-sided

account ranging from the second millen-

nium before the Christian era


ent

Jewish Art,

day.

in

to the pres-

the

refuting

widespread impression that traditional


religious restrictions prevented the

Jews

from developing a representational

art of

their

own, shows how the situation varied

from period
area,

to period

and from area

to

changing from absolute prohibition

to the free

use of

human

figures

even

in

objects associated with divine worship.

Indeed, a theory in one of the twenty-one


essays presented here suggests the pos-

(based on recently discovered

sibility

fourth-century synagogue frescoes) that


early Christian religious art, from

gogue

much

European art
may have developed from syna-

ultimately

evolved,

which

so

of

art.

Beginning long before the time of King

Solomon, the account moves from the


Jewish contribution to Palestinian art
before the destruction of Jerusalem
to

down

contemporary painting, sculpture, and

architecture.

It

discusses the distinctly

Jewish contribution

in relation to the art

(Continued on back

flap)

Jacket design: Scenes from Biblical history. First


page of Pentateuch. Franco-German school.
About 1300. (The Schocken Library)

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Digitized by the Internet Archive


in

2012

http://archive.org/details/jewishartillustrOOroth

Mosaic pavement uncovered


in the

in the ancient

Negev. (4

svnagogue near Kibbutz Nirim

5th century C.E.)

JEWISH

ART

AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY
EDITED BY

CECIL ROTH

McGRAW-HILL BOOK COMPANY, INC.


LONDON
TORONTO
NEW YORK

Published in Israel

by Massadah - P.E.C.

JAN3

Press, Ltd., Tel Aviv, Israel

'62

08

1961 - Massadah - P.E.C. Press, Ltd.

may not be
any form without permission of the publishers.

All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof,

reproduced

in

Library of Congress Catalogue

Number

61

9776

1oH
4S

Printed in Israel by Peli-P.E.C. Printing

54006

Works

Ltd.,

Ramat Gan

CONTRIBUTORS

APPELBAUM

SIMON,

Israel.

Archaeologist.

JAMILLY EDWARD,

Gt. Britain. Architect. For-

Excavated Earlv Iron Age and Roman sites in


Britain, and Hellenistic and Roman sites in
Israel. Formerly supervised the antiquities of

mer member of Government of India Planning Team. Author of published reports on


building and planning in India, France and

Cvrenaica. Lecturer in Classics (archaeology)


at Tel-Aviv University. Contributor on ancient

Cyprus. Associate of the Royal Institute of

history

and archaeologv

to professional perio-

dicals.

AVI-YONAH MICHAEL,
professor

Associate

Hebrew

University,

Israel.

of

Archaeologist.

architects

KASHTAN AHARON,

Israel.

Architect.

Senior

the

lecturer, Faculty of Architecture, Israel Insti-

Director of

tute of Technology, Haifa. Designer of the

Archaeology

Jerusalem.

Author of monographs on
and architecture,
George Basevi, and English synagogues.
British Architects.

Anglo-Jewish

at

Academy

Archives, Department of Antiquities, Govern-

Hebrew

ment of Israel. Formerly


and archives director, Rockefeller Archaeological Museum, Jerusalem. Author of Mosaic
Pavements in Palestine; Map of Roman Palestine; Abbreviations in Greek Inscriptions;
Oriental Elements in the Art of Palestine;
In the Days of Rome and Byzantium (HebHistorical Geography of Palestine
rew

Jerusalem. Author of studies on the Mediterranean and Palestinian dwelling-house; the

assistant librarian

Hebrew

history of

Israel. Architect and art


Author of The Tombs of the Kings; The
Menorah of the Arch of Titus; The Stone

critic.

Capitals of Ramat Rachel. Contributing editor to Encyclopaedia Hebraica.

GEORGE WALDEMAR,

building

in

svnagogue architecture; Jerusalem

architecture.

KOLB EUGENE

(deceased)

rector of the Tel-Aviv

Art

Israel.

Museum

critic.

Di-

of Art. For-

merly contributing editor, Hungarian Encyclopaedia. Contributor on art history to professional

COHEN MAXIMILIAN,

Language

journals.

Author

of

The Art

of

Painting as an Expression of the Periods and


their

Opinions

Hebrew

LANDSBERGER FRANZ,
Curator,

U.S.A. Art historian.

Hebrew Union

Museum,

Jewish

College, Cincinnati, Ohio. Formerly associate

critic.

professor, History of Art, Breslau University

Author of monographs on Matisse, Picasso,

and director, Jewish Museum, Berlin. Author


of Die Kuenstlerischen Probleme der Italienischen Renaissance; Die Kunst der Goethezeit;
Einfuehrung in die Juedische Kunst; A History
of Jewish Art; Rembrandt, the Jews and the

France.

Art

Rouault, Gris, Leger, Chagall, Chirico, Soutine,

he Dessin Frangais au XX e
Humanisme et Universalite and Les

and

Siecle;

of

Artistes Juifs et VEcole

GOODMAN
fessor,

versity,

PERCIVAL,

de

Paris.

U.S.A. Architect. Pro-

School of Architecture, Columbia UniNew York. Leading synagogue archi-

tect in the U.S.A. Contributor to architectural

journals.

Author of Communitas.

HABERMANN ABRAHAM

M.,

Israel. Bibliogra-

pher. Director of the Schocken Library, Jerusalem. Formerly librarian, Jewish Community
of

Berlin.

Hebrew

Author of numerous studies on


and the history

poetry, bibliography,

of Jewish printing.

ISSERLIN BENEDICT

S. J., Gt. Britain. ArchaeoHead, Department of Semitics, University of Leeds, England. Author of monographs on archaeology and Semitic Studies.

Bible.

MAYER LEO ARY

(deceased),

Israel.

Archaeolo-

and educator. Professor of archaeology


and Near Eastern art, Hebrew University,
gist

Hebrew
Authority on Moslem
Adviser on Moslem

Jerusalem. Rector,

University 1943-

1945.

art

ture.

and

architec-

buildings,

Israel

Author of Saracenic Heraldry; The Rise and Progress of


Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Moslem

Archaeology;

The

Buildings

of

Quaytbay; Bibliography of Moslem Numismatics; Mamluk Costume; L'art Juif en Terre


d' Islam.

logist.

NAMENYI ERNEST
critic.

Formerly

M. (deceased), France. Art


curator, Jewish Museum,

Budapest, Hungary. Contributor on Jewish


to

art

professional

L 'esprit de

publications.

Author

of

SCHWARZ KARL,

L'art Juif.

PERROT JEAN,

France. Archaeologist.

Head

of

French Archaeological Mission to Israel.


Conducted excavations at Beersheba, Yazur,
Ascalon, Abu Ghosh, Ein Mellaha. Published
numerous papers in scientific and professional
journals, especially on prehistoric Palestine.

RODITI

EDOUARD

The Jewish Contribution


The Jews in the Renaissance.

ple;

DISRAELI,

France. Poet

Israel.

Art

to Civilization;

critic.

Formerly

custodian of the art collection, Jewish Community Museum, Berlin. Contributor to


literarv

and scientific periodicals on art and


Author of Augustin Hirschvogel,

sculpture.

Ein Deutscher Meister der Renaissance; Graphischen Werkes von Lovis Corinth; Die
Juden in der Kunst; Jewish Sculptors.

WERNER ALFRED,

U.S.A. Contributing editor to Arts magazine.

U.S.A. Art critic. Author of


Alexander Watin und Die Juedische Volkskunst; Utrillo; Dufy; and prefaces and intro-

Author of Dialogues on

ductions to

and

ROTH

art critic.

CECIL,

Taught

art at universities in

Art.

Gt. Britain. Historian

and author.

artists'

biographies.

WISCHNITZER RACHEL,

U.S.A.

Art

editor

Jewish Studies, University of


Oxford, England. Editor-in-chief, Standard
Jewish Encyclopedia. Contributor to Encyclopaedia Britannica; Encvclopaedia Judaica;
Cambridge Medieval History. Author of nu-

Jewish Museum, Berlin. Art editor, Universal Jewish


Encyclopaedia and Encvclopaedia Judaica.
Contributor to magazines on art. Author of
Gestalten und Symbole der Juedische Kunst;

merous works on Jewish

The Messianic Themes


the Dura Synagogue.

Reader

in

including

historical subjects,

Short History of the Jewish Peo-

and

critic.

Formerly

art curator,

in the

Paintings of

CONTENTS

17

Introduction

PART ONE

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

Palestinian Art before the Israelite


Israelite

Conquest / Jean Perrot

Art during the Period of the Monarchy / Benedict

Jewish Art at the

Time

of the

Synagogue Architecture
Jewish Pictorial Art

The Minor

S. Isserlin

the Classical Period / Michael Avi-Yonah

in

Period / Rachel Wischnitzer-Bernstein

in the Classical

TWO

41

Second Temple / Maximilian Cohen

Arts of the Talmudic Period /

PART

Simon Appelbaum

75
119
155
191

225

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE ACES

TO THE EMANCIPATION
Synagogue Architecture

of the

Medieval and Pie-Emancipation Periods /


Aharon Kashtan

Ritual Art / Cecil Roth

Jewish Art in the

The

Illumination

309

Leo Anj Mayer

Moslem World /
Hebrew Manuscripts
of

.351

......
.......
in

and

Ages

Middle

Renaissance / Franz Landsherger

The

Illumination

Hebrew Manuscripts after the Invention


M. Namenyi
Printed Book
Abraham M. Habermann

of

Printing / Ernest

The Jewish Art

of the

PART THREE

Jews

of Paris

Age

of

Emancipation

/ Waldemar George

in Architecture

The Architecture
The Jewish Artist

Percival

of the
in

the

List

in

Israel

of

Ind ex

Modern World

Eugene Kolb

Illustrations

Goodman

Cecil Roth

423
455

497

.....
.....
.....
Alfred Werner

Contemporary Svnagogue

Jewish Sculptors / Karl Schwarz


Art

JEWISH ART FROM THE EMANCIPATION


TO MODERN TIMES

Jewish Impressionists / Ernest M. Nameni/i

The School

377

of

Jewish Art and Artists before Emancipation


Jewish Artists of the

253

Edward

Edonard Roditi

Jamilh

539

575
639
719
757
797
861

903

953

965

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A

contemporary Mezuzah by Isidor Schor

INTRODUCTION

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page

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Ji")Sv JlVttTO

JtTOV

TOT

Title

Y"

Mishneh Torah

of

Maimonides

by Nathan Ben Simeon Ha-levi. Cologne, 1296

INTRODUCTION

The conception
some

of Jewish Art

a contradiction in terms

may appear

for there

is

to

a wide-

spread impression, that in the past visual art was

made

impossible,

among conforming

uncompromising prohibition

mandments

"Thou

in

shalt not

Jews, by the

the Ten Commake unto thee a

graven image, nor any manner of likeness, of anything that

is in

the heaven above or that

water under the earth." More sweeping


perhaps somewhat
tion in

less familiar, is

is

still,

though

the condemna-

Deuteronomy IV, 17-8, which

hibition of graven

in the

Pentateuchal code

tions regarding the

terms

in

its

detailed instruc-

Cherubim which were

was intended

to

following verse:

them and

be read

"Thou

shalt not serve

image must be made

in conjunction

them"

for the

that

nity.

In

all

Jewish history, attitudes and interpreta-

tions varied

from land

to land

and from genera-

the prohibition

was

absolute,

any ivinged fowl that

whatsoever, of

man

or beast or bird,

creepeth upon the ground, the likeness of any


that
It

is

in the

may be observed

however
artistic

is

rigidiv interpreted, as antagonistic to all

development would imply a very narrow

and even

representational,

art there are subjects

lineation

of a

not

art: for

animal

or

figure.

Hence,

even had these Biblical verses been interpreted


the most literal fashion,

times

the

all

in representational

which do not imply the de-

human

even

and commanded

in

at all

Sometimes the application of

times,

men went

porated freely even

The

human

beings

inhibition

to

figures

i.e.,

make

busts
a

Some-

and great

being incor-

in objects associated

as regards three-dimensional

do not begin

was admitted
circles.

to the other extreme,

was shown, human

vine worship.

and no representation

Jewish

in relatively "liberal"

latitude

that to regard this interdict,

view of the scope and functions of


art

fish

water under the earth."

that no

either as representing or as substituting the Divi-

tion to generation.

heaven, the likeness of any thing that

is,

to

purpose of worship,

is

earth, the likeness of

with the

bow down

shalt not

male or female, the likeness of any beast that


on the

be

Ten Commandments

that the stern negative of the

that leave no place for ambiguity: "the likeness of

flieth in the

to

placed in the Ark, suggests the logical conclusion

in the pro-

images particularizes

with

itself,

with Di-

was maintained only


"graven images" of

and

statues.

These

general appearance in

Jewish circles until the seventeenth or perhaps the


eighteenth century

though even

in the classical

period there were some significant exceptions to


this generalization as well.

most unquestioning obedience, there


II

could nevertheless be some scope for our subject.

But

in point of fact the

premise

ther the passages in question

is

Whe-

incorrect.

were intended

as

an

It

may

be suggested that the Jewish attitude was

conditioned by two opposing forces

on the one

outright prohibition of the representation of anv

hand by revulsion and on the other bv

human

In antiquity, the former

or animal

form

questionable. But

what

anv circumstances

in
is

certain

not always so interpreted, even

most rigid and unswerving

is

that

among Jews

loyalty.

it

is

was

of the

Indeed, the

In a

attraction.

was normally the

stronger.

pagan environment, where images were objects

of worship, the Biblical prohibition


tically

was automa-

strengthened and confirmed, and the Jew

INTRODUCTION

19

became

This was

20

it

on plausible religious grounds, on the use of cur-

seems, at the time of the First Temple. However,

rency minted by the oppressor.) The same stan-

a passionate iconoclast.

few inconsiderable specimens

so,

of representational

have been found

art originating in this period

the ivory plaques of Samaria

(e.g.,

36, 38] or the

[figs.

dard was adopted

Nahum

Rabbi

Avodah Zarah,
episode

boam), thev emanate from areas

Caesar")

orthodoxy. In the period of the Second Temple,

known, was
of Jesus.

symbols into the Temple inevitably led to a reac-

riotic

and a period

resulted.

of intense iconoclastic sentiment

Under the Romans,

symbols had a

whom

for

political significance, this

religious

was natu-

But,

it

is

not quite certain whether even

now

implementation of the traditional prejudice

the

was

as

sweeping and

believed.
"visages",

found

in

All

manner

as consistent as

of images

from the Greek

is

were

jto6oco7tov)

Jerusalem before

informed by a scholar of a

i.e.,

to

be

destruction in the

its

year 70, other than those of

generally

(Parsufin:

human

beings,

we

are

New Testament

at least far

There

from general

views

their

adopted. At a representative

officially

Temple Court

after the trium-

phant expulsion of the Romans

imposed on
as of

in

the year 66,

other Revolutionary legislation, a ban was


all

human

representations, of animals as well

beings, even for purely decorative

purposes, and anything of the sort within reach

was destroyed bv Governmental


the

attitude

reflected

in

who

writings of Josephus,

the

order.

orthodox

had been

one of the leaders of the Revolt.

That

this

development was

political, as

the people seems to have tolerated decorative re-

Roman

by

their Gentile neighbors

ded

they were not inten-

if

for religious veneration.

hated

Roman

rule

with

symbolism tightened

its

its

But, as the harsh,


all-pervasive

hold,

against images of every sort

more

made

the

so

iconic

objection

became more and

intense, political disloyalty finding incontro-

vertible justification in the


tion of the Biblical law. It

more

rigid interpreta-

was now

that

voung

Jews dared martyrdom, with the encouragement


of patriotic Rabbis,

eagle symbol

of

by pulling down the golden

Rome's majesty

Herod above the Temple Gate, and

up by

hitherto un-

disturbed. Public sentiment forced the

remove the Imperial images from

set

Romans

to

their standards

rule

much

became apparent not long

presentations of animals, such as were to be found

representations

is

at the outset

religious, in origin

human

This

strongly

the destruction of Jerusalem, at a period

emphatically resent

time

at the

reason to believe that the pat-

is

gathering in the

later generation (Jeru-

Herodian palaces. They presumably did not

not un-

if

salem Talmud Avodah Zarah 42c). The mass of

in the

Talmud

(Jerusalem

42b), but a famous

by

extremists ultimately succeeded in having

among

rally intensified.

Sinai

3rd century

the

suggests that such rigidity,

the Greek attempt to introduce pagan rites and

tion,

ben

in

(Matthew XXIII, 15-22: "Render unto

"Lion Seal" of one of the ministers of King Jeroof questionable

late

seemed

to

be

after

when

the

and permanently

finally

and the Pharisaic spokesmen were

established

some extent reconciled with

it.

as

Now

greater

to

lati-

tude again appeared in practice. The Mishnah


contains

elaborate

concerning

regulations

proper and very rigid attitude to adopt as

the
re-

gards pagan images. Nevertheless, even a leader

Judaism such as the Patriarch Rabbi Gama-

of

himself used

liel

human

signet

ring

engraved with

head, depicted the heavenly bodies for

demonstration purposes notwithstanding the spedisapproval, and did not refrain from

cific Biblical

frequenting public baths embellished by a quasireligious

as

pagan

statue.

an adornment

informed his

have

critics.

his statue

"The Aphrodite

is

intended

to the baths, not vice versa,"

he

Caius Caligula's attempt to

introduced into the synagogues of

before they marched into Jewish territory, and

the

(we

and profound, or even pathetic, opposition that

are told

by the Church Father Hippolytus)

the Zealots refused to pass under a


corated with statues,

lest

city gate de-

thev should be suspected

of venerating them, or even to handle a coin on

Empire

in

37 had encountered such universal

even the Imperial representatives hesitated to im-

plement
set

it.

But, in the third century, a royal statue

up without any malevolent

which a human form was depicted. (This was,

found

of course, equivalent to the imposition of a ban,

lars of

in a

synagogue

in

object

Nehardea

at

was

to

be

which scho-

the most extreme pietv such as "Rav" and

INTRODUCTION

21

Samuel did not hesitate

worship (Rosh Hasha-

to

nah 24b). This might perhaps have been a question of yielding to circumstances.

Kama 97b)

(B.

But the Talmud

imaginatively describes a fictitious

enbodying the likeness

of coin-medallions

series

of the patriarchs

22

and heroes

of the Bible, without

any suggestion of disapproval. At about

this pe-

Ill

we

This iconopathic interlude (as


it)

seems

have come to an end

to

venture to

in the sixth or

seventh century. This was due to two factors.

was the

iconoclastic

movement

Empire, which could not

was the

the other

affect the Jews;

and expansion

birth

of Islam,

Aramaic paraphrase of the Pentateuch

with

known

Targum Jonathan expressed the

were compelled bv force of logic to follow

as

outlook in

current

rendering of Leviticus, XXVI,

its

which prohibits

idols

and graven images: "A

1,

figu-

red stone ye shall not put on the ground to wor-

and

ship thereto, but a colonnade with pictures

may have

likenesses ye

in

not to worship thereto."

change

in attitude

and V)
as

we

so far as the places


this point there

details below, in chapters

owing

to a scribal error)

Rabbi Johanan they began

of

alls,

IV

Talmud

in the stan-

"In the days

paint on the

to

and he did not prevent them. In the days

Rabbi Abun they began

of

make

to

designs on

mosaics, and he did not prevent them."


If

representational art

nagogue

was admitted

in the fourth century,

home

some

for

some generations

it

the synagogues. Indeed,

embodied

opinions

we would imagine
have
ideal

happened.

in

out of touch with reality.


teachers

objected

the

to

The

the

to

against

course,

to interpret

nerally;

tion

parallel, for

it

The

result

was

lasted.

in certain respects paradoxical.

currently believed,

and with some reason,

that the aesthetic sense

was more widely deve-

It

is

among

loped

the

'Ashkenazim'. But

latter

that

In Spain, even

and

in this respect

than another minority. In France

and Germany, on the other hand, thev could suc-

cumb

to the attraction of the

fewer qualms
of the

Madonna

all

more

the

ship were not such as a

century

environment with

so since the "images"

or the Saints used in Catholic wor-

Jew

Eliakim

while remaining

to revere.

Though

in the

ben Joseph of Mainz

no

with pictures of lions and snakes from the syna-

than the

gogue, his younger colleague Ephraim ben Isaac

exist

arts

all

Jews

A more

satisfactory

of

Regensburg permitted the painting of

of animals

and birds on the

ben Moses of Vienna


approved
similar

burg did indeed

the

statutory

by new accretions did not prevent the

development of svnagogal hvmnology.

walls.

And

Isaac

though he himself

recalled that as a

he had frequented

of

figures

dis-

boy he had seen

embellishments in the place of worship

tions

services

the

ordered the removal of the stained glass windows

figurative

interruption

among

Moslem hegemony was broken, the Jews

after the

twelfth

concerns the actual organization of

the

was among the

it

representational art re-emerged.

worship, could be drawn from the fact that objecagainst

'Sephardim' than

some extent

gluttony prove that

at all times maintained.

continued as long as Moslem domina-

it

and influence

Jew might be tempted

synagogue demonstrate that perfect decorum

was

south of Europe, and the Mediterranean area ge-

iconoclastic

were abstemious, or the objections against talking


in

the

in the Orient,

fact that eminent

more demonstrates that they did not


objections

Of

the Talmudical literature

which the Rabbis voiced was

and

very well afford to show themselves less fervent

further.

clearly,

life,

example. Under Catholic rule, too, they could not

that nothing of the sort could

But,

Jewish

seems to have

we were

if

in

to the sv-

objected to pictures in

pietists vociferouslv

For a pro-

remained influenced by Arab propinquity

been barred from other public places and from


the

allow their neighbors to be more zealous in this


respect than they were themselves.

triumphed

that the

read in a passage of the Palestinian

text,

traditional

longed period, therefore, the iconoclastic tendency

(Avodah Zarah 41a: partly omitted


dard

the

for

leaders of the protest against image-worship to

the third and fourth centuries, when,

in

impossible

manifestly

is

suit.

would seem

It

came about

be more ample

will

profound iconoclastic tendency. The Jews

your synagogues, but

were concerned (on

of worship

It

One

Byzantine

in the

fail to

riod, the

its

call

(d.

at Meissen.

Meir of Rothen-

1293) object

to the

presence

of illuminations in the prayer-book, but only

on

the grounds that the worshipper's attention might

23

INTRODUCTION

21

thereby be distracted from his devotions. In the


twelfth century, the North French TosaphistS dis-

cussed and permitted even the representation of

human form

the

We

was incomplete.

the round, provided that

in

it

are specifically informed that

the Jews of England at this time used signet-rings

which bore

human

knew

Rashi, too,

likeness.

and did not apparently object

of,

to,

wall frescoes

such as the fight be-

illustrating Biblical scenes,

tween David and Goliath, with descriptive word(Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 149a).

ing below

On

the surface,

it

though he

certainly seems as

among

referring to a practice current

do Jews of his personal environment


France and the Rhineland.

The author

of the

is

the well-to-

North

in

Sepher Hassidim, or Book of

the Pious (par. 1625), categorically expressed his

disapproval of pictures of animate being in the

synagogue,
but

pietism,
tice

notoriously

standards

exacting

and

the

before

especially

work

this

twelfth

of

Torah-shrine;

most

the

reflected

German

century

language suggests that the prac-

his

was not unusual, even

so,

in

worship, and a fortiori in the home.

the place of

On

the other

hand, the scholars of the Spanish school consistently maintained an extreme attitude.

ha-Hinnukh, ascribed

to

century), emphasizes that


likenesses of a

The Sepher

Aaron of Barcelona
it

was forbidden

human being

to

13th

make

out of any material

even for ornament (XXXIX, 12). Moses Maimonides,

on the other hand, adopted an intermediate

position

(Mishneh Torah, HilkhotJi Avodat Ko-

khavim,

III,

10-11) forbidding only the

human

(not animal) form in the round, while permitting


it

in painting

and

tapestries.

In the post-medieval period, the Jewish attitude

towards

art

was

and from country


it

mav be

varying from age to age

fluid,

to country. Generally speaking,

said that in the

Moslem

countries a

strong feeling of opposition persisted, as will be

shown

in

Chapter IX of

this

work. As late as the

middle of the nineteenth century, the Rabbi of

Smyrna, Abraham Palagi, refused to admit to the

synagogue a portrait that had been sent by Moses


Montefiore. Yet even so,

1.

God

appears

Senior
Samuel
Amsterdam).

it

the

Infant

Texeira.

1717

to

remains impossible to

Samuel.

Gravestone ot
Cemetery,

(Oudekerk

INTRODUCTION

25

26

Europe

parts of northern

in the

seventeenth and

eighteenth centuries than in any other epoch in

Jewish historv before or

common,

after.

It

now became

not usual, in Ashkenazi communities

if

to

have figures

of

Moses and Aaron on the breastplates which

in relief

adorned the Torah

(i.e.,

three-dimensional)

the central object of

Scroll,

the synagogal ritual and a focus of adoration so


far as that

can be said of any synagogue appur-

tenance. (It

hardly worth while to mention less

is

remarkable instances, of which there are many).

At

decorations

time,

this

gogues began to include


least

Now

phardim

was

it

Moreover,

scenes.

mark the grave


(fig. 1

Detail

of engraved

of

frontispiece

Mishnat Shai. Artist

generalize, for richly illuminated

were executed

scripts

in Persia

of

God

in

Hebrew manu-

370/71 and color plate) In the European environ-

at

reliefs

one

in

shall see, the Se-

habitually adorned their

at

depicting Bible
erected

least,

Samuel Senior Texeira

this Biblical representation

to

1717

in

comprises what

can best be interpreted as a representation of the

Almighty Father appearing

was
Ten Commandments
as Jews have always interpreted them. The Hand
of God had indeed figured in the frescoes of
Dura Europos but this went very much further.
in utter

(See below pages

of

we

that, as

Amsterdam

in

tombstones with elaborate

unknown, Mantua 1742. Shows Ezekiel's Vision


the Valley of Dead Bones.

in

figures,

one case even inside the hallowed Torah-

shrine.

2.

some Polish syna-

in

human

to Samuel. This

contravention of the

ment, standards varied. In the Latin and Catholic


countries, the iconoclastic tradition

and

strong,

became stronger in
the Protestant world, and

in certain respects

the course of time. In


in Central

tended to be

Europe

generally,

it

was weak, human

representations being admitted even on ritual objects.

Western Europe

(e.g.,

Holland and England)

human

normally banned representations of the


likeness

on

ritual objects

mestically. In Italy,

synagogue

of the

we

but admitted them do-

how

are informed

at Ascoli,

removed

1569, rested on two roaring lions.

the Ark

to Pesaro in

On

the other

What

is

remarkable

not merely the fact that

is

the carving should have been made, but that

should apparently have escaped adverse

and should have remained


that assuredly could not

easy-going day.
sible to

By a

in situ,

happen

it

comment

an incident

in our

priori reasoning,

own more
is

it

pos-

interpret this figure as representing an

angel rather than the Deity. But this

is

not the

case in connection with the amazing frontispiece of


the very scholarly Biblical edition entitled Minhat
Shai, edited

by Solomon Jedidiah Norsa, which

appeared under devout auspices

Mantua

1742

in the

learned citv

hand, Rabbi David ibn Zimra (16th cent.) objected

of

even to a family crest embodying a lion over the

half a

Torah-shrine at Candia, then under Venetian rule.

kiel's

Rabbi Samuel Aboab of Venice (1610-94: Res-

miracle from above a cloud, at the summit of the

ponsa, 247) expressed his disapproval of illustrated

picture,

Ribles,
it

but only apparentlv because he considered

improper for the angels to be delineated accord-

ing to the inadequate


In

some

iconoclasm

human

imagination.

respects, the revulsion


in religious art

from extreme

went further

in certain

in

(fig.

2). This picture contains

dozen vignettes, one of which shows Eze-

Vision of the

Dead

Bones. Presiding over the

appears the bearded semblance of the

Heavenly Father. This same engraving

is

later

repeated twice, before the Prophets and before


the Hagiographa.
not only that

it

Once

again, the

amazing

fact

is

should have been executed, but that

no objections were apparentlv raised against

it.

INTRODUCTION

27

2S

Hence

the "images" in the churches.

home they perpetuated

at

aesthetic standards,

made

preciation

their

former

and domestic ap-

rapid progress under

their auspices. This could not fail to

have

influence on their neighbors,

its

and the Ashkenazim,


lowed

soon

too,

fol-

suit.

In the Italian ghettos, the Jewish

houses are said to have been decorat-

ed with frescoes representing

Leone Modena

scenes.

Biblical

1648)

(d.

in-

forms us in his Riti Ebraici that

Venice of
liberty of

are

dav "many take the

having pictures and images


houses,

their

in

his

especially

if

they

not in relief or embossed, nor

have the bodies

at full length." In the

early 18th century,


in

in

on

(Frankfort

J.J.

Schudt wrote

Merkwiirdigkeiten

Jiidische

his

Main

1714

17):

"There can be no question about Jews


allowing their portraits to be painted,
I

Camille Pissaro, Self-Portrait. Basle

3.

Museum

scale into the

to the synagogue,

admission on a more generous

home. Some of

was apparently due

to

this

development

traits

of their parents.

spend

lovers, thev

tures

the influence of the ex-

who had been

some

of their

rooms not only

Bible stories depicted on the walls, but also por-

IV

Art thus having been admitted


naturally found

myself having seen here in Frank-

fort in

and

Indeed, as keen picture-

a great deal of

money on

pic-

portraits."

Portraits

commissioned by Jews begin

to

appear

establishing their com-

here and there in the sixteenth century on three or

munities, especially in Western Europe, from the

four medallions of Italian origin. Curiously enough,

end

no painted or engraved Jewish portrait of quite

Marranos,

of the sixteenth century.

dox emerges.
acclimatized

Here a curious para-

These highlv-assimilated persons,


their

in

former

lives

to

European

aesthetic standards, maintained the strongest possible

ban

iconoclastic

mitigating

it

their

had been

Christianity,

image worship
in a

under the semblance


their

protest

the churches, and

in

against

especially

Protestant environment thev could hardly

afford to tolerate even an ornamental likeness of

the

human form

in

anything connected with their

religious worship. Yet, they

up

to this point that there

the paintings

ally,

so as to save

was common-place

the fact that the raison

and

had

was no

portraits

in

clearly realized
relation

between

their houses

and

known, though an

recommended

Italian

that a

man

should have his mother's likeness by him continu-

may

lie in

is

moralist of about 1600

theless,

d'etre of their lives hitherto,

of

synagogues while

same antiquity

an exceptional degree outside. The

in

reason for this

in

the

by the

him from temptation. Never-

close of the seventeenth century


in Central

and Western Euand Ashke-

rope, even for Rabbis, both Sephardi


nazi,

to

have

their

likenesses

it

painted and en-

graved, presumably for distribution

among

their

admirers. Thus, they obviously set an example to


their flocks to

do the same, and

gave a helping hand

to the

at the

same time

Jewish portrait-painters

who were now beginning to emerge. In one case


that of Eleazar Brody, when he became Rabbi in
(

Amsterdam

in

1735) a crude portrait-medal was

INTRODUCTION

29
even struck, though

this

30

aroused some

disapproval (see below, chapter VIII).

However, the eminent Haham Zevi


Ashkenazi refused to have his portrait

when he

painted,

1712, and the

in

London

visited

commissioned

artist

bv

his admirers to execute

sit

in

had

it

to

an adjoining room and sketch

him unawares.

What

most remarkable

is

Eastern Europe

perhaps

the reaction against the

ement
to

Judaism

in

as part of

Reform mov-

a revulsion seems

have taken place even

particular piety

as late as

some persons

the nineteenth century,


of

that in

is

now

refusing to

have their likeness taken by the new

method

of photography, the religious

objections

which must assuredlv

to

have been relatively

slight.

This fact

constant ebb and flow

illustrates the

Jewish attitude towards repre-

in the

sentational art, concerning

which one

can say only that generalization

4.

is

Josef

Israels,

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Self-Portrait.

impossible.*

ther than reinforced

The data assembled above have made

it

abun-

dantly clear that the conception of representa-

both domestic and synagogal pur-

tional art for

poses had

become

fully familiar in

Jewish

circles

long before the beginning of the age of Emancipation. Inevitably,

at

much

Jewish

artists also

the same time.

later stage of this

to

emerge

will find at a

work (chapter VIII) some

count of them, so far as this


cases,

began

The reader

is

possible. In

ac-

manv

no more than the names are preserved, and

perhaps Zoffanv)

saw the number

remembered outside

in

in

the Sephardi world but rather

the circle of the Court Jews and their associates

among

the Ashkenazim in Germany, Holland and

England
tation
*

may

few academic painters

began

to

of local repu-

emerge. These were weakened

ra-

remember

style of painting,

work

their dav,

increase,

artists

name now

a very limited circle, or artists

was

collectors.

we must

But

also the fate of the great

choice of subject, and indeed

as well as aesthetic

some

of

approach are

Nevertheless, in

them were considered eminent

and enjoved a very great reputation,


their technical

competence

as

indeed

fully justified. It

is

not

unlikely that in the course of the next generation


or so their style of painting
again,

executed

the

time after time in painting, engraving, medallion


and bust, a portrait even being prefixed to an edition of the
prayer-book produced under his auspices.

early nineteenth cen-

such

hopelesslv out of fashion.

period

be

that this

art

majority of their non-Jewish contemporaries whose

remarked that Solomon Hirschell, chief


Rabbi in England from 1802 to 1842, although of profound
orthodoxy in the pre-Emancipation sense, had his likeness
It

of

whose works are prized by

now

been expected

The

world of

in the

without however producing a single

period that rises above mediocritv. At the close


not as might have

the Jewish community

left

generally in their day.

tury

scale of

who

and made a considerable mark

there does not appear to be any instance at this

of the eighteenth century

by one or two persons (Mengs,

much as that of the


who have become

during the past few years.

names of

may be

appreciated

painters of the

Regencv

fashionable

England

If that

in

should happen,

Bendemann, Oppenheim and


Magnus, whose work is described below in the
Veit,

INTRODUCTION

31

chapter devoted to the Jewish Artists of the period


of Emancipation,

may perhaps

regain their former

32

may

extent

their production, nevertheless, be cha-

make

of the first rank

artists

and

their

appearance led bv Pissarro

(fig.

4). Then, in the twentieth century, a sudden

3)

(fig.

Israels

cannot concern
that

itself

ghettos storms the studios of Paris, with dazzling

art.

results.

tion the validity

noteworthy- There

is

ob-

is

dramatic value as well as logical

quence

in

se-

the traditional story that meticulous

it

Yet

have

it

may be

in

the sense

an

Spanish

or

or

itself

Israeli

observed that one might ques-

even of those

common

terms that

set

down;

for

artificial

unity,

based on geographical

been

just

French

or

Italian

lating

with Jewish Art,

volume

companion volume might concern

with

The phenomenon

is

artists ?

at the present stage. For, obviously, this

outpouring of genius from the Eastern European

what extent

to

These are questions that need not be answered

In the second half of the nineteenth century a

handful of Jewish

viously

And

racterized as "Jewish"?

proper to speak of them as "Jewish"

distinction.

only by postu-

is

it

and similar considerations, that one

able to re-

is

obedience to the literal interpretation of the Bible

gard the art of any country

long kept the Jews from

whole. French or English art does have an ob-

and that when the ban was


tage of

it

we have

manifestations,

all artistic

they took advan-

lifted

to the full, with prodigious results.

seen that the premise

incorrect, for

is

Jews did not eschew the visual

But

arts

even

in the

Middle Ages and the Ghetto period. Under the


circumstances

is

it

remarkable that so few did

embrace the career

fact

indeed explain

the

phenomenon

nineteenth

figure of

Social prejudice

that

until the

is

century

began on

pouring of

second half

hardly

single

artistic

is

to the

explain

its

was

opening of the gates of the Eastern

European ghetto, with

its

stronger inhibitions and

extraordinary store of pent-up

Pissaro, Israels,

Liebermann, Modigliani

genius
(fig.

5),

came from wholly different environments in


occidental lands. The problem is one to which no

all

solution readily suggests

the artistic career


sible for persons

had

to

itself,

same

except perhaps that

become economically

pos-

without social connections and

area, with the

same standards and under

On

the other hand, there

between Cimabue and

factor

between Fouquet and Cezanne, other

Titian, or

than the fact that they were born

What one
simply the sum
land.

persons,

is

however influenced, born or active

in

it

is

the

artistic

legitimate to include in the

category of "Jewish Art" the

artistic

production of

however influenced, professing the Jewish

religion, or of

Jewish stock.

Whatever mav be the

final conclusion,

of

bond between

the spiritual or psychological

them, the Jewish

artists,

generally speaking, reflect

faithfully the fashions of their countries

and

age,

ment

in

it

is

their

difficult to find

any

is

tions of the

or

numerous

extraction, wi h
is

little

no

superficial relationship

of course

whom

between the produc-

artists

this

of Jewish birth or

work

will

be concerned,

nious and indisputable. To what

dieir

work than can be designated

as

"Jewish." In everv case, the national feeling and

atmosphere are uppermost. The Anglo-Jewish


tists

of the nineteenth century

Victorian as

were

as

possible to distinguish

between the work

union

may perhaps be

Jewish

discerned

is

is

of the

trivialities

A bond

rites.

among

painters of the Paris school, but this

It

of a Jew-

and a Christian manuscript illuminator

as fidelity in depicting

ar-

profoundly

Max Liebermann was German.

Middle Ages onlv bv such inconclusive

the vast majority of cases

and

superficial ele-

commissions before Jews could afford to embrace

That there

one thing

must necessarily impress the student. Irrespective

ish

in

fact

in

of

of

without the possibility of executing ecclesiastical


it.

same

the

in

terms "English Art"

production

England, so that

persons,

phases, the

its

persons living in the

in

similar social conditions.

was no common

periods as a

all

vious homogeneity in certain of

homogeneity inevitable

a prodigal out-

Nor can one

abilitv.

the changed atmosphere by saving that this

with

more than mediocre importance emer-

ged, whereas afterwards there

due

may

that for fullv one

after the penetration

fairly large scale

of

some degree. But we must

this in

then explain the

hundred vears

(as they did for

of art

example that of medicine

in

in

of

the Jewish

due more

to

common physical background of the Eastern European ghetto, from which so manv of them emerthe

INTRODUCTION

33

5.

Amedeo

Modigliani,

Portrait

of

34

Chaim

Soutinc.

ged, than to the essential Jewish heritage, which

their authorship

they shared with their more tranquil occidental

term "Jewish" thus applies here

colleagues.

to object;

is

proposed then

artistic

achievements

to describe in this
in

everv

medium

volume the
of Jews

and

chapter

down

tistic

and buildings

to authorship

of specific Jewish ritual use,

whether

and

not intended to apply to the content.


Israel

is

devoted to pre-Israelite Canaanitish

which must necessarily have affected the

art,

together with objects

The

cannot be considered separately, a preliminary

persons of Jewish birth, from the earliest times


to the present dav,

or not.

Because the Jewish people and the land of

VI
It

it is

was provably Jewish

production of the early Israelites and

tegral to the past culture of Palestine.

is

arin-

INTRODUCTION

35

36

the student, than adornments for the synagogue.

The

which was almost

centralitv of cult-objects,

fundamental

and was thus respon-

to Christianity

for the finest artistic achievements

sible

Middle Ages, was hence absent

of the

Judaism. Jewish

in

gained in warmth what the synagogue

life

artistic

lost in

beauty.

VII

Recent investigations and

theories have sug-

gested that the place of "Jewish art" in art history

may be far greater


imply when taken

than the slender

the

gest

(fig.

synagogue frescoes

be described

6) (to

The discovery
at Dura

in themselves.

of the great series of

Europos

in

Chapter V) sug-

Christian

that

possibility

would

relics

ecclesiastical

on which medieval and eventually modern


European
ultimately depend may have de-

art

art

veloped out of an anterior synagogal


the

same way

as church

music

is

art, in

much

believed to have

developed out of that of the Temple and the JewObviously, the sparse instances

ish liturgical chant.

^Jt;^*** ~A$k
The Hind

(>.

of

God. Detail from

a fresco in the

Synagogue

from

of Dura-F.uropos. 4th century.

Ages and the subsequent centuries


manifest

in

reading these pages

VIII in particular).

It

it

will

become

(chapters VII-

must be admitted, never-

theless, that except, perhaps, in

cases,

Middle

variety of Jewish religious art in the

one or two isolated

does not bear comparison with the extra-

ordinary achievements of European religious art


in general of the period.

for
all

this.

Poverty,

There are many reasons

tension

and destruction must

be taken into account. But there

is

more fun-

this

period do not stand alone, and

we have

imagine that the Dura Europos ruins represent

to

The

have survived

of Jewish artistic productivity that

norm

not the exception, but the

of the place of

worship of a well-to-do Jewish community in that


environment.

It

has been pointed out that the

frescoed scenes necessarily present a continuous


story,

not a number of disjoined episodes, since

the intention

was

to illustrate

and emphasize the

moral teachings of the Biblical accounts. This style

which was carried over

into early Christian art,

has been described as an original Jewish contribution to pictorial art.

damental point. The synagogue was essentially a


place of intimate prayer;

it

was not a place

of

The collaborators on

assembly for a dramatic public function. Public

in their fields

worship among the Jews had as

different

its

focal point the

Scroll of the Pentateuch, not the altar at

the perpetual miracle of the

The

Scroll

which

Mass was performed.

demanded indeed meticulous penman-

are

this

drawn from

and have

countries

backgrounds. Each has been


subject in the

way

of interpretation. This has

ed

among the Christians with the conception


human salvation and the perpetual manifesta-

we

of

tion of the actual Divine presence, did not

impose

are

theses

and

will

all

many

as

experts

different

deal with his

that appeals to him.

appurtenances of public worship, not being asso-

to stand,

half a dozen

left to

will note considerable difference of

ship and received deferential treatment. But the

eiated as

volume

The reader

approach and

been deliberately allow-

be a perpetual reminder that

still

working a new

are

not yet sufficiently established.

field,

where the hypo-

The

Rabbis of old said that there were a hundred wavs


J

approach the study of the Torah.

not beside

such elaborate treatment. Scholarship, or charity,

to

was the highest form

the point to emphasize that the same applies to the

of service. It

was more meri-

torious to p ovide bread for the poor, or books for

studv of Jewish Art.

It is

Spring symbol,

detail of

mosaic floor

at

Beth Guvrin.

PART ONE: JEWISH ART

IN ANTIQUITY

ART BEFORE THE

PALESTINIAN

by

It

is

said that the history of origins

because

easiest to write

might well apply

A N

to the study of the first Palestin-

during a period which

we

reckoned

is

in

millenia,

cannot in our present state of knowledge

trace continuity of artistic evolution or attempt to


isolate

common

features.

we may

At most,

en-

deavor to determine the origin and degree of alien

Mesopotamian, Aegean and

influences, Egyptian,

Syrian,
art

which successively distinguish Palestinian

and give

for the

it

most

and predominantly so

part,

we
common

origin

them through the

links

study of Jewish and ancient

be disassociated from that of

and

in

at the

end

of the

sibilities

sparse

it

which found natural

population,

in caves

tine

did not then constitute a handicap to the

was not yet the corridor

was

closed

to

become

region

passing

shelter

throughout the mountainous zone. Pales-

it

second millenium, but a

protected

bv the deserts encom-

on the south and

we

Neolithic times that

country the

which

of invasion

in the

first

east.

It

not until

is

find in the south of the

traces of penetration from Africa

the

shared by

is

the works of art produced on Palestinian

decessors,

however,

so,

have only isolated works.

Nevertheless, a

bond

This was not

Stone Age. The country's slight agricultural pos-

essentially composite character;

its

remotest periods,

subtle

PERROT

always the

has no documents. This

works worthy of consideration are so few,

ian art;

that

it

is

CONQUEST

ISRAELITE

in

the

all

soil;

centuries.

Hebrew

art

cannot

Canaanite pre-

its

same way,

if

to

a lesser

degree, a knowledge of pre-Canaanite art must


necessarily contribute to a better understanding
of the art of historic times.

The rapid

trace here, has as


lestine
is

which

sketch,

it

is

our intention to

geographical framework Pa-

its

on both sides of the Jordan. In

all

periods

possible to isolate a zone south of the

it

Dead
7.

Sea on the fringe of the Arabian and African


deserts. All the civilizations

whereas

ditions

north more favorable con-

permitted a settled population

development
This

to the

is,

of

an agricultural

and the

civilization.

on the whole, a poor country, where the

conditions favorable to artistic achievement sel-

dom converged

throughout the historic period;

while the geographical situation on the frontiers


of the

Egyptian and Syro-Mesopotamian empires

frequently

made

it

head from cave of El-Wad.


Carmel, Natufi art.

which follow one an-

other in this semi-arid region are essentiallv pastoral,

Human

battle-field.

or contacts with
nia, the

it.

During the preceeding

timal conditions of

life

it

that Palestine

was

lization at

beginning.

its

op-

wheat, should not be


and

forgotten, grows wild here


a

mille-

men

country offered to Middle East

first

is

it

focus of the

These considerations compel us


study into two main parts. The

possible

new

civi-

to divide our

first

will

be de-

voted to the art of the late Stone Age beginning


with the Natufian

the oldest Palestinian art

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

43

44

great relief of palaeontologists faced with a fauna

which has long disappeared.

The Natufians

whose

of Palestine,

original cul-

bv recent

ture has been revealed for us chiefly

excavations

Wadi

"Natufian" being

from

derived

Natuf, in Western Judea, where the culture

was encountered

for

the

time

first

dwelt

in

the caves of Carmel and Judea. Like their palaeo-

they

predecessors,

lithic

lived

still

by hunting,

but their existence was already semi-sedentarv;


harvested

they

ground

it

winnowed

cereals,

in querns.

grain

and

Thev had tamed the dog and

perhaps other animals as well. The Natufians had


their cult of the dead, as testified

decorated

rous

found

skeletons

by the nume-

in

the

Carmel

they had a taste for self-adornment, as

caves,

proved by beads and pendants; and

tools

which

they decorated with carvings in high relief reveal

them

as highly skilled artists.

The cave of El- Wad (Carmel) has provided a


human head, carved rather than sculpted,

small

on a
high,
8.

it

wide

pebble

apart,

a light incision; the

whose

may be placed

in

the Christian era.

furrow which

neck

joining of the

head

to

the 6th or 7th millenium before

able material.

The

skull,

first

In the second part,

we

shall

lines

seem

centimeters

nose and large eyes

is

is

underlined by

marked with a

may have
a body made

manifestations

to us at present,

Some 4

7).
flat

whose contour

set

Wilderness of Judah. Natufi

art.

(fig.

shows a broad

Couple enlaced. Cave of Ain Sakhri,

cular

known

calcite

facilitated

of

some

cir-

the

perish-

on which several oblique

to represent hair,

is

capacious, with

review briefly the art of the successive phases of

Age down

the Bronze

to the Phoenician art of

the thirteenth or twelfth centuries B.C.E.,

when

the invasion of the maritime peoples on the one

hand, and the Israelite conquest on the other, put


an end to the history of Canaanite Palestine.

II

Art does
till

not

make

its

appearance

Palestine

the Natufian phase of the Mesolithic period.

No work

of art

same period
flowering.

in

accompanied the Palestinian

Upper

dustries of the

cave

The engravings which

in the desert of

procession

in-

Palaeolithic, although the

Europe evinced an unusual


it

could be detected on the walls of

tic

in

artistic

was thought

Umm

Qatafa

Judea, representing a fantas-

elephants, hippopotami and horn-

ed rhinoceri, have not satisfied specialists, to the

9.

Bone necklace. Cave of El-Wad, Carmel. Natufi

art.

PALESTINIAN ART BEFORE THE ISRAELITE CONQUEST

45

Crouching gazelle,

10.

ogival

and

vault,

pretty well with the

Of

Um

Cave of

form corresponds

general

in

stone.

human remains

of the period.

greater interest from an ethnographic rather

than from an

artistic

point of view

is

a curious sta-

tuette representing an enlaced couple in a seated

from the cave of Ain Sakhri,

position, deriving

Wadi
and

The

Khareitoon.

statuette

is

in

10 cm. high,

consists of calcite, slightly diaphanous, cov-

ered by an amber patina.

The man and woman

are holding each other breast to breast, his hands

ez-Zuweitina, Wilderness of Judah.

the waist, which

hands show no

may be

city

head

and

details,

intentional.

measure nearlv a

should

artist

between the
analogy

in

general simpli-

The man's trunk and


centimeter more than

those of the woman's, and

the

this

The

8).

(fig.

is

it

interesting that

have noticed

this

difference

sexes. This statuette has

no precise

European

palaeolithic art, but

is

cer-

connected with the European tradition of

tainly

figurines

and

idols

symbolizing

and technique approximate


gnacian

statuette

of

fertility.

style

Its

to that of the Auri-

Sireuil

and,

according

to

H. Breuil, Solutrean stone sculptures at Solutre


in

France.

tion

With

may be
found

tuette

very schematic
height

ment

is

the

same

associated
at

Shaar

human

palaeolithic
slightlv

Hagolan.

figurine onlv

tradi-

later

This

65

sta-

small

mm.

in

characterized by considerable develop-

of the buttocks, while the trunk ends

above

line,

an exact replica of a Late Magdalenian

rine

is

rine

from Mauern

in Bavaria,

figu-

and of another, pro-

bably of the Grimaldian epoch, found in Tuscanv.

These representations are

also related to the sche-

matic images of Petersfels

in the

Jura and to the

curious late palaeolithic stvlizations of Mezine in

The lumbar

hardly indicated

indicated by an incised

is

with a median furrow to show the legs. This figu-

the

is

art.

merely a rough cylindroconical peg

is

which seems

regions of both are strongly arched,

Natufi

without any sign of the head and arms. The

lower part

on her shoulders, her legs resting on his thighs.

and the neck

46

Ukraine.

repeat

All

same symbolism,

the

have been common

to

to the entire

European palaeolithic world. Although signposts


are lacking

between the plain

and

Russia

of

Palestine, the possibility of a relationship should

not be discounted. This would be further con-

firmed by the resemblance to be observed bet-

ween another fragmentary


Hagolan,

figurine

found

at

Shaar

woman's bodv whose modelling

is

not ungraceful, and an Aurignacian figurine from

Linsenberg

in

the Rhineland, a

presence of bilobate pendants

Wad

have been reported

piece of Natufian art

animal statuette
in

from

length,

is

gazelle,

neck outstretched

are flexed

and

fine,

The master-

unquestionably a small

cave

Judean

the

10).

head unfortunately,

short

9).

grey limestone, 15 centimeters

in

(fig.

slender,

those of El-

(fig.

Zuweitina
its

where the

site

like

It

is

of

represents
as

broken.

if

Um

ez-

crouching

to drink; the

The

legs,

under the body, the

verv
tail

is

while a light relief separating the

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

47

it

48

attained a purety of line and a balance of mas-

which

ses

mark

the

is

of all naturalistic art at

its

apogee.

The

Natufian

of the

interest

forms found further expression


in

high

at

El Wad,

Kabarah, and

Wad

from El

(fig.

it

is

movement

as

Wadi

Fallah. That
its

to suckle, in a grace-

if

more remarkable because

the

all

animal

represents a fawn,

11)

head drawn backward


ful

in

the decoration

reaping-hook hafts found

relief of several

at

artist

in

imposed on the sculptor by the shape of the

The bodv and head

epiphysis.

worked

in

high

the end of the bone,

at

relief

of the animal are

while the feet stretch along the stock. They are

marked

at

parallel

incisions

much

skin

the

as

doubtless

as

felicity

of

adapt
of gazelle (Reaping-hook haft), bone.
Cave of El-Wad, Carmel. Natufi art.

ence in the color of the


can

still

quarters.

cuted,

hair.

out on

differ-

Traces of red paint


the

bellv

and hind

Quiet and graceful, and perfectly exe-

this

witness

made

be

to

work,
the

despite

Natufian

its

bears

mutilation,

sculptor's

love

of

full

forms and beautiful shapes; without losing the


feeling of life
lification

and movement, bv

intelligent simp-

and the elimination of the accidental.

12.

Reaping-hook

hafts,

of

artists

this

Natufian Palestine understood

figure

at the

to

material.

end

of

head with prominent


les

(fig.

12)

of

folds

With the same

its

period,

how

to

complete reaping-

with a groove for the insertion of

shows
back from the belly appears to indicate a

the European

d'Azil.

hook from Kabarah, 32 centimeters

Head

11.

indicating

on the figure of a wild goat of

Magdalenian IV from Mas

those

and breast by

shoulder

knee,

in

length,

flint

blades,

grip a charming deer's

eves.

These decorated

may be compared

sick-

with the more

recent and less beautiful examples found in the

lower
plateau.

levels

Thev

of

Tepe

human

figure.

on

are decorated in the

with animal motifs and,

Sialk

in

the

same fashion

one instance, with

This relationship

is

of

Sialk

bone. Cave of El-Kabarah. Natufi

with those of

art.

emphasized bv

comparison of the bone-remains of the

inhabitants

Iranian

earliest

Bvblos

and

PALESTINIAN ART BEFORE THE ISRAELITE CONQUEST

49

Fawn. Rock-carving

13.

Megiddo who belong

at

Kilwa.

an ethnic group show-

to

man

ing sufficient affinity with Natufian


port the assumption that there

While not venturing on

was

to sup-

the immediate origins of Natufian art and cul-

we may

ture,

say

apparently

that

there

may

have been contacts between the Middle East and

European

the

fairly late.

We

Upper

encounter

survived

Palaeolithic
it

still

vigorous in the

art.

Some

scholars

of Kilwa

in

attribute

rock

the

engravings

the southern Transjordanian desert

to Natufian art

(fig.

encounters

ever,

first artists

Middle East.

of the

how-

13). This suggestion,

considerable

and

archaeological, aesthetic

an

of

difficulties

cultural character.

These engravings were discovered

the northern regions, where the artistic tradition


of

Neolithic

with some animal motif. They were the

racial affinity-

conclusion on

a hastv

Transjordan.

50

in

1932 on

the standstone rocks of Jebel Tubaik, a mount-

ainous massif of

S.

Transjordania, at the cross

Mesolithic age in the Baltic lands, on a horizon

roads of the natural routes leading from Palestine

chronologically not very remote from that of the

to

Palestinian Natufian.

membered

Palestine

tory,

the

It

should above

that as far back as

ancient

we

all

can go

be

were,

industries

towards Lower Mesopotamia.

The

in his-

appears linked to Eurasia,


Palestinian

re-

and
in

Hedjaz and Arabia and from the Gulf of Aqaba

than to those of the Nile." This remote depend-

rarely.

ance of Natufian art does not deprive

is

of

its

originality,

for

the

Carmel understood how

sculptors
to

of

anv

Mount

renew the ancient

formulae and to apply the old decorative subjects


to

new

basalt

types of tools such as reaping-hooks or


pestles;

which were

also

often

adorned

generally

animals are also seen.

The animals

are

shown

Men

appear only

life-size (the

2 meters 35 long). The technique used

of a

wild

represent

but a bovid, a dromedarv, a hare, and

goats,

other

of

engravings, of which only a few

occupy us here,

will

Neuville's words, "nearer to those of la Vezere

it

oldest

broad deeply cut

not allow for


surface,

much

line,

bovid
is

which obviously did

refinement of drawing:

framed by the

that

lines,

is

the

never worked.

These engravings are often clumsy and schematic,

but

in

some

cases the accuracy of the outlines

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

51

testifies to

and a sure sense of

careful observation

form and movement. The very coarseness of the


line vibrating in the

imbues these images

light

One

been caught

fine beast has

at full gallop,

his nose to the wind, his long horns descending

behind,

gracefullv

gathered under

forelegs

his

by arrows,

his outstretched neck. Others, pierced

two regions belonged

that the inhabitants of the

same ethnic group, the

to the

would remain

fact

that their arts are quite different from one an-

While the Natufian

other.

with a surprising animation.

52

who prolonged

artist

and renewed the European Palaeolithic

was primarily a

sculptor, the

Kilwa

tradition

artist

was an

engraver whose source of inspiration and models

have

be sought

to

in quite a different direction,

on

have halted motionless, already seized by death.

namely, southward

One, coughing out

Lybia, of Fezzan, the Saharan Atlas and as far as

prototype

his

life-blood,

almost

is

wounded animals which

the

of

the

Morocco.

It

is

from

Assyrian sculptors were later to represent with

art that

such forcefulness. Only hunters, by daily experi-

their

ence which enabled them to accumulate power-

and even some of

and dynamic

ful

visual impressions, could possess

We

such familiarity with animal forms.

world

hunter's

true

in

animals,

mating beasts. This

is

with

marks

bearing

figures

arrow-pierced

bovid.

and

huntsman's magic. These

are rites to ensure the success of hunting-parties,


a

magic

the

for reproduction,

game multiply and

should be enough to

Some

that

vital

is

that

there

abundance.

seem

be wearing a

it

procreate,

kill in

of the goats

bles, or to

since

to

sort of halter,

and may

be domestic animals or animals recently caught


to increase the live-stock.

engravings,

At

are perhaps of a later period,

work
of

of the

first

prehistoric

some

least

of these

which are somewhat cruder and

may be

the

for

man

technique,

their

figures,

life-size

There are ob-

their themes.

with raised arms before a tethered

This man, whether suppliant or hunter,

whom we

find a

later

little

engraved pavement

Palestine on an

in

Megiddo, proves with the

at

other Kilwa engravings the artistic and cultural

which existed between south Palestine

relations

and the African world


lithic

be dragging hob-

rock

vious African parallels to a scene at Kilwa show-

ing a

blows,

this far-flung school of

the Transjordanian engravers borrowed

taste

are here

of

the sandstone rocks of

and

at the

at the close of the

dawn

Meso-

of the Neolithic age.

The

hammered
Aqaba and the Negev

engravings of Kilwa and those with


surfaces in the region of
are to be
ian

compared with the predynastic Egypt-

rock drawings,

tinuity

and

and confirm both the con-

intensification of relations established

during the fourth millenium.

pastoral people. But the tendency

artists

to

portray animals at the


Ill

height of their physical development should not

be forgotten, and what


hobbles

may

pictured

in this

been related

in

in

as

we have

described

time in

full

Byblos to Ascalon, inland in the mountains of

mentioned above

Galilee

comparison

is

for this as a mode


common even todav among

to Natufian art

The

in-

primarily ethnograof coitus

is

not un-

the Bedouin of Israel

and Samaria and

the population

the

domestication

secured

new

of

leisure,

ress,

neously with the

The

material

first

Even

if

it

were

to

be established

transformed

made

was linked with

progress

broader basis, and the

but

in

the

rapid prog-

industrial specialization. This

same symbolism and the same

cult,

and increased

and weaving and pottery appeared simulta-

modification

fertilitv

animals

technology

Kilwa and Judean representations arise from the

they are not enough to prove the existence of a

settled

Jordan Valley,

economv.
The control of these means of existence
J

pared to the modern schematic engravings recently


discovered on the rocks of the Central Negev.

became

in the

proportion as the development of agriculture and

and Jordan and the Kilwa engravings may be com-

link.

this

way. The Kilwa engravings have

phical;

cultural

at

Neolithic evolution. Along the entire coast from

particular to the statuette at Ain Sakhri,

of this

Northern Palestine was

be traps which are often

fact

described above, of an enlaced couple.


terest

as

of

society,
first

now

profound

organized

villages

on

were founded.

These changes took place slowly, perhaps under

the

influence

of

the

north

Mesopotamia!!

PALESTINIAN ART BEFORE THE ISRAELITE CONQUEST

53
regions,

which were richer

sources

and

achieved

therefore

progress. But

agricultural

in

the

54

re-

speediest

break with the past

in Palestine a

cannot be recorded. The figurines of Shaar Hagolan described

above evidence the survival

in the

Neolithic period of certain religious and aesthetic

conceptions of the preceding epoch.

On

the other hand, the cultural evolution was

conditioned by physical conditions, whose diversity

resulted in a well-marked cultural particu-

While the population of the Judean

larism.

led

hills

an existence not essentially different from that of


Mesolithic predecessors, in the Jordan Valley,

its

the brilliant Jericho culture, the most original of


the Palestinian Neolithic cultures,

and gave testimony

to

new

was

religious

flowering,

and aesthetic

conceptions. These found their expression in those


astonishing clav statues, discovered in the lower
levels of the

among

mound, whose remains must be placed

the

chief

Middle East.

works of ancient

strange

head

flat

the

in

art

14), evi-

(fig.

Head

14.

dently only meant to be seen from the


of nearly natural size,

at

Jericho.

art.

served as supports on which the outlines of faces

of sea-shells inserted in the clay, are set

were modelled, the eyes being encrusted with

face

is

The

These decorated

chin

is

shells.

the cheek-bones are projecting, the nose

is

related, as Miss K.

and

small

The

up-turned.

pouted, fine and thin.


in

Found

clay.

idol,

Neolithic

measuring 20 centimeters

very low under prominent brows.


flat,

of an

is

a rounded oval, the eyes,

The

in height.

made

front,

mouth

is

Stiff straight hair,

dark brown-red, escapes and

falls to

slightly

skulls

may

M. Kenyon

feasibly

be

suggests, to an-

cestor worship.

painted
the eye-

IV
brows from below a

sort of cap, indicated

the forehead by a light pad.

The beard

is

above
repre-

sented in the same fashion, bv lines radiating

around the
of

artist

aimed

portraying
in

divinitv,

any event he suc-

made

progress was

of a

new economic

out great changes

somewhat mysterious and solemn image

kindled

now

in

one
on

gether;

sented a

which continued with-

the end of the third mil-

hearts

of

civilization

Mesopotamia and Egypt; but

Palestine,

leg slightlv flexed

modelled

full-

their reflections. If Neolithic particularism

reed framework,

whose fragments

largest

skill

of a

woman and

they display. This statue

group of three found

to-

which may have repre-

child, only

to blur, the

levels at Jericho suggest

in

an analogous

aesthetic approach, but here the skulls themselves

fundamental

cultural duality

and

the north and south persisted

ed by the emergence

in the

original culture, that of

fragments remain.

Seven decorated crania recently discovered

were

remote from these centers, knew only

to a

of the smallest,

same

The discovery

The head belonged

surprised us by the

was the

era,

till

great

and

Palestine.

in

new

and growing use of metal marked the opening

Two

figure

the

half of the fourth millenium,

lenium.

in spiritualizing his vision

not lacking in grandeur.

body

at

this

the second

in leaving

ceeded
a

Jericho

We

know whether

do not

been suggested, but

as has

us

face.

In

Its origins

are

still

is

began

between

well illustrat-

southern areas of an

Beer Sheba and Ghassoul.

unknown;

it

is

possible that

they are to be found in the marginal area of the


south Transjordanian plateau,
to

be known

as

in

Edom and Moab.

the country later

At any

rate, the

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

55

56

Beer Sheba were able to carve large

of

thin-

walled bowls decorated with lines and incised

chevrons and delicate cups with hollow feet and


four openings.

The northern and

now

inhabited,

eastern Negev, hitherto un-

experiences a phase of fixed set-

Side-bv-side with stock-raising, agricul-

tlement.

ture developed in the vallevs wherever the

meager

water supplies allowed. Surprising underground

hollowed

villages

the loess and alluvial soils

in

afforded the settlers effective shelter against the

extremes of the climate.

From

these dark dens

have emerged the remains of a

and genuine
a

taste

bone,

These remote inhabitants had

art.

adornment, which manifested

for

pendants

in

brilliant culture

and ivorv

and

turquoise

mother-of-pearl,

of

stone

itself

copper

bracelets,

rings,

necklaces and palettes for cosmetics. That thev

loved beautiful shapes

is

revealed by their often

elegant stone and earthenware crockery.


all,

Above

they possessed a deep aesthetic feeling, as

shown by the extraordinary

ivorv statuettes found

at As-Safadi.

One

of

height

tions.

in

a sort of narrow loin-cloth

which

predynastic Egyptian representa-

certain

The work, however,


and the

particular care,

shows a pronouncedly

Egyptian neither

is

The head

nor execution.

in detail

centimeters

15), represents a naked male hold-

him

ing before
recalls

measuring 33

these,

(fig.

flat

is

which

skull,

treated with
is

very short,

occiput perhaps cor-

responding to some aesthetic canon or technical


need, but harmonizing with skeletal remains that

have been found. The head


It.

Ivory

figurine.

Museum

newcomers

Beer

of Antiquities.

for

culture in Palestine
intrusion

As-Safach

the

Sheba

culture.

appearance of the

new

seemed linked with an ethnic

maintained close commercial

rela-

by an emigration from those

parts.

The very

highly developed copper industry of Beer Sheba

could hardly have originated except south-east of

Dead Sea

in the neighborhood of the rich

copper-sites in the

Wadi

Feinan, which were to

be subsequently exploited throughout the historic


period.

provided

The
als.

Transjordanian

hollow and

re-

of the

statuettes

from Negada, but the hollow mav have

Jerusalem.

tions with southern Transjordania, best explained

the

is

cup-mark on the head of some

minds us

plateau

probably

the basalt in which the craftsmen

contained the knot of the wig which the statuette

wore,

whilst

beard

the

would have been made

surrounding
of strands of

sing through holes in the chin

eyes were
ly

the pupils.

minent.

with

ears

circular swelling.
this detail,

mean

wool pas-

and cheeks. The

mother-of-pearl

The nose

The

are

is

representing

long, straight

marked by

The mouth

it

and pro-

a perforated

not rendered, and

coupled with the man's nudity,

that this

his god, rather

face

with black material and original-

filled

encrusted

the

is

may

the portrait of a devotee before

than the representative of a god

PALESTINIAN ART BEFORE THE ISRAELITE CONQUEST

57

woman, whose arms

ing this

akin

object

58

mak-

are not represented,

schematic figurines

the

to

of predynastic Egypt.

Here, however, style and

execution

for

also

differ,

the

face

highly

is

elongated oval, the nose very long, and one of


the eyes preserves encrustation;

mouth was not

the

The

hole represents the ears.

perforated

necklace,

for

have been

could

an

of

figure

that
of

site

pelican

simple

front

some

was

figure

this

sort.

decorated with

is

(fig.

appears that

figure's

so

amulet

bone pin from the same


the

it

while

indicated,

17),

and

lively

vigorous in stvle despite the small dimensions of


the

object

analogies

cm.

(4

not

are

Here again, Egyptian

5).

absent,

though thev seldom

same qualitv and the same

possess the

aesthetic

sense of proportion.

Much

rougher work

is

an ivory hippopotamus'

The

head, meant to be attached to a support.

and

eyes

incisors

nostrils

are

indicated.

Hippopotamus

as well as elephant tusks furnished the

Beer Sheba ivory workers with their raw mathey could have seen the former animal

terial;

swamps of the coastal plain where it was


to be found down to the last centuries before
the Christian era, while the elephant, who may
then have lived in the Jordan Vallev, was still
in the

abundant

The

in

Svria long after.

affinities

of the Beer

Sheba culture with

those of predvnastic Egypt


are probablv to be explai-

ned by the

Head

16.

of

Beer

figurine.

Ivory.

As-Safacli,

earlier penetra-

African

tion

of

into

southern Transjordan

influence

alluded to above

in

refe-

Sheba culture.

rence to the Kilwa engravitself.

The arms emerge from

body, the

artist

long

slender

having extended his observation

The

to the detail of the ribs.

figures are flexed,

the hands long and slender and held forward to

support the loin-cloth.

The

which are very

legs,

and delicately

long, are apart, the feet are short

treated, while the thigh, set very high, projects

backward

in

way which

satisfies

the eve, im-

parting an equilibrium and sense of

which

rids

the

figure

character. This statuette


figurine

broken

at

the

of
is

some

of

not alone.

waist

(fig.

movement
hieratic

its

pendant-

16)

shows

But

ings.

it is still

to define the

too earlv

mechanism

of

the formation of the culture.

It

otherwise with

is

those elements of the culture


a

which

invite search in

direction

Egypt,
larly

than

being particu-

this

the

other

case

with

the

painted and engraved pebbles, linked


lithic

with the Neo-

examples from Shaar

Pi nhead

rna i:cnL
'

l
,
A u
Bone, from Abu-Matar.
Beer Sheba culture.
'

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

59

Star-design on wall of dwelling-house at Tullat-at-Ghassoul. Beginning of fourth millenium B.C.E.

18.

Hagolan and farther

afield.

schematic

small

man

figurine in grev stone, representing a

on

seated

with his knees on the ground and

his heels

with flexed thighs, recalls the Aegean world. Finally,

seems than

it

60

some

in

of

its

aspects, this

again, also on an elevation, legs slightly smaller

than the preceding, also followed by a yellow

To

blob.

the rear, but this time on the ground,

appears a series of feet

We

preceding.

much

smaller than the

have here, according to the ex-

southern culture was not uninfluenced by Meso-

cavator, the picture of a princely family with the

potamia.

children standing behind, while in front a small

Contemporary

with

Beer

50

repre-

all,

large painted com-

people,

One

animals,

in length,

and

birds,

of these paintings

geometric

measuring 4 m.

unfortunately survives only in part in

bad condition.

series of colored spots

be distinguished inside

a vellow

which can

frame has been

interpreted as representing successively red

and

yellow rays, and then the feet of several per-

Two,

sons.

ed

in

twice

in

the center, of large size, are paint-

brown-red. Their contour has been drawn


over,

then streaked

with slanting white

on a
the

naked brown person, preserved

The

rays

solar disk or to a

star.

sort of

ground

shapeless

brown
line.

yellow

lines.

down

to

the

ankles

These feet are resting

elevation, very distinct over

Then, on the right comes a


blob,

probablv

chair,

then

a servant.

is

adorning individual houses and repre-

positions

motifs.

and

same southern culture Ghassoul has

senting the

preserved for us, above

senting

Sheba

Another painting
represents

and

diameter

would have belonged

large

(fig.

with

star

18).

be monsters

five

less

Around

motifs, hard to identify,


to

to a

at Ghassoul, better preserved,

measuring not

black,

breastlevel,

to

it

rays

red

of

than lm. 84 in

appear various

which have been thought

and mythological

beasts.

The

large star appears like other motifs encountered

Ghassoul to embody aesthetic interests ana-

at

logous to those of the Beer Sheba sculptors.


is

the

same

beyond realism

From

It

taste for abstract expression carried


to the point of

technical point

of

being geometric.

view, the

Ghassoul

paintings are less isolated since the discovery of


the

Mesopotamian

Gawra and

mural

of the later

paintings

(Protoliterate)

of

Tepe

examples

PALESTINIAN ART BEFORE THE ISRAELITE CONQUEST

61

at the

temple of Tell Uqair. The techniques,

if

may be

tine.

fruitful

and boldness, and

ginality

to determine,

connections.

presentations, have prototypes in the animal-heads

period in Pales-

with triangle on forehead from the Diyala and

features are of astonishing ori-

artistic

Its

that

said of the southern culture

marks a particularly

it

it

These, though recalling the white triangle on the

forehead of the Egyptian Apis bull in later re-

not the themes, are comparable.


It

be interesting

will

when it becomes possible, its ethnic


The northern area has nothing com-

parable to offer in this period, although

its

mate-

Middle Tigris regions. The eye

centric arcs) on the heads

from Jericho and Beth

the lyres of the royal tombs at Ur. In Palestine,

Age is characterized too by the


new ceramic technique (Khirbet

the Early Bronze

we

already find the image of what Palestine was

intrusion

of a

Kerak ware) whose

in the third millenium.

executed in the

Yerah, and on the copper examples that adorn

progress follows a parallel course, and there

become

is

same manner (encrusted and surmounted by con-

rial

to

62

and red products,

fine black

and

carefully polished, are well-known in Syria


as far as Anatolia, where,

The transition

Age took place

the Bronze

to

:nium

finds

may

unknown

reveal

to us

and new

re-

but at present the onlv

it,

which can hold our attention are cylinder-

stamped
a

virtually

is

searches

some engravings

jars,

few objects

bone and

of

The cylinder-stamps and

at

Megiddo and

seals

found

at

Megiddo,

Beth Yerah and other

Jericho,

sites of

northern Palestine comprise, like the well-

known examples from

Byblos,

floral

or

animal

motifs and four-legged beasts in continuous friezes


or animal-heads in irregular order.

These belong

group of Egyptian and Mesopotamian

to a

whose center

of

diffusion

affinity

seems to have been

It

we

is

also to

it,

an influence from the north that

must attribute two small ivory bulls' heads,

route

tery

is

evidenced by Palestinian pot-

the tombs of the Pharaohs of the

in

dynasties and even in

schist

from

palette

Jericho and objects of attire such as the hippopo-

tamus-head
sawir,

in

may be

cornelian from the

tomb

of As-

considered as resulting from trade

contacts with Egvpt.

The

alabaster cups of the

Ai sanctuary, identical with those of the tombs


of the

second and third dynasties, are another

example of these imports.

curious zoomorphic

vase imitates a pig whose legs are bound to


cords, as

for sacrifice.

sanctuary

is

if

its

the animal were prepared

fine object also coining

from the Ai

an ivory knife-handle of very

workmanship decorated by small incised

and Beth Yerah,

perhaps intended to receive an encrustation.

second half of

first

some proto-dynastic tombs.

nearly identical, discovered respectively at Jericho


in levels of the

of

nevertheless, established direct trade relations

with Egypt, as

body by

southern Syria.

principal

commercial exchanges between Syria and Egypt,

In Palestine, a rectangular

ivory.

Fr.rah,

Et-Tell,

was not the

Palestine

If

true that Palestinian art of the third mil-

seems, their origin

must be sought.

without apparent upheavals.


It is

it

fine

triangles

Technically these objects

In the deep levels at Megiddo, potsherds have

are less surprising since the discovery of the Beer

been found bearing representations of persons or

the

third

Sheba

millenium.

ivories,

among which we have noted

hippopotamus' head attached with the help

two

lateral perforations at the

to a

bodv

The

Jericho and

Beth Yerah heads show similar arrangements

as important

(it

of

base of the neck

of different material.

attachment. But,

for

we do not have to regard them


may in fact be imagined that

if

animals incised with a

comparable
in

flint

point in a naive style

to that of the predynastic engravers

Egypt. These African analogies recur at Me-

giddo

in the

engravings on the pavements forming

the floor of a building at level XIX.

One

of these

engravings represents a giraffe; the animal's bodv


is

covered with hatching, doubtless to express his

Another

the tradition of the ivory-sculptors did not dis-

coat, as in the African rock engravings.

appear with the Beer Sheba culture), they never-

engraving represents a bull with long hatched

indisputably to foreign influence.

horns, also of African type, but the drawing has

theless

testifv

new

Both actually have a triangle cut on their fore-

heads certainly designed

separate

to take

an encrustation.

interest in the treatment of the

masses,

much

as

in

anatomy

certain

in

Egyptian

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

63

proto-dvnastic representations influenced by Meso-

potamian

of the animal's fore-

withdrawn against the body,

foot,
istic

The drawing

art.

of this style too.

man walking

character-

is

third engraving shows

with raised arms; a

to the right

cord hung from his neck holds an amulet, and

he wears a broad oblique striped


attitude,
is

well-known on the rocks of North Africa,

Megiddo

It

difficult

is

it

many stringed
the man holds

to

in the other;

bow

see a

this

same period. The Shihan

man

jection

(now

stele

in

with naked torso, the loins girded

From

style.

a pro-

on the helmet hangs an appendage which

passes behind his shoulder and ends in a

The man

brandishing

is

whose point

in

him stands an animal, considered bv some


a lion

coil.

both hands a spear

turned towards the ground. Near

is

and by others a

bird.

The

to

be

general shape

of the stele, the position of the figure, the

head

in profile, the

shoulder and chest seen frontallv,

and the

again

legs

Egyptian

in

profile,

Pyramid age. Such dating


its

difficulties, for

additional
is

lel

object

it

certainly

contemporary

influence

is

makes

it

show

with

the

not entirely without

hard to explain the

from the helmet. This

falling

which we know no paral-

a Hittite attribute of

older than that of the Guardian at the roval

gate of Boghaz Keuy,


also not dissimilar.
as late as the

whose general stance

is

date for the Shihan stele

end of the Bronze Age

is

not there-

fore to be wholly excluded.

of the third

upheaval, Beth Yerah,

Ai and Jericho being destroyed. At this time, the

Amorite nomads of the Syrian desert began to


invade the neighboring
settled.

This n

in Palestine

whi

its

pottery testifies

as caliciform.

Egypt

of the 12th dynastry,

recovered and reestablished

by binding the kinglets

influence in Asia;

its

Palestine and

of

Syria

with a system of alliances and friendships, thev


reinforced

Asiatic

their

simultaneously

frontier,

own communications with

the lands
materials,

such as timber. The monuments of Ugarit and

the degree of Egyptian influence on the artists

and craftsmen

The

of the Syrian coast.

princely tombs of the Phoenician

royal and

contain

city

exquisite works of art, royal sphinxes, weapons,


jewels,

and scarabs inscribed with the names

Pharaoh,

most

of

which were

Egypt, but whose presence stimulated local

and

especially the goldsmiths

ists,

of

from

imported

jewellers,

art-

who

copied foreign motifs solely for their decorative

without paving attention

value,

their

to

signi-

ficance.

The

revival of Egyptian

duration; divided

by dvnastic

power was
rivalries,

of brief

Egypt was

soon too weak to maintain her imperial power


over the Asiatic
elements,

provinces,

where

Hurrian and Indo-Arvan,

From

appearance.

new ethnic
made their

the second half of the

18th

century Syria and Palestine were particularly

dependent and slowlv developed

their

and military power. Even before the end


18th century, the

first

of the

Semites, forerunners of the

Hvksos, crossed from Palestine to Egvpt. This


the age of the Patriarchs and at this time
set

Jacob's

migration

in-

economies

is

mav be

within the framework of

The

latter,

bearers of

armament and mounted on

swift cha-

rolled in successive

waves across Palestine

and conquered Egvpt. In the 17th centurv, Pales-

millenium Palestine seems

in a state of

known

Under the Pharaohs

riots,

have been

to us but

the great Hvksos invasion.

VI

At the end

a decline of civilized stan-

influence bv the appearance of elegantly

profiled wares

a superior

to

known

Qatna and the tombs of Bvblos give some idea of

the Louvre), unfortunately very mutilated, shows


a helmeted

is

whence thev drew indispensable raw

hand.

with an apron of Egyptian

new

to

marked by
art

the

in

Transjordan should be attributed

in

its

securing their

instrument, a sort of harp, which


in his left

is

dards;

but

has been suggested that the steles at Shihan

and Baluah
to

bow

that of prayer or of a hunter raising his

with one hand and his arrows


at

The man's

belt.

period

64

districts

and

to

become

vement was accompanied bv one


disturbed Egypt. This troubled

tine

was thus

empire

at the

controlled

Avaris in the Delta


to the

geographical center of a vast

from the

Hyksos capital of

which stretched from Nubia

Euphrates. The Palestinian tombs of the

period have yielded, besides numerous weapons,

thousands of scarabs, gold and

silver jewels, pins,

necklaces, bracelets, buckles with pendants and

PALESTINIAN ART BEFORE THE ISRAELITE CONQUEST

65

66

representing a divine pair, the best illustration of


the Canaanite bronze-smith's art of this period.
In

Palestine

found

at

good

some

examples

Megiddo, among them

representing a

man

been

have

bronze figurine

with extended forearms wear-

ing a necklace and high headdress which recalls


the Egyptian crown.

goddess

naked

fine figurine of the

comes from Naharivah

fig.

20 )

wears a high conical headdress on her long

Anthropomorphic jug from

hair,

horns emerges. Her

and from

it

in front a pair of

forehead

is

adorned bv a diadem and her neck

bv

19.

she

a triple

row

of pearls.

Monumental

art

hardlv

Jericho,

17th century R.C.E.

other forms consisting of stamped metal discs with

tions for suspension.

nique

fine

ear-like

example of

projec-

this tech-

Tell Ajjul represents a bird with out-

at

There are

wings.

stretched
frontlets

and two

decoration

granulated

worked

in

and

diadems

also

repousse on beaten gold

leaf,

and amulets of the same technique representing


the naked goddess are sometimes grouped in necklace form; these amulets, found along the entire

coast from Tell Ajjul to Ras Shamra, are a fair

indication of the cultural unity

meated the Near

Among
calcite

well

the pottery there are, besides numerous

and alabaster

This

prototypes.

Palestinian

some graceful and

vases,

forms

proportioned

metallic

which then per-

East.

which
the

is

often

imitate

golden age of

ceramics in which the polishing of

vases, their finish

and execution and,

of the period, their paint

and

reflect true aesthetic feeling.

head from a tomb

vase with
(fig.

face with a fine prominent nose

by brows which,

end

plastic decoration,

at Jericho

at the

human

19) shows a

and eyes framed

like the ears, are

somewhat

over-

emphasized, the ears serving as jug-handles. The

beard and coiffure are represented bv stippling


of

the head

human

type

plated with
are,

encrusted in white material.


recalls

the

fine

silver

This

statuettes

gold found at Ras Shamra, which

together with two other statuettes likewise

20.

Canaanite Goddess. Bronze, found

at

Naharivah.

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

67

appears in Palestine; the incessant conflicts be-

of the

tween petty princes scarcely favored conditions

are

conducive to a real

work we can record

the broken

is

"Snake Goddess" found

at

The

flowering.

artistic

only

of the

stele

we

Beth Mirsim, where

Middle Bronze Age. The

dividing the surface into metopes separated from

one another by

fields of checkers,

alternating with

wavy

tion in the

sibly Hurrian, influence.

opposed

beginning of the 16th century, the

the

vase's shoulders

adorned by polychrome geometric designs

see the Egyptian giving place to a northern, pos-

By

68

bands of color

chevrons, ornamenta-

lines,

form of stylized palm leaves, triangles

and motifs consisting of two

at the apex,

superimposed

In the panels so framed,

crosses.

Hyksos Empire broke up. The Pharaohs of the

simple volutes sometimes appear whose centers

18th dynasty reconquered the country, expelled

are taken

the invader and chased

him

into Asia; after fierce

More

were

stags

battles the fortresses of southern Palestine

Me-

giddo, and Jericho were utterly destroyed.

The

isolated

time to acquire

this

palm

goats, wild goats facing

or

These themes

commercial

relations

the

produced

The

arts.

new development

the

and

luxury
influence

artistic

of

Egypt, which had never been completely eclipsed


during the Hyksos interregnum,
jewellers

now

reasserted

and ivory-workers emulated the

models of the Nile


can be traced at
in

valley.

But new influences too

time; with the settlement

this

the coastal harbors of traders and craftsmen

from the islands,

Aegean develops
becomes

peck the backs of

fish,

living

swim

fishes.

persist in the following centuries,

but the drawing becomes poor and schematic,

conquest.

The wealth brought by

itself;

small

in

tableaux; cranes preen themselves, dolphins


in groups, birds

stimulated

grouped

sometimes

but henceforth based their Asiatic policy on effec-

of

one another or

most frequently, birds and

tree and,

the precarious alliance of the country's princes,

tive

crosses.

often, there are naturalistic motifs such as

and

retaken one after the other; Beth Mirsim,

Pharaohs were not content

up by many-colored Maltese

the

artistic

to the point

the

of

sometimes

it

between

distinguish

to

difficult

influence

where

local

the color uniform.

serve as illustration. Here

we

find the inevitable

goats placed on each side of three sacred trees.

The

by two

animals, indicated merely

triangles

joined at the apex in the center of the composition,

they

appear to be looking back at the trees which


are

Aegean

leaving,

movement among

classic

up by

free spaces are taken

fawn and birds and the center of the

cup by a small
is

The

beasts.

a frisking

picked out

at

VII

may

with internal decoration from Ain Shems,

elliptical figure

small dots.

in

whose center

We

Ras Shamra

it

is

line

have evidently

travelled far from the superb golden

products and imports.

cup

single example, a small

bowl found

true, a public object.

Of

same period are the imported luxury vases

the

Palestine has yielded indeed nothing of the

such as the great rhytons and faience goblets

highest quality, comparable with the objects found

discovered at Tell

at

Ras Shamra and elsewhere. The country, natu-

imported

from

poor and subject to constant exactions by

Whereas

at the

rally

Abu Hawam. These vessels were


Cyprus

in

13th

the

century.

end of the 16th, the current was

flowing from the east, as evidenced by the

Egyptian military governors, was disturbed by

still

frequent rebellions,

bichrome pottery exported from Palestine as

ly

civilization declined rapid-

its

between the 15th and 13th

little

originality

Syrian

retained by

influence,

illustrates

civilization better

this

on pottery

end of the

tion

still

a fine

beloi led

it

owed

to

found

at

Megiddo.

decline of Palestinian

in

the

same

6th century had been


f

art

than the evolution of the painted

decoration

appearance

its

and the

evidenced bv two bronze

as

figurines covered with gold

Nothing

centuries,

by

period.

The

marked by the

ware whose painted decoraorigin to the great tradition

as

Ras Shamra and the

the Bronze

Age

islands,

end

at the

of

the current had been reversed,

and the products

of the island

flooding the coastal ports.


of northern Syria,
fited

far

The

workshops were
flourishing

grown wealthy on

towns

trade, pro-

from these external influences which also

stimulated local

artists.

But Palestine, impover-

ished by the Egyptian occupation, not only did

not benefit from these exchanges but saw


culture in danger of suffocation.

its

own

PALESTINIAN ART BEFORE THE ISRAELITE CONQUEST

69

70

between a mastiff and


entire subject

Its

been

obscure.

is

suggested

a lion (fig. 21).

the

that

has

It

struggle

by symbolically interpreted,

should

the two animals representing two peoples

gods,

their

or

nowhere

in

combat, but

do we see

else in the East

simple animals without attributes in

such a symbolical
the

monument

role.

The

style of

however, so remi-

is,

niscent of Syrian representations

the lion has been compared to a simi-

on the gold bowl from Ras

lar beast

Shamra
ascribed

work has been

that the

Syrian

to

art,

perhaps an

import which came into Palestine as

war-booty
at the

at the

end of the 14th

or

beginning of the 13th century.

However, the recent discoveries

Hazor may lead us

at

to consider this

monument,

hitherto isolated, not as

local work.

The

small sanctuarv un-

covered at the foot of the rampart


surrounding Hazor contained a unique
collection,

wall,

from an
21.

Fight between lion and dog. Basalt tablet from Beth Shean

arranged

which

in a

niche of the

will interest us here solely

artistic

The

point of view.

niche was decked with a row of seven

14th century B.C.E.

basalt

In 1360 the Hittites conquered Mitanni.

With

the disappearance of this buffer state the tension

between Egypt and the


critical,

the

cal situation

Amarna

Hittite

Empire became

letters illustrating the politi-

during the period. Syria and Palestine

now passed under

steles

of

different

inscribed except for the central one, which bore a

two hands outstretched towards an

cutting of

of the

moon)

in a gesture of prayer. In front of

the steles, to the

left,

was a small

of a

bareheaded god

on a

stool

and holding a goblet

and Rameses

(fig.

23).

The execution

II.

Palestine

and

its

ports

were reconquered. But

the indecisive battle of Kadesh on the Orontes


left

the Hittites in occupation of the rest of their

which

is

well proportioned,

is

and the head


pride.

in a

On

in

basalt statue

long garment

Egypt did not

Pharaohs of the 19th dynastry, Seti

is

by a good

and forepaws only being free-sculpted


of the slab, while the animal's

the cities of the Mediterranean coast experienced

in

troubled period in Palestine


orthostat,

is

the Beth Shean

representing in two registers

fight

bodv

head

its

at the

is

end

prolonged

shallow relief on one of the faces of the stone.

The northern
this

was

the right extremity of the niche

mise peace under the stabilizing influence of which

about

artist,

particular has an air of lofty

sequently by treaty. This established a compro-

at

hand

rough, but the work,

the figurine of a lion cut in a basalt slab,

new period of relative prosperitv.


An interesting monument dated

seated

in his right

Syrian conquests, a situation acknowledged sub-

astro-

nomical svmbol (the disc of the sun and the crescent

begin to react before the end of 1320 under the

Hittite control.

un-

sizes,

influence

is

here

dominant;

man's dress and the stool on which he


are

of

Syrian

Syrian

type.

It

is

moreover

the

is

seated

in

North

sculpture that the best analogies of the

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

71

Engraved scene on ivory

22.

lion

The

are to be found.

stylistic

homogeneity

Hazor objects can only be explained by

of the

their local production; thev reveal

angle of Canaanite

art,

an unexpected

Found

well be explained by

and

town's geographical situation

political

at

Megiddo, 12th century B.C.H.

made

ing been

for a

king or for some

Hittite

northern prince, and brought to Meggido as war

booty during the time of Egyptian domination.

Four small ivory plaques which possibly belong

which was revived by

mav

northern influence and


the

tablet.

72

same furnishing are of particular

to the

interest;

they show the king of Megiddo leaving for war

with his chariots and footmen; the chariots are

independence.

each drawn by two horses and ridden by one man.


Battle

joined and the chariots thrown into a

is

VIII
gallop destroy the enemy. Victorious in the fight,

From the same

period

in

Palestine there have

number

come

to

us

found

at

Farah, Beth Shean, Tell Duweir and,

above
than

all, at

large

ivory

of

Megiddo. The Megiddo

380 pieces and fragments,

objects

ivories,

more

constitute

extraordinary collection such as no other

site

an
has

afforded.

The

century,

the most recent to the middle of the

oldest of

12th; but thev

all

them go back

show the same

to the 14th

artistic

tradi-

tion which continues elsewhere into the succeed-

the king accepts the


subjects,
finally,

of the period.
typical

We

shall brieflv describe the

most

among them.

should be set apart from the


ranks

of people,

rest.

It

represents

bull-headed men, hel-

meted gods and monsters, who on the upper

re-

gister support a Hittite king clad in his characteristic

disc.

of

garment and protected bv the

Hittite

winged

The panel composition and accumulation

figures

are

obviously

Although the

Hittite.

Canaanite ivory workers usually displaved a

markable

versatility of technique,

bable that this plaque, which

Megiddo,

at

It

undoubtedly preferable

is

it

seems improunique of

its

the work of a local craftsman.

type
is

is

re-

to regard

it

as hav-

and

seen seated on a festal throne,

hand, and a lotus in his

in his right

the scenes are

who

left,

before him.

sit

shown according

to

Egyptian convention, the objects are Asiatic. The


throne
statue

is

a simple stool, like that of the

and those which appear

later

Hazor

on the As-

syrian reliefs.

The

subject of the king's victory

much freedom.

We

find

beverage,

while

treated with

seated on a throne

is

the queen

servant

is

again on an ivory at

it

Farah, but here the king


of Egyptian style,

small plaque of quite exceptional character

several

is

presence of his wives


all

of his vassals

bring him an offering of ducks;

the king

Although

ing century. These ivories illustrate better than

any other monument the svncretistic tendencies

cup

in the

who

homage

is

pouring him a

stands

behind

the

woman dances to the sound


On another plaque from Me-

throne and a naked


of a double flute.

giddo

(fig.

22) the king

first

appears on his chariot

bringing back naked circumcized prisoners pre-

ceded by
an

officer

a warrior.

Behind the chariot marches

carrying the royal harp.

The king

is

protected by a somewhat confused winged motif


typical of the Levantine

manner, and imitating

some Egyptian prototype. To the

left,

the

same

king appears on a throne addressed by a winged


sphinx of a type

unkown

in

Egypt but found

again at Bvblos on the sarcophagus of Ahiram.

PALESTINIAN ART BEFORE THE ISRAELITE CONQUEST

73

He

is

served bv the queen

in

Syrian dress wear-

ing a low cylindrical crown. She proffers

and a napkin

lotus-flower

to

wipe

two servants stand near a big basin and


in

Behind the throne,

a harpist plays before him.

on which are two cups

him

his lips, while

a plate,

the form of animal

heads. Birds in the field of the composition have

no parallels

in

scenes

of

this

tvpe

shown

Egvpt, and must be an addition bv the

in

artist,

who thus shows the same horror vacui so frequent


among primitive people. Of this we have seen
numerous examples above.

The same concern

to

out the composition,

a remarkable

Mycaenean

of

mastiff

is

admire the

again on
this

time

influence, portrays fighting animals.

attacking an ibex bv slipping under

body. The position

its

skillful

unnatural, but one must

is

composition of the scene and

the ability with which the artist uses to the ut-

most the
est

field at his disposal.

With the

slender-

means, by the simple entwining of the bodies,

he imparts an astonishing intensity

to the fight.

Beside this livelv scene, the Beth Shean orthostat


looks quite clumsy.

To

the

same group

also be-

long four rectangular plaques showing recumbent


griffons

merous decorative fragments, among which ducks'


heads abound, as
figurines with

with outstretched wings. The execution

woman

which serves

ivories.

More

detailed

description should be devoted to the remarkable


bulls' heads, the elegant

the form of a

in

as

To

spoon.

same tvpe

the

of

representations also belong a Hazor head or cone-

shaped objects from Megiddo ending


heads,

What

eyes

their

with

encrusted

in

women's

glass

should be emphasized, above

complex play of

of the

Aegean

all,

pearls.

that

is

With

gaming

tables,

and nu-

Asiatic,

consummate

skill

end

of the

Bronze Age.

craftsmen

these

move

borrowed usual-

into their compositions elements


ly

Egyptian, and

influences brought to bear on the Syro-

Palestinian coast at the

simply for their decorative value, from various

and often succeed

repertoires,

of striking force

At the end

and

in

producing works

originality.

12th century, the invasion

of the

of the Peoples of the Sea rolled

upon the

coasts

and Palestine and reached

of Asia Minor, Syria,

the Egyptian frontier. As early as the end of the

preceding century the

Israelites

had begun

to

settle in the

mountainous areas on both sides of

the Jordan.

The

composite

influence.

These objects give but a feeble notion of the

Megiddo

the

to

with outstretched arms holding a bowl

Mycaenean

the

from Duweir

bottle

comes

of

to the astonishingly

modelled back of a naked woman, or

perfume

shows a similar master and reveals the same

variety

Duweir; to the female

at Tell

rounded bosoms,

these small works of art are perfect reflections

fill

much greater skill, is found


comb whose decoration,

but with

74

history

an end. But

to

art

whose

of

this

birth

Canaanite Palestine

is

not the end of the

and development we

have followed over the course of the second millenium,

and whose

subsequent period,
Philistines

and

tradition

now having

Israelites.

continued
as

its

in

the

protagonists

ART DURING THE PERIOD OF THE MONARCHY

ISRAELITE

by

Israel entered into the

BENEDICT

of

light

full

history

with her immigration into Canaan; and the

his-

must take the same period

tory of Israelite art

S.

ISSERLIN

up

ever, archaeology has

point out any objects

which

to

now been unable

(weapons, pottery,

can be assigned

etc.)

newly-arrived

the

to

to

fifteenth century B.C.E., Israelite tribal elements

nomad Israelites. (The attempt might indeed be


made to close this gap to a certain extent by

seem

drawing

for

starting point. Present perhaps since the

its

definitely

have established themselves

to

uplands of Canaan in the thirteenth and

in the

Locally sweeping everything be-

early

twelfth.

fore

them with

fire

and sword, they could, never-

make good any

from a study of the

conclusions

known among

the other

nomads

art

both

of Asia,

ancient and modern; an art which to some extent

seems

to lean

on that of the settled countries

theoretical claims to

nearby. However, to what extent deductions from

ownership of the whole of Palestine; and the

such a study could legitimately be applied to

theless, not

Canaanite

cities in

the plains, such as Megiddo,

the ancient Israelites

Taanach, Beth-Shean or Gezer, remained inde-

after

pendent. As a result, the warlike invaders, poli-

letariat

grouped

tically

tled

down

to

soon

set-

peasant agriculture, and remained

in juxtaposition

These

in a tribal confederacy,

latter

simply

any

finer

they were grouped into city-states

who

in turn

Egyptian empire. This


late

owed

latter,

century

thirteenth

allegiance

enfeebled dur-

had

B.C.E.,

apparently by the twelfth shrunk to the control


of

few important centers

plain belt,

ed

out.

and

in

the

Palestinian

in the eleventh century

The whole

it

flicker-

picture of a dying empire in-

vaded by warlike outsiders

recalls in

some ways

Boman empire and

the final stages of the


rise of

the

Yet, while the art of

Europe

of the

Dark Ages

invaders and the invaded, the historian of

early Israelite art

is

much

when faced with

course,

to trying

can be said to un-

art

earlier

its

the shock administered

by the invasion.

From

the dimness which thus veils Israelite

art before the settlement in the Promised Land,

only the textual description of the Tent of Meeting and

its

appurtenances, as given in the Scrip-

(Exodus

tures

As

detail.

twined

XXXVI

for the tent,

VIII), stands out


we

tains

hear of curtains of "fine

linen, blue, purple,

with cherubim" (Exodus

and

scarlet,

XXXVI:

were joined by loops and

mention

also

of

acacia

adorned

8); these cur-

clasps,

below an outer tent of goat-hair and


is

some

in

boards

and placed

skins.

There

or

frames

covered with gold (XXXVI: 20, 34), and of a

medieval Europe.

can be studied from plentiful finds related both


to the

whether Canaanite

dergo any significant deviation from

shall hereafter

are thus

and

Israelite impact,

to see

ruled by petty kings,

the

We

semi-nomad ancestry.)

under the

anite art

established and highlv-developed material civiliza-

ing

of

reduced to reviewing the development of Cana-

with the older inhabitants.

refer to as the Canaanites, neglecting

to the

rather doubtful; they are,

(whom we

ethnic divisions) were people possessed of a long

tion. Politically

is

described as an escaped Egyptian pro-

all,

less fortunately placed.

veil of blue, purple,

linen,

and

scarlet,

and

cunning workman" (XXXVI: 35).


to

fine

twined

adorned with cherubim, the work of "the

visualize

always

just

what

is

It

is

not easy

intended,

and

indeed, material giving a fair idea of

indeed, the whole description of the Tent of Meet-

the culture of the original Canaanite inhabitants,

ing has not passed unassailed. Critics have been

How-

inclined to regard the present text as the blend-

There

as has

is,

been seen

in

the previous chapter.

and

ing of several strands of tradition,


in

much

it

giving

body

vague.

It

and

late

find

to

reconstruction

theoretical

what would otherwise have been

to

may, however, be permissible

to recall

that the statement about the cherub decoration

its

tues,

commemorative

ture,

and

tic features

2)

beasts)

go back to types well known

foreign

second

half

second

the

of

That the carpet weavings of

may closely
among their

R.C.E.

millenium

nomad

population

follow the decorative motifs in use


settled neighbors has recently

were apt

Canaanite

character

the

in

Canaanite

3)

the

cient Persia.

Northern

Asia

There would thus be no prima facie

objection to the occurrence of the cherub motif,

developed

in ancient

among

Egypt,

Israelites sojourning in the deserts

the

nomad

bordering on

those two countries.


also

of

work

scroll

(see

tine,

home among

parallels

paintings

sacred

and

profane

be

can

Winged

quoted.

guardian figures sheltering a sacred object are

developed in Egyptian
seat"

of the

art,

while

the "mercy

(if

regarded as the symbolic resting point

is

Godhead) the throne drawn on the Meg-

to ancient Pales-

and connoisseurs there was a

classes

Again

both

of these

on

placed
is

is

the

pottery.

Typical

a tendency to simplification

and ab-

is

little

evidence of a good sense of spacing and

We

have,

what preceded,

in

known about

tried

(see

and Canaanites before they came

22).

around a movable

palladium (a thing not without parallels


other Semitic peoples), employing to
the artistic conventions in use

among

some extent

among

the neigh-

seems not impossible; but the

boring nations,
details elude us.

Whereas the

art of the

remains largely

unknown

cient

Canaanites

been dealt with


useful

to

which

will

is

well

Israelites

seems
facts

be relevant when

Egyptian

political

(ca.

1250

we come

to discuss

sovereignty brought in

1050).

see

disappearing.

sum-

to

the art of Israelites

how

into

hostile

things developed

the period of the Judges

Politically this

was a comp-

Egyptian rule was weakening and

licated epoch.

The
each

Israelites

and Canaanite

city-

states

fought

result,

the former were restricted mainly to the

Then the

It

now

when they met during

documented, and has

preceding chapter.

is

Let us

upland

the art of the period to follow.


1

contact.

to us, that of the an-

down, summarily, a few

in the

note

most ancient

line,

perhaps also of a certain humorous feeling.

marize what

tent sanctuary centering

attempt to

achieve realistic representation. Occasionally, there


is

Canaanite type of throne flanked by sphinxes


fig.

and

villagers

well illustrated by the

ordinary

geometric form; there

stract

iddo ivory gives a good idea of the contemporary

lotus

Besides the "great art" supported by the

4)

provided with a moulding (Exodus XXXVII: 1-9).


art

and

and sphinxes.

griffins

and Mesopotamia.

simple craftsmen. This

contemporary

complicated

but formed part of the cultural heritage of

popular art at

from

These

stock.

its

the lotus

36);

fig.

certain

which formed a

motifs

These motifs were not peculiar

men-

described as a box-shaped object

may be rendered
may recall Egyptian

had developed a

art

chain of Egyptian origin;

wh

is

Some-

quarters.

commonly employed

leisured

ch latter

of

cattle

lions

decoration

tioned as flanking the "mercy seat" of the ark,


;

incorporation

include the "tree of life" with

Syria

Cherubs (of pure beaten gold) are

the

many

Thus

Aegean manner;

the

part

ancient

of

bv

mixed

strongly

or Hittite-North-Syrian models.

been

derived from the art of an-

shows

from

in a certain tradition.

among

nomads

to affect the local tradition.

art

influence

of

clearly

buildings, sta-

official

times a certain subject will tend to be treated

number

the

some

of

relief slabs, religious sculp-

conditioned

demonstrated by the findings of carpets executed

which are

Canaan

objets dart; besides this, Egyptian artis-

intended sphinxes, or kindred fabulous


in

This comprised

art.

may be

decorative arts of Syria and Egypt during the

78

train the transplantation into

Egyptian

need not be an anachronism. Cherubs (by which

as

MONARCHY

ISRAELITE ART DURING THE PERIOD OF THE

77

invasion

zone,

the

status
of the

other

latter

to

standstill;

the

to

lowland

as

belt.

quo was further upset bv the


Philistines.

These

latter

came

from the Aegean world and made themselves


at

home

in the coastal plain,

to their sphere of influence.

were very near

reducing the

hills

For a moment they

to establishing

an empire over

all

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

79

80

applied arts connected with everyday things seems

making and pot

generally to have been poor. Pot

The

painting alike are decadent.


resentations

women

of

charms, are without

terracotta rep-

intended

labor,

in

artistic

as

The

or merit.

skill

products of the art of the sealmaker also show


a

much lower

some centuries

Both scarabs and stamp

earlier.

tend to be

seals

had been achieved

than

level

with a simple "blob"

satisfied

the most basic geometrization. Vigorous

style, or

but crude, these seals employ motifs partly derived from Egvpt, like falcons, monkeys, snakes,
or

Asiatic motifs

as

scorpions, animals

some

for

time.

such

antiquity

great

of

representing "tete beche,"

men. This simple

ostriches,

vogue

often

It

was

style

seemed

to

remain

in

be linked with

to

the general decline of civilization in the Near East

between 1200 and 900 B.C.E.; and

same period

of roughlv the

have come

As

Cyprus and

to light in

for the Philistines

About

Syria.

who made

lowland regions their home,

much about any

similar seals

as those in Palestine

difficult to

is

it

the Canaanite

of their

artistic traditions

say

own.

and profane,

their architecture, both sacred

we know next to nothing; the brief notices about


Dagon temples contained in Judges XVI, 24ff and
I

Canaanite deity basalt found

23.

about

Hazor

at

I4th-13tfa cent. B. C. E.

Western

down
skill

Palestine,

but

end thev went

the

The

their

sphere

before the superior military and political

some extent mirrors

history of art to

We

witness at

this

first,

Egyptian-dominated zone, the existence

insufficient to enlighten us

artistic

to

special

them

is

"Philistine"

vase painting.

of

employing such motifs

painting,

of

has been recognized. However,

it

Egyptian statuary, and frequently the continued

that the so-called "Philistine" style

existence of Egyptian

to

occasional Egyptian
of

Canaanite

objets d'eut at the courts

influence

subject

in

kinglets.

building,

The

continued to treasure ivory carvings

Palestinian

traditions
is

were

blended.

the

Israelite

it.

thrust,

the local

However,

in

the

away from

more exposed and

favored parts of the country, the

less

level of aci

low

also

true for seats of the fairly opulent

rulers in the richer part of Palestine,

naturally

in

some

where Egyptian, Aegean, and Syro-

tradition,

while this

latter

ement seems

to

have been much

Furtlu more, the standard reached in the

be attributed

under

territory

eclectic

stvle

to local potters

Philistine

the

as

swan preening

the lozenge, and the

polychrome

of

stvle

in

might

general,

in

that

only

different

tradition,

from that of the Canaanites


be ascribed

The

character.

architectural

which an

in

Here a

of David.

confused state of things.


the

in

Samuel V, 2-5 are

its

spiral,

plumage,

must be said
is

apparently

working

domination.

in the

It

is

an

vague memories

developed from

of the motifs current before the time of troubles


in

the Aegean

world of the thirteenth century

B.C.E., and with special links to Cyprus, and,


to a lesser extent, the

Dodecanese. Occasionally,

local Palestinian influence

the

makes

itself felt.

Thus

"Orpheus vase" from Megiddo, showing a

musician with a lyre

crowd

of

animals,

leading

seems

to

along
represent

motlev

a
a

cross-

breeding between "Philistine" and local peasant

MONARCHY

ISRAELITE ART DURING THE PERIOD OF THE

81

decadent lotus pattern on a "Philistine"

art;

vase from T.

Farah seems

el

to

go back to Egyp-

tian inspiration.

As

As
this

82

remains of

befits the situation, the artistic

time

point

the

to

(Canaanite)

Palestinian

local

continued

existence

of

but

traditions,

during the pe-

also to a strong infusion of features to be as-

riod of the Judges, our Biblical texts hint that a

cribed to Phoenicia and to a lesser degree, to

for the art of the Israelites

amount

certain

and profane

of sacred

was

art

be found among them. There were temples,

to

orthodox (at Shilo) and schismatic (as at Dan);


individuals

might

ephods and

idols

Judges VIII, 27; XVII,

"fosse

Such works might be

anite

manner;

well-established

of

idols

in traditional

have been found

anite types

and a

23 )

fig.

shortly

of

idol

little

Hazor

after

war-god from

the

tradition

The coming

Saul provided, for the

of the

be expected to express
towards the

arts.

We

happened

tha v this

proved

to

later,

still

architec-

occur at various places,

now

remains dominant,

where amulets and

similar

The main

interest of this period,

little

however,

naturally centered in the works of art

fa-

and

is

archi-

tecture connected with Solomon's great building

program.
Outstanding among these for general interest

monarchy under
is

Solomon's Temple

(fig.

24). Not a stone of

who might

prestige,

his standing also

bv bounty

have, however, no evidence

'/Awyy/vw/s/^M-

at this stage; Saul's residence

Gibea, so far as

at

small

ience figurines are concerned.

Israelite

time, a central ruler

first

endowed with wealth and

and

Egyptian

Lachish.

also

the same Canaanite tradition with North-Syrian


analogies.

at

tural features

belongs to

conquest,

Israelite

temple"

and Egyptian

dating apparently from a time

tradi-

the

very similar in plan to the pre-Israelite

Cana-

period,

this

is

Cana-

Gezer

in strata at

and Megiddo dating roughly from

by

exemplified

is

"northern" temple found in Beth-Shean, layer V,

which

1-8).

building

in

with

themselves

provide
(cp.

Egyptian inspiration. Thus the Canaanite


tion

ZW/, d o a a d o a

has been excavated, has

it

have been a purelv

utilitarian

strong

point without pretensions to comfort or the graces


of

Things probably improved under his suc-

life.

David, but concrete details

cessor

what we hear about

his

still

us;

fail

"house of cedar"

(II.

Samuel VII, 2) and general building program


best taken with the better

documented work

is

of

Solomon.

his son

Solomon's reign seems, in

fact, to

mark

a per-

iod in the artistic development of Palestine. His


rule

father's

had seen the

and Canaanites within one

Israelites

building up

the

in close

ture,

of

reorganized by
to

luxurious
train

nicians,

state,

25

of

and

Southern Syrian empire

with Egvpt. This political struc-

furnish

building program

its

union

commercial alliance with Phoenicia, and

in active contact

made

effective

court.

the

the

means

this

local

for

and

an
a

for artists

foreign,

capital Jerusalem, but also at

throughout the realm.

of

was now

immense
rich

and

must have brought

ample opportunities
both

king,

the behest

at

All

new

many

in

C2

CD.

in

and techthe

new

other points
24.

Plan and section of Solomon's

Temple

(after

Watzinger)

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

83

the present temple platform can be ascribed to

with certainty, though

it

architectural

that

sible

ture are

hidden

still

to

written accounts:

Ezekiel

extent

studied

the basis

of

Kings VI- VIII, and to some

1.

when

light

these

are

texts

and elsewhere.

must

of the detail, however,

remain

still

Solomon's Temple, an oblong building orientated east-west, consisted essentially of three divi-

Holy

(debir)

Holies

of

wide and 10 deep

cubits

cording to

Chronicles

II

overtopped

wood

the

into

sibly

coffered.

main

hall

10 x 5m.); acit

Temple

hall

iu

height. Light

hall

by

built of ashlar,

store

height.

It

wood, posbehind the

Holies

to the

The whole Temple


and

stories

main Temple

windows placed above the


structure

was

internally panelled with cedar

wood, carved with cherubs, palm

and

trees,

floral

ornaments, and heightened with gold. The doors


carved with similar elaboration.
furniture of the house

nal

golden

included

the table of the

altar,

The

inter-

(besides a

shew bread, and

10 lamps) the Ark of Covenant which was placed


the

in

Hob

and guarded by two huge

of Holies

winged cherubs carved

On
tall

in olive

the outside, the porch

wood and

gilded.

was preceded by two

columns 18 cubits high. These were

brass

This somewhat bald outline receives considerable amplification and interest

archaeological

parallels.

use

if

house" temple;

this

is

Canaan

forms, in ancient

of

Solomon's
of the "long

be found,

to

made

is

Basically,

various

in

Megiddo, She-

(as at

type divided into porch, main


Holies,

now be

can

zone from

its

With-

alia.

and Holy

hall,

of

followed in the Canaanite

early adumbration at Bvblos via the

9th century B.C.E. temple at T. Tainat in Syria.

chambers, three

was admitted

clerestory

store chambers.

were

on wheels.

proper 40

door

was 20 cubits square and 20 high;

and south by

est.

placed on twelve oxen, and ten movable lavers

impressive pie-Israelite temple at Hazor to the

in

a ceiling of cedar

of

altar, a

water container called the "molten sea,"

great

of

double

hall.

Within the court there were, besides the

wider category, the evolution of the temple

may have been raised in level above the main


The Temple was surrounded to the north,

it

chambers between the jutting-out door jambs).

in this

may have been


structures. From the

The Hob'

lateral

The porch was 20

and 20 wide, and 30

cubits long

was provided with

were of

Ezekiel's description can be applied,

composite type involving a succession of

Ugarit) and even at Assur, inter

(ca.

tower-like

to

stone

to this,

chem r

hall

III, 4,

porch one entered through


express

if

(The gates

of cedar beams.

(hekhal) and

a porch (ulam), a main

sions:

and one row

Temple comes within the categorv

questionable.

hewn

walling founded on three courses of

from archaeolo-

available

gical evidence obtained in Israel

Much

struc-

neverthe-

is,

extent on

fair

XLI-III,

the

in

the

of

the accumulated masses

reconstruction

lacking,

is

possible

less,

members

while visible archaeological

Yet,

of later filling.

evidence

in

indeed quite pos-

is

it

84

The

comes verv

latter

store

close indeed to the place

main building, while the

Solomon's

of

lateral

chambers of Solomon's Temple can be paral-

leled at the nearlv

contemporary "southern" tem-

ple of Beth-Shearim, level V. Various individual

features

Solomon's building can likewise be

of

paralleled

"long house" temples

the

in

the

of

ancient Palestine-Svria and nearby countries.

was

there

quoted again

Beth-Shean, T. Tainat, and rather

T. Atchana

earlier, at

was

at

in

Northern Svria.

tower-like porch,

parallels

duced from Egvpt, but perhaps

at

Paphos

in

we

much

already

method

of

later

that

ashlar

walling,

and the Aegean

but also

was known

during the second millenium

is

still,

Cvprus. Coming to constructional


find

ashlar with courses of cedar beams,

Anatolia,

there

If

could be ad-

also, in a differ-

ent variety, at ancient Assur and

methods,

If

can be

a raised sacral end, parallels

in

Syria,

area; in Palestine, the

illustrated at the

comtemporary

level

Beth-Shean, and at Megiddo, stratum IV

what seems

provided with complicated composite capitals 5

(Megiddo IV

cubits in height, involving such elements as chain

very close approximation to the gates described

and cheel
ple
it

may

ir

was surro

work, and pomegranates. The


e

Tem-

been placed on a raised platform;


led

by

a court delimited

bv ashlar

bv Ezekiel
tion,

we have

also provides

to

be

Dealing next with internal decorato

remember

that cedar panelling,

and especiallv cedar panelling

inlaid with ivorv

MONARCHY

ISRAELITE ART DURING THE PERIOD OF THE

85

and heightened with gold was

at

home

86

Phoe-

in

nicia and in the sphere affected by her. Proceed-

ing

now

we have

to external fittings,

remember

to

that the two gigantic free-standing columns Yakin

are paralleled by similar free-standing

and Bo'az
twin

before Phoenician temples at Tyre

pillars

laver, a stone laver

and Gades. For the gigantic


from Amathus

Cyprus has been adduced

in

parallel; the portable lavers are in the

tion as

one from Enkomi

as a

tradi-

Cyprus, which

in

is

the vase support from

it-

and

supports from that island,

self related to vast

(fig.

same

Megiddo mentioned before

25). All told, there

much which

not

is

looks

like direct

borrowing from the powerful southern

neighbor,

Egypt;

much

derivation, and there

Canaanite-Syrian

of

is

a strong Phoenician in-

is

fluence embracing perhaps, the overseas connec-

Ornamental

tions with Cyprus.

on

constructed

such

detail

best re-

is

Thus,

considerations.

the

Vase support from Megiddo.

25.

composite capitals of Yakin and Bo'az with their


lily

work may have been something

capital imitated

by a somewhat

to talk

shall

have

still

26); while the cherubs facing palm

(fig.

may have been

trees

later stone brazier

we

from Megiddo, about which

the

like

nician-inspired

Phoe-

like those of the later

The

ivories.

difference

age

in

with

all

may have been


known from Zenjirli (ancient Sham'al),
in Northern Syria at a slightlv later date. The
king's private apartments may (or may not)
of

judgment

kinds of wood, the

different

gilding showing strongly

and

carvings

have conformed

where a beam

though the

though the time,

word "unique"

as

Tem-

was

ours,

free

Mr. Perrot reminds

we know much

which most
forest of

detail

is

given

Lebanon," a long

less.
is

in

The one about


50 cubits by 100
this

building was, in later times, used as an armorv,


it

has been

compared with such

military

buildings as the stables at Megiddo, stratum IV,

with their rows of internal

armory

naval

buildings

in

pillars

later

and

certain

Greece.

The

The

highly

romanticized reflection of these

medieval Jewish

art.

and hewn stone mixed with

may have been

What

we have

like

at

present

pillars

per-

collapse of Solomon's empire after his death

and the

sister-states

meant the end


opportunities

monarchy

of the united

split

two warring

it

of

of

Israel

the

into

and Judah

an imperial epoch and the

presented.

The two new monar-

chies were, nevertheless, not inferior in territory

and resources

to

other petty Syrian states, like

Sham'al or Damascus, and

them could

like

as patrons for art both sacred

act

and profane. Fur-

thermore, a rising mercantile aristocracy was soon


to

sisted in

given about ashlar masonry

no means of knowing.

us.

the "house of the

hall,

details

with the

provided with four rows of internal columns;

and

nothing of the plans,

buildings erected bv the king in his later

years

Of Solomon's public and domestic buildings


Jerusalem,

else-

the house of Pharaoh's daughter or the heterodox

have been impressive; even


like

we know

cedar beams sound like Phoenician work.

cult

certainly

in Syria;

and

at that latter site,

of light

the otherwise semi-dark interior, Solomon's

must

to the type of residence called

known

of large dimensions

from the highly-placed windows penetrated into

ple

analogous

the varied colors of

finery,

its

throne

of the

hall

to porticos

where

What

and the porch

of pillars

"bit hilani"

must, however, be remembered.

the

portico

join

the courts as possible clients for those

supplying the
refined

life.

embellishments

Around

Judah

and graces
and

Israel,

of

the

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

87

Stone brazier in the shape of a

2".

former subject kingdoms of Transjordan

mon, Moab, Edom)


coastal

and the

city-states

(Amin

the

plain provided other possible centers of

patronage for the

arts,

if

of

less

impressive

We

are

much

better placed to judge the art-

istic activity of this

period; descriptions on paper

now superseded by

the great public buildings of the time of Solomon


persist.

There

is

ashlar masonry,

and ashlar

mixed with cedar beam work. Both methods of


construction

c; n

the surviving ex

now be

studied in detail from

nples uncovered

by excavation.

from Megiddo.

Splendid examples

been uncovered
is

at

of

have

construction

ashlar

Megiddo, stratum IV (which

House

best attributed to the period of the

Omri

of

the remainders of the royal palace at

in

and more

recently,

at

Ramat Rachel,

south of Jerusalem, where the ruins of what seems


to

have been a roval residence have been partlv

excavated.

actual finds.

In architecture, the methods characteristic of

still

capital

Samaria,

kind.

are

pillar

88

Construction

is

extremely careful;

consists of well-laid layers of headers

chers,

quarry

the

foundation

bosses

smoothed.

but

courses

the

left

visible

Megiddo IV has

also

and

with

work

it

stret-

rough

carefully

furnished

ex-

amples of the method of mixing ashlar and beam


work.

Occasionally,

the

cost

of

some

less

im-

ISRAELITE ART DURING THE PERIOD OF THE

89

MONARCHY

90

portant buildings was lowered by mixing short


stretches

of

is

with

ashlar

intervening

Megiddo; even

walling, as at

this

cheap dr\

kind of masonry

sharp contrast to the type of poor rubble

in

walling emploved for the houses of commoners.

The

ashlar of the public buildings

perior to

work

it,

is

vastly su-

and may sometimes have been the

of Tvrian masons, as in the case of Samaria.

Of the

palaces at Samaria and

royal

Ramat

Rachel only the casemated enclosure walls are


present sufficiently known.

What

the plans and

architectural features of the palaces proper

have been

formed

we

cannot vet

tell;

at

may

perhaps they con-

to the Syrian "bit hilani" tvpe; a residence

at

Megiddo, stratum

of

Jeroboam

in

II

III

(probably of the time

the eighth century B.C.E.),

prettv definitely resembles the types of residence


in

vogue

in

Northern Syria and Mesopotamia.

Gates, as at Megiddo, also tend to resemble those

found

in Svria

general period.

no indications

and Mesopotamia during the same

They
of

tectural features.

are monumental, but give

Of the

art

and architecture

of

the great schismatic cult centers inveighed against

by Amos, such

27.

as those of Bethel

28.

and Dan, we

model of

Pottery

of the

anv other distinguishing archihave

at present

no

shrine. T.

el

Farah. Period

Hebrew Monarchy.
real

knowledge.

We

do,

how-

ever, possess a little information concerning the

small local shrines, regarded as heretical

Pottery model of shrine, found in Transjordan. Period of the

Hebrew Monarch\

by the

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

91

Reconstructed pottery model of shrine from Megiddo.

29.

knowledge

Bible. This

models such

of pottery

Gezer, T.

el

The

(fig.

27), and in Transjordan

with

latter in particular,

supported by columns,
proper with

from

ent

have been found

as

at

Farah (perhaps the ancient Tirzah)

near Nablus
28).

based on the existence

is

front

in

pitched roof,

its

rural

is

its

small porch
the

of

chapel

not so very differ-

known

sanctuaries

(fig.

to

us

from

pottery models in early Greece about this time.

What

helps such and other buildings to achieve

the quality of a
tions

of art are structural propor-

and additional ornamental features such

mouldings,
side

we

are

often

Of

work

carvings,

usually

know

ruined

About the

etc.

very

little,

down

almost

as

structural

since buildings
to

floor

level.

the details of architectural ornamentation, on

the other hand, sufficient evidence has survived


for us to

form some

Egyptian
to

have

and eighth

ideas.

irchitectural

fadt
ct

out
turies

in

92

B.C.E.

during the ninth

The

last

piece of

shrine

tery

in this direction

a pot-

is

model from Megiddo, stratum IV,

(fig.

29); this shows at the top what looks rather

like

vague imitation of an Egyptian cavetto

cornice above a torus

roll

moulding. This type of

ornamentation had been traditional


several centuries.

Egypt

in

The importation from

such features in Palestine at

this

for

there of

time

is

quite

possible. In Judah, to the south, the influence of

the great civilization by the Nile


to

be

felt;

complete

and here we have,

monument

namely the "Tomb


rock-cut-out

in

of

monumental

in

was more apt

type

of

manner,

Egyptian

the

Pharaoh's

Daughter," a

structure in the village

a rectangular building crowned

cornice which

a fairly

fact,

of Silwan (ancient Siloam), (fig. 30). It


ly

influence seems largely


Israel

evidence to be quoted

bv

was formerly topped bv

is

basical-

a cavetto

pyramid;

monumental tomb which was

established in

dating of this

Egvpt by the

New

tomb has been

be possible, however,

to assign

Kingdom. The

disputed.
it

fully

It

may

to the eighth-

ISRAELITE ART DURING THE PERIOD OF THE

93

MONARCHY

94

SKI
seventh century B.C.E.,

have something
as

which case

in

might

it

do with the renewed

to

artistic

well as political influence which Egypt

was

exercising at that time over the neighbor countries,

during the rule of the active Ethiopian dv-

nastv and after the restoration of her political in-

dependence under the


While
thus

at

features

Egyptian
best

Saitic Kings.

ultimately

influence

architectural

limited,

from

derived

serve

We
to

some

common

the

Syro-Palestinian tradition are widelv

was

ornamental

architectural

met and de-

discussion.

had occasion on an

the "tree of

life"

page

earlier

to refer

motif as one of the stock

features in pre-Israelite decorative tradition. This

ancient motif

now developed and

is

architectural ornamentation.

The

applied to

work go-

scroll

ing with this feature in particular

is

turned to

use in various ways. Thus the above mentioned


rural shrine

model from T.

el

Farah near Nablus

shows columns topped bv what look

like inverted

primitive Ionic capitals; the shrine

model from

"The Tomb

30.

ment

utes

of Pharaoh's Daughter", a rock-cut monuSiloam Village. Period of the Hebrew Monarchy.

in

is

also

Transjordan shows the columns supporting the

model

pediment ending

Transjordan.

to

back,

in

two

pairs

of volutes

back

one pointing upwards and the other

downwards.

capital

made up

of similar vol-

at

T.

of

el

shown on the head

of a little clav

an hermaphrodite caryatid found

The mutilated

Hesv and re-emploved

mav belong

to the

same

in

/,vj;u^

Reconstruction

of

row

of

engaged

pilasters

later

general tradition

JimJ.,/fJZ.

31.

in

wall pilasters found

with proto-Ionic capitals from Samaria.

work
which

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

95

96

dow;

imitated on contemporary

is

it

furniture,

as

Zenjirli-Sham'al;

at

mutilated full-size example has turned

up

at Assur.

But relations are

parti-

cularly close with the tvpe of capital

represented in Anatolia at Neandria

and elsewhere. Again our evidence


thus points to the close links existing

between the

artistic traditions of Is-

and Judah and those of North

rael

which were carried

Syria, traditions

West and influenced nascent

to the
Stone slab with imitation of column capitals from Ramat Rachc

32.

Greek architecture. Again


can be linked with the evolution of kindred

somewhat

if

architectural features in the

different

tral

this general ances-

stock seems to be the so-called "proto-Ionic"

which

is

attested, with little basic-

from Mesopotamia

variation,
this

from

special derivation

pilaster capital

to Cyprus. Basically

form of capital consists of a central triangle

flanked

by

painted

in

Simple or

volutes.

various

when

and

later,

Thev seem

deibi.

have

capitals

Megiddo

sites: at

Omri held sway;

of

and Ramat Rachel


century

or

31), from buildings of the time

(fig.

House

the

plain

florid,

these

colors,

turned up at various Palestinian

and Samaria

of purposes; thev

on the

to rest

The

dition of pre-Israelite Canaan.

neighboring lands.

One

monarchy seems

of the

in

at

Hazor,

Judah, probably about a

Me-

also in Transjordan as at
to

have served

a variety

for

might adorn the entrances of

also,

the

vogue during the period

style of architecture in

earlier tra-

capital with

drooping leaves seems derived from a simpler

among

type represented
this

Megiddo

the

ivories,

and

again an adaptation of an old established

is

Egyptian type of

capital. Architectural traditions

which seem mainly

home

at

outside the Syrian

sphere are rarer; part of a crowstep battlement

from Megiddo might perhaps go back

more

to a

properly Assyrian style of building.


Architectural sculpture did definitely occur in
the peripheral regions of the Israelite monarchy.
In the disputed border-land

between

Damascus,

(ancient

there

at

Sheikh Sa'd

was found

a lion

(fig.

Israel

and

Qarnaim)

33), which must have

served to defend a gate entry.

It

recalls

North

public or religious buildings, as at Megiddo, or

Syrian gate lions of the "Svro-Hittite" type, but

help to beautifv porches, as at Samaria.

already

There

is

evidence, also, concerning other types of

capitals in use for topping free-standing columns.

brazier from

Megiddo

referred to earlier

(fig.

26) seems to imitate a composite capital consisting

essentially

of

two rows

of

pendent

leaves*

under some Assyrian

treatment of the mane;

it

influence

in

is

the

might belong to the

latter part of the ninth, or the early eighth

century

B.C.E. In the central region of Israel such things

must have been

now

excavated by

enough

rare;

cities

have been

to give significance to the ab-

topped by a bowl element. Attention has been

sence of even mutilated fragments of monumental

drawn

sculpture at such places as Megiddo. Yet while

and

to other objects imitating similar

capitals,

A more

columns

such as a potterv stand from Gezer.

rare,

something of the kind must nevertheless

Ramat Rachel near

have

existed.

recent

from

find

Jerusalem, a stone plaque which

mav once have

formed part of a decorative screen, features dwarf

of pottery

man

or

This

models of buildings adorned with hu-

animal figures; for these figures show

columns, again with two superimposed rows of

such definite

pendent leaves

the products of

is

(fig.

32). This family of columns

well knov n in the ancient Near East during

first

milleni

B.C.E.

shown suppo. ing


'

On

ivory

carvings

a railing across an

open

it

the'
is>

win-.

imitate

One

proved bv the occurrence

is

stylistic

things

of these

traits

mere

actually

models

ed from Megiddo

is

(fig.

that they cannot be

fantasy,

known

but must rather


to

their

makers.

the example already quot29).

It

shows

at the cor-

ISRAELITE ART DURING THE PERIOD OF THE

97

Basalt lion

33.

ners

replicas

of

architectural

colossal

from Sheikh Sa'd

sculpture

known in Northern Syria and Mesopotamia.


The high cap and long curls of the sphinx on

as

the left seem

particularly significant, for

in the Svro-Hittite tradition.

by T. Taanach adorned with


in

poor execution

and sphinxes

lions

style

of

or rather

the

figures

Megiddo, and that


in the

similar objects

seem

to

dating from the time definitely after

layers

the coup d'etat of Jehu; perhaps the prophetic

awav with

revolution did

this as

with other "abo-

minations." In Judah also, the feeling against this

this

apparently

We

tent.

fig.

28 )

precincts

sculpture

sparingly:

Ezekiel

seems

though on the outer


to

(XL, 22;

have
26;

been

31;

34;

used
37)

mentions onlv palm tree decoration on the gates.

And

seems that architectural sculpture

it

allied arts after the

and

fell

under very strong theological approbri-

um; witness what Ezekiel has


probably were paintings or

manner

and

time of Solomon were rare,

(VIII,

10;

to sav

about what
the Assyrian

reliefs in

XXIII, 14). The onlv piece

from Megiddo. This

relief

few plain

head

"Aramean"

recalls the

exaggeratedly

the

surfaces;

There

is,

tradition of Northern

however, on the present evidence,

This
rulers.

monarchv they were being placed


Sham'al and Malatia.

now

its

high

pointed

cap,

this

animal

tradition;

it

again

mav be

deified

No

in

Hebrew

the gates of

Israelite gate

has up to

given indication of ever having been similarly

provided.

This seems significant, for statues of

rulers or persons of standing

temporary

Ammon

(as

were known

in con-

might have been expected,

they come within the Syrian and Phoenician tradi-

features there

comes within the Svro-Hittite

of Israel.
or

Syrian heritage; and at the time of the

to

With

Land

kings

representing

to

Such statues were part of the common

tion).

of architectural sculp-

which seems

art

totally absent in the

statuary

is

illustrate the traditions

the sphinx from the" grottos of the kings."

large

Syria.

Judean sculpture known which might be taken

is

shows

latter

extreme simplification and reduction of body to

of

ture

on

perhaps also to a stone with a

have been

plentiful representations of

interior,

(eagle?)

the pediment of the shrine model from Trans-

Temple had possessed


the

known, but

the bird

to

one type of representational

in

is

never developed to any great ex-

it

might point

kind of thing seems to have grown. Solomon's

cherubim

al-

known

type had thus been

Minor architectural sculpture

female in

No

is

country for some considerable time.

the local work.

in

ready featured on a Hittite-inspired ivory from

jordan

light

sa-i- ^.*,,4i

in Syria.

seems to point to a Syrian tradition underlying

have come to

98

worthwhile recalling that a similar sphinx

brazier from near-

may be contemporary

Again the general

eailier.

they are

MONARCHY

As

for other statuary representing

mentioning.

is

hardly anything which deserves

One might perhaps

from Megiddo,

human

strictlv frontal,

exes and a small beard;

it

refer to a

head

with large staring

seems Mesopotamia!!

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

99

100

two fragments have survived,

or

seem very near

as at Gezer; they

in style to the older, pie-Israelite

cult statuary of the Canaanites, as found, e.g., in

the "fosse temple" at Lachish.

More has come down

to us of the small do-

mestic idols which were of

Chief

among

intrinsic value.

little

these are the so-called "Pillar Astar-

te" figures in potterv

made, splaying

34). These consist of

(fig.

thrown on the wheel or hand-

a tubular bodv,

base with

at the

rolls of clav at-

tached as arms to support the very prominent

and a head which was made separately

breasts,
in a

mould and

Typical of these heads

fitted on.

are a "Greek profile," large almond-shaped eyes,

and hair

wigs

or

The

curls.

little

arranged

widelv

type,

in

rows of

Canaanite sacred imagery with Egyptian


ties;

was

it

with

distributed

back to the old traditions of

variations, goes

little

neatly

to influence early

affini-

Greece (Rhodes,

Cyprus) during the archaic period. Other small


crude

plastic items include

little

men

figures of

supporting tri-cornered hats on their heads (such

have

been found

also

settlement of Ibiza )

in the

These

figurines of horsemen.
"Pillar Astarte" of pottery

$4.

rather than Syrian

there

otherwise

is

the Egyptian style

Gezer; T. es

at

reliefs in

derivation, but

in

Of

case, quite isolated.

from Lachish.

was

direct foreign

evidence.

little

is,

statuette in
its

maker

has furnished remnants of

Safi

the Assyrian manner, which

been due to the

any

in

influences

unfinished by

left

and usually reduced

field

artists

mav have

of the Great

Of

plastic

attack

ivory)

der

is

any

in

case.

YVe know a

the

denunciations

Isaiah

XL,

19ff;

method

of

XLIV,

of

9ff;

little

the

overlaid

is

and

prophets

(ef.

to

by sheet-gold fastened
archaic Greece,

but wen! out of fashion there after the seventh

century L C.E.

Of chryselephantine

alwavs having served as such

their

speak against
(fig.

35).

On

the whole, the standards of workmanship are low;


occasionally

work with more pretension

to natu-

little

Jeremiah, X, 3ff); the

known from

adults

of a

about them

manufacture apparently referred

wooden core
down with nails
a

of

what were

figure

would have rendered them desirable plun-

from

apparently the burials

in

Some may

and very strongly "Semitic" features from T.

(involving gold and

composition

detail.

but occurrences

representation can be found, as in a seated

quite understandable, for

during times of cultic reforms)

precious

their

more precious media

in

rendering

at

toys,

frequent

forms without

ralistic

were often idolatrous (and thus an object

statues
for

work

remained. This

have been

latter are

to simple basic

little

King

on campaign.

lias

much attempt

far-away Phoenician

various animals and

statues one

male with high cap and long hair


es

Safi.

These terracotta objects are the common man's


art.

Better things can be expected from orders

executed to embellish the abodes of the wealthy

and discriminating. The


for

more precious

ticular, call

we have

salem

homes

could, in par-

political

might be expected

earlier served

of the wealthier Canaanite

there were

two

and Samaria, both

under the

Thev

had some centuries

seen,

Now

materials.

could also go in

the ivorv carver, whose works, as

in

to beautify the

princes.

latter

of

royal courts, Jeru-

which had come

influence of Tyre and thus


to

have developed

likings for

ISRAELITE ART DURING THE PERIOD OK THE

101

MONARCHY

102

Ahab is remade an "ivory house"


Kings XXXII, 39). The art of the

Phoenician-style luxury.

ported to have
(1

ivory carver

preciated

at

must

have been ap-

also

the

Judean court,

for

Sennacherib somewhat later reports


that the tribute paid to

included

kiah

him by Heze-

ivory

The

objects.

wealthy classes shared the luxurious


of

tastes

their

found cause

who were

to

Amos

royal masters;

upbraid the

idle rich

sprawling on ivory couches

(Amos

VI,

houses

(III,

4)

inhabiting

or

15).

ivory

The reference

both these cases, and

in that of

"house of ivory" mentioned

Jr.v*VliH$&^

in

Ahab's
earlier,

are to buildings, the internal panelling

and furniture which were adorned


with ivory inlays and carvings.

Of the extravagant works which


aroused such intense feelings, a repre-

come

sentative selection has

to light

in the excavations at Samaria.

The

pieces in question originated in

all

35.

possibility in

Ahab's ivory pavilion, though a later origin of

some

items,

nearer the

fall

the city in 722

of

B.C.E., cannot be excluded. Most of the material


consists
inlays,

of flat plaques

pieces

there

to

be appied

as

either to cedar wall panelling, or to fur-

niture; carving in the


flat

meant

are

are
also

round

usually

items

is

rather rarer.

carved

decorated

in

low

with

The

relief;

insets

of

Pottery model of

make up

horseman from Lachish.

The

the decorative patterns themselves.

most spectacular pieces were adorned both with

polychrome

The

insets

who produced

artists

from a

and gold

leaf.

these ivories

worked

which they were

fixed repertory of tvpes

fond of repeating and applying over and over


again.

Such motifs are the

the palmette

fig.

37 )

lotus chain

the

dow" (perhaps intended

"woman

for

(fig.

36),

at the

win-

Astarte),

Isis

and

colored glass or paste to heighten the effect of

Nephthvs, the infant Horus on a lotus flower,

the carving;

winged

in

other cases these colored inlays

56.

tvorj

panel

from

Samaria

ornamented with

genii

lotus

sphinxes.

flower

and

Work

Inul

in

design.

the

round

in-

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

103

Reconstruction of ivory inlays

37.

eludes lions intended as arm-rests for a chair or

throne

and a lionhead which once

38),

(fig.

tipped the handle of a dagger or similar object.


these

Stylistically,

known

and manv

school,

belong

ivories

them can be

of

well

to

dupli-

set

in

104

wooden panelling from Samaria.

media from the output

of Phoenician workshops.

Phoenician trade also carried these patterns into


early Greece; both the lotus chain

mette occur

in

and the

pal-

very similar shapes on painted

pottery vases from Rhodes. In origin, this art

is

cated at the former royal Assyrian palace at Nim-

closely allied to the general, pre-Israelite artistic

rud (some of the ivories found there might

in-

tradition of

deed have been

on

the

to those

loot

Samaria

of

fall

found

in

transferred

Other

Assyria

to

ivories fairly similar

Samaria have come

to light at

earlier stage of

much
bowls.

these are presumably bootv which the Assyrians

The

captured when campaigning

Damascus.

against

Hazael

All these ivories tend to repeat similar

standard motifs, and the better ones vary


in

of

of

execution.

Many

little

of the patterns are obviously

Egyptian origin; the idea of inlaying ivorv

with

colored

may

substances

Egyptian cloisonne work. In

also

details,

go

back

Other

rarer

pieces

are

it

a stone lionhead

With

mixture

this

inspiration of the

ed thus

Samarian

ivories belong-

to a school of craftsmen trained in the

Phoenician school. These ivory workers apparently

went

plv their trade wherever required;

to

part of an

unworked elephant tusk found

at Sa-

maria proves that some of the carving was done


quite possible that

some other

men were

local, Israelite in

descent or associations.

For the

existence

local

originally

of

carvers

is

trained

on

of

somewhat

school

crafts-

ivory

of

different

artistic

canons can be deduced from a consideration of


certain

ivorv

and bone carvings found

as

sites

other than Samaria. These include a lion-shaped

in all particulars.

derived

of

fashion on the later Phoenician metal

in

however, the

from Nimrud to which

does not, however, conform

no hint of the genre scenes

locally. It

an Asiatic derivation; thus a lion-headed handle


recalls

is

to

execution does not conform to Egyptian idiosvncrasis.

the other hand, only the

Phoenician art seems to be repre-

sented here; there

Arslan Tash, ancient Hadatta, in Syria; some of

On

Canaan.

Egyptian and

handle from T.

el

Farah

in the coastal plain;

Asiatic motifs, the ivories fall naturally within the

bone wand with a charging bull from T. en

mixed

Nasbeh north

artistic

tradition

which they have,


on

encountered
ed, in very

si

in

the

of

fact,

the

Phoenicians,

to

been ascribed. Motifs

ivories

nilar execution,

can

be

on works

matchin

other

of Jerusalem;

an ivorv box with

sphinx, a kneeling figure from

Jordan, and

Hazor by the upper

bone handle showing

genius and sacred tree from the same

winged
site.

ISRAELITE ART DURING THE PERIOD OF THE

105

seems

factor with these pieces

to

be that they are not only technically inferior to

more

the Samarian ivories, but also

among

detail

stylistic

The

motifs.

inspiration for these latter seems to

have come from two

We

in the line of

the North Syrian tradition in art than the latter;

they can be matched in

106

Ivorv lions from Samaria.

38.

The common

MONARCHY

by

consideration

directions.

can learn something about one of these

"Shema

the

of

well-known

the works of art found in the north during the

no isolated invention de novo.

ninth and eighth centuries, to which they belong.

larger class of

The

nically less successfully executed signets

on the handle from T.

lion

Farah shows

el

the solid outlining of the legs to which

we

refer-

red earlier; the kneeling figure on the ivory from

rael

contemporary

It

including tech-

and Phoenicia, and stretching down

from

to such

imprints on pottery have been found at T.

Nasbeh and Ramat Rachel. This tvpe

genius and sacred tree on the bone handle from

back

the same site recall the crude simplifications in

and bellv

vogue

cles)

suggest

unimportant;

that

imported
country

in

by

the

school

strongly

court,

ivory

of

inspired

the existence and prevalence of which

we had

occasion to notice in other spheres.

by North-Syrian-Canaanite

lastly refer to

another sphere of ap-

uced during the period of the


monarchy, namely the

Israelite

of

still

the

of

craft

and engraver. The early days


narchy

work was prodcutter

of the divided

mo-

witnessed the continued production

much rough and crude work

and geometric

in

the "blob"

"dark ages."

style of the

By

the

time of the House of Omri, however, there had

come

a remarkable revival.

A new

type of seal

(scarab or scaraboid)

was coming

Southern Syria and

Israel-Judah especially.

in

into

use in
It

gave the owner's name and often also his patronymic,

and frequently,

too,

glyptic art of the late second millenium B.C.E.,

istic

some decorative

is

itself

derived from the old and detailed


art.

Direct Assyrian art-

influence in Palestine can, of course, not be

ruled out; Israel had been in contact with Assvria

since the ninth century,

Jeroboam's

death,

which was

to

Assyria

and immediately
began

the

after

advance

lead to the extinction of the

Is-

raelite state.

and Judean
seal

mane

mouth and bodv mus-

found among the North Syrian

Babylonian seal maker's

art,

must

a tvpe

en

of seal goes

(the treatment of the

the open

hair,

the

carvers

who were

plied art in which a good deal of

to

details

its

which

derived

We

in

art

Western

the

to

Tyrian-dominated

knew

also

they

together

addition

Is-

crude simplifications as the stamp seals whose

Hazor has the exaggeratedly large head often

artistically

is

forms part of a

seals,

found among "Aramean" sculptures. The crude

at T. Halaf. In themselves, the pieces are

of

seal

the Servant of Jeroboam," for this seal

There
tion

of

is,

however, a second

which the

seals

Phoenician both as to

ment, and includes


is

common

its

strain of inspira-

give evidence.

This

is

motifs and as to treat-

much Egyptian

with Phoenician art

in

heritage, as

general.

Such

motifs were used by Phoenician craftsmen irres-

medium employed, on
seals, and presumably textiles. The
cutters may well have derived their
terns from them. We know from
pective of the

metal, ivory,
Israelite seal

stock of pat-

the

Biblical

record that Phoenician trade reached Israel (cp.


Ezekiel XXVII, 17), and a fragment of a Phoeni-

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

107

cian-type metal bowl has, in fact, turned

up

at

Megiddo. Other sources

of

inspiration

important. Mesopotanhan

in

origin are probably

are

108

less

the crescent and star, the svmbols of Sin and

which seems

to

first

on seals of the imperial period

in

(fig.

40a),

Ishtar.

The

appear
Assyria

cockerel,

is

motif

represented in Judea on the

splendid seal of Ya'azanyahu


travelled

also

during

there

favorite

39). This motif

(fig.

and became a great

Greece,

to

the

period

orientalizing

40b).

(fig.

These

doms

seals of the Israelite

and judean king-

by the mere frequency

are,

Assyrian seal showing cockerel motive.

4():i.

of their occur-

rence, an important source for the history of ap-

plied art in those

we

rivation, as

saw,

have

examples

two

countries. Their stvlistic de-

is

mixed; however, the better

everywhere

developed

marked bv good arrangement,

stvle

a feeling for line


an

o r n anient,

detail.

The Judean seals


are often marked
bv
in

elegancy

both

the drawing and

style

of

script,

while the seals


Ya'azanyahu seal
from T. en Nasbeh.

from the petty monarchies across the

Jordan

are

apt

to

be

stiff

the whole, the treatment


cial

is

and uninspired. On
purely linear; the

Judean "la-melekh" stamps

offi-

from the

differ

general run of private seals by going in for a design consisting essentially of simple surfaces sur-

rounded by curving border

On
in

the art of mural painting,

much

in

painting

the

of

contemporary

of

both cases the motifs of decoration were

in

borrowed

Western Asian

known

motifs were

Phoenician

and

other

metal goods,

etc.;

these

from

textiles,

in Israel,

but for some reason

thev entirely failed to evoke the same response.

There are indeed

rule.
if

few exceptions

to the general

vase from T. Qasileh figures a spirited

extremely shaggy horse; and a pot from T. ed

Duweir

two graceful

of

flower

lotus

Lachish)

(ancient

drawing

41).

(fig.

bears

an

incised

gazelles nibbling at a

(In

we

the latter case,

have a new and entirely unconventional applicaof an

tion

old Canaanite motif:

the two

anti-

thetically placed goats flanking the "sacred tree."

Yet

the

should
the

as

later

general
a

rule

stands.)

That

painting

whole have been avoided during

period

understandable;

lines.

of

Cyprus, or the immense popularity of painted

largely

ten-

frequency

the

when

potterv in Greece during the orientalizing period.

any

special

the more striking

is all

most varied kind on the pottery

For

turalistic

Tlii'

we compare

though without
dency towards na-

39.

embellishments. This

of
it

monarchy

the

was

time

is

when

perhaps
religious

favor

Assyrian royal palaces, no significant example

has survived

seems

to

in Israelite territory,

abomination

(XXIII,

Israelite painting
Israelite

though Ezekiel

have thundered against

is all

pottery,

Canaanites,

14-15).
the

unlike

this

impious

Our ignorance

of

more complete because


that

of

the

preceding

was hardly ever given painted

or-

namentation during the period of the monarchy.

The

patterns

tional

lines,

show
but

a sense for clear simple func-

make

little

attempt

at

other

40b.

The

cockerel

motive as shown in earlv Greek

art.

ISRAELITE ART DURING THE PERIOD OE THE

109

air,

apparently tended to
strict

and the
into

fall

plastic arts also

disfavor

in

the

mental climate engendered by the prophetic

revolution

and

successive

cultic

reformations.

But why the potter should have shunned representational art


less

when

the seal cutter did not

is

understood; on purely religious grounds the

making

images" might have caused

of "graven

more

offense than representation in

sions

only.

among

included

number
potters'
stock.

Perhaps

the

ranks

guilds

were

mainly

of the

is

monarchy

The end

(fig.

lands

passes out of the purview of these pages.

work

in

Judah within the body

Israel

is

politic

of direct in-

few words must, accordingly, be

said about the artistic progress of the Jews bet-

ween the "Return," and the time when Alexander

made an end

the Great

and opened up the East

of the Persian

Empire

Hellenism and Hel-

to

lenistic art.

Too
to

independence of

The

limited revival of the Southern state in the shape

terest to us.

42).

of the political

in 586 Judah succumbed to


The further development of the
which had made up the Northern kingdom

greater

at

of the

722 B.C.E., and

indeed to some extent an

the

to the Assyrians as earlv

of the Persian empire, however,

village

in

the Babylonians.

the Judean state and capital during the later days


of the

fell

cutters

of the

also

The remaining rump

seal

local

mixed tendencies

northern monarchv
as

decisive break

of the province of

members
of

and Judah marks

history of their art.

two dimen-

can only state the existence of this

divergence, which
illustration

of

members

their

of foreigners, while the

We

110

Gazelles nibbling at a lotus flower, on a pot from Lachish.

41.

reform was in the

MONARCHY

little is

define

some

its

known about
position

in

the post-exile temple

the history of

extent, the architecture

may have

art.

To

followed

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

Ill

'

112

l/*M

"

^"

''

i'.i
''iir.

"'

mw ,,

.WVr.

tf^m
x

\ ^\)

k'Av

i"

"'"V\\,.,

,>,

^saS^J fc

X\

O^P

>

iiu.

>

42.

the Decree of Cyrus

the old model:


4)

lavs

down

Gazelles nibbling from plants on a pot from pre-Israelite Lachish.

method

of construction

rows of great stones and a

row

Other

(Ezra VI,
(three

worthy

buildings
of

in

country

the

offer

comment. The "residency"

at

little

Lachish

ana-

develops the old-established "bit hilani" by the

logous to the building technique familiar from

addition of vaulting, an innovation perhaps im-

may have

ported from the East. The building has furnished

of timber)

the Solomonic sanctuary. In detail there

been significant differences:

the

decoration

in-

no architectural

details or

volving cherubim was apparently not repeated.

ing.

The

had no

The

special art of the

Josephus,

memory

of

VIII, 73).

writing

some centuries

later,

what cherubs looked like (Antiquities


The main impression achieved by the

building must have been due to proportions, material,

and perhaps decorative motifs of

representative

kind.

We

know

them, however, to say more.

too

little

non-

about

in

the

decline

fifth

is

ornaments worth notic-

marked
Judean

also in other fields.


seal cutter died out

century, killed perhaps

by the use

of Babvlonian models, or religious scruples. Al-

most the only manifestations of Palestinian


belonging to

this time, that are

the scratched drawings on

little

known

art

to us, are

limestone

altars,

such as have been discovered at Lachish, Gezer,

ISRAELITE ART DURING THE PERIOD OF THE

113

Samaria, and elsewhere, both


outside

43).

(fig.

suffices

It

compare these

to

how deep

with earlier work to see

scribblings

and

Palestine

in

the regression into rusticity and childlike draw-

had become. Even

ing

some

kept

still

lion in fig.

43

decay

in its utter

very

Oriental

this "art"

decorated with a star on

is

die

feature:
its

shoul-

an extremely ancient Near

der, thus continuing

The most important

feature in the history of art

Palestine during the Persian period

in

small part of which

by Jews), however,

was

is

(only a

occupied

at that time

the arrival of

new

traditions

114

The horsemen, frequently found


figure,

had

might

conceivably

then

was

so.

The cherub, found

Temple and elsewhere,

is

is

ever, the motifs


originally

employed are

connected
(especially

have

no proof
Solomon's

in

not by derivation or

with

the

how-

and often

foreign,

of

cults

other

Egvpt), though the religious

nature of the ornamental details

have been remembered. In

may

this

not always

connection,

it

seems worth recalling that the majority of Jews


at this time

found

it

possible to accept together

with the adherence to the Jewish

in the coastal plain, largely non-Jewish, continu-

which

and elsewhere

later

distribution especially Israelite. Essentially,

from abroad (the older Phoenician connections

ed, as Phoenician graves at Athlit

pottery

as

as

religious significance, but there

that this

nations

Eastern tradition.

MONARCHY

later

heretical.

cult,

elements

generations would have felt to be

This

is,

in

fact,

the time

when

there

prove; but they do not seem to have exercised

much

influence otherwise). Cypriote statuary

appears, as at T. es

Safi;

have evoked any

to

the

humble

first

it

now

seems, however, not

As against

local copies.

indications of

Greek

this,

artistic in-

fluence in the country are of considerable interest.

Yet there

Palestine

in

no

is

visible

things began to change.

Greek

coins,

Greek

and

vases,

art

Then
also

were entering the country. The

cial provincial

offi-

coinage of Judah was modelled on

Greek prototype:

impact of Greek

before the post-exile period.

imitated the Attic coins

it

featuring the owl. Another coin, found in

and probably

also

Philistine types

Jewish,

is

Hebron

based on Arabo-

which are likewise derived from

Greek models. In such small ways did Greek

make an impact

art first

in

Palestine.

This coming of Greek art provides, in fact, a


natural limit to our brief account of the historv
of art in Israel

the field
see

to
this

art

and Judah. Let us now review

we have
what

covered as a whole, and try

special

from the

features

artistic

(if

any)

divide

output of the neigh-

boring countries.

That

Israelite

and Judean

iod dealt with, were not

by matters
and

of a religious nature should

Israelite art

be

clear;

cannot thus be singled out for

any special contents. Similarlv,


to establish,

ed,

during the per-

art,

overmuch pre-occupied

among

the

the occurrence of

it

seems

difficult

common motifs employcommon Jewish religious

symbols as known to any significant degree

later.

jijJT^-

4 J.

Ornaments on

post-exilic

stone altars from Gezer.

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

115

existed in

Egvpt the schismatic temple

Elepan-

at

where an aberrant Judaism was clothed

tine,

in

which may one day be

art forms, the details of

revealed to us by excavations.

and Judean

Just as Israelite

any way dominated by


Yahwistic

cult,

from the

art

do not

so they

differ

origin

in

based on the Canaanite-North-

Syrian tradition, strongly shot through with Phoenician

traits.

negative religious influence can

700 B.C.E. onwards.

ca.
is

occasionally a surpris-

movement, seen

ing feeling for

as

were

it

in a

second and rendered with a few brief strokes.

consideration

have referred

two

of

which

drawings

may make

to earlier

we

our meaning

clear.

neighboring nations. They

of the

are, like the latter,

dedication to the

monarchy, from

At the same time, there

split

art are thus not in

their

of the

116

Let us look

at the

at a

by some unknown small-town

scratched

lotus

two gazelles nibbling

potter on a vessel from Lachish (fig. 41). There


is

no attempt

depth to the picture;

to give

it

is

perhaps be postulated to explain the apparent

purely two-dimensional, and in fact the horns of

absence of monumental sculpture, and not paint-

the gazelles consist of one single line only.

on pottery,

ing

time

the

after

the

of

House

and Judah were


more progressive count-

of Omri. In these matters Israel

parting

company with

the

the eighth, seventh, and sixth centuries, to

ries of

the west.

The Egyptian

and productive of a

influence felt in

special

and the forces behind the


art in

One

class

of sculpture,

orientalizing

of

rise

Greece were apparently not

Cyprus

Within the

seem
to

to

limits

thus

Israelite

set,

art

does

have developed certain attitudes which

some extent distinguish

it

in

of;

from the

art of the

of observation
lift

and a sense

Or

let

us look at an even

like

reduction

and

in the

case of relief, the juxtaposition of simple plain

made

which

more

instructive ex-

ample, the cockerel on the seal of Ya'azanyahu


39).

(fig.

corative motif was, as

we

The cock

this

common

as a de-

saw, spreading at that

time from Assyria to Greece. Yet the

way

in

which

motif was treated in the various

where

The Assyrian

seems to

of graceful line,

into the realm of genuine art.

it

Canaanites during the preceding period.


art

better. Yet, in spite of all

the drawing possesses a freshness, a truth

this,

countries

Israelite plastic

much

turies earlier did

neighboring nations, and also from that of the

of bodies to simple geometric forms;

way which

the Mesopotamian seal cutters cen-

fact,

from T. en Nasbeh

tion to certain fields of activity.

cross in a

a novice in Greece would not have been guilty

or resisted.

felt,

receives the impression of intentional restric-

and body

outlines of legs

The

it

appears

seal cutter

is

significantly different.

(fig.

40a) built up the

bird from carefully observed and minutely ren-

dered
very

detail;
fluffiness

everything
of the

is

there,

down

to

the

plumage. The early Greek

anato-

vase painters gave a fair amount of detail, ren-

mical correctness, naturalistic detail, or any evi-

dered in such a way as to produce a decorative,

dence of a canon of attitudes or proportions. The

indeed an almost heraldic, effect

surfaces.

results
tic;

There

little

is

mav sometimes

attempt

at

look strangely modernis-

thev differ from the work of Egyptian or

Phoenician

artists,

though North Syrian

("Ara-

maic") analogies might to some extent be found.


Israelite

drawing, as shown by seals or designs

scratched on pottery,

etc.,

is

likewise not inter-

ested in the representation of naturalistic detail.


In this respect

it

is

closely linked with the pot

(fig.

40b); early

Greek coin designers followed the same paths.

The Judean

version

is

significantly different

from

both the Greek and the Assyrian. The Assyrian's


naturalistic

and

The Greek's
for

plastic

detail

is

heraldic treatment

totally lacking.

and preference

flowing line are to some extent paralleled,

though the Judean work

is

much

less

involved.

Yet the cock rendered by the Judean seal cutter,


creature reduced to a few lines only,

paintings of the preceding Canaanite popular art;

but in sharp opposition to the better work of

onlv one of the whole group evincing signs of real

Semitic Mesopotamian glvptic

art.

It

shows, on

life;

those few lines are sufficient to

is

the

show the

the other hand, a fairly strong sense for flowing

pugnacious bird lowering his head aggressively

and elegant

and making

the Judean

sc

line,
ipt,

a tendencv also exemplified in


as found during the

later period

for his opponent. Naturalism achiev-

ed not through the accumulation of

detail,

but

ISRAELITE ART DURING THE PERIOD OF THE

117

by

"split

second" observation, reproduced

few outlines

only,

seal as of the

Lachish pot drawing

The horse from


more

of vision.

at

Judean
all

art,

but they seem to have

the neighboring countries.

in

liar to itself.

sense

for

observation,

not

we can

evoke a

city active,

III,

2-3:

Take, for instance, Na-

"The noise

of

whip, and the

prancing horses,

The horseman
and the
a slain,

This

and

lifteth

of

the

jumping

of the

chariots.

up both the bright sword

glittering spear:

and there

and a great number


is

and

is

a multitude

annals.

of carcasses..."

Homer, or

in

the Assyrian

Occasionally, at least, Judean

little

art

in

from the very

noisy, alert

and

witty; brilliant, gay,

seems

It

and curious of

in

some ways

Athens rather than a Heavenly Jerusalem;

and indeed, our study has repeatedly brought us

up against strong

links

with pre-classical Greece.

Prophetic teaching and religious reform were to


deflect the
nels,

the

very different from the detailed descrip-

tion of slaughter in

somehow

Their words seem to

strictures of the prophets.

and profoundly wordly.

detail.

sense

for

simple

and particularly

out of place in Judah

Jerusalem which

gift

for

liking

but gracious form; these things seem

things foreign; skeptical

similar,

and a sharp

elegancy,

combined with a

evoking

seems

times

noise of the rattling of the wheels,

royal

same school

118

shows signs of a vision and of an approach pecu-

second impressions by a few rapid strokes

at

without further

hum

and

possibly be permissible to recall here that

Judean poetry
split

T.

earlier

Such pieces are rare among the mass

no parallel

may

just discussed.

Qasileh, while

primitive, seems to belong to the

of mediocrity of

It

is

in

thus the basic feature of this

MONARCHY

mind

of the nation into different chan-

and the catastrophe

doom

of

of the old spirit. It

able to search out

what

it

is,

586 B.C.E. sealed


nevertheless, valu-

was, and to re-create

the background of Israel's religious evolution from

the scraps of evidence that yet remain to us.

JEWISH ART AT THE TIME OF THE SECOND TEMPLE


MAXIMILIAN COHEN

by

Jewish art

at the

time of the Second Temple

was born and grew against the background

of

cavations.

On

southern section of a large

the

courtyard surrounded on

by

sides

all

buildings,

Hellenistic influence on the spiritual life of the

stands a hall, raised on three steps and open across

Jewish people. The Greek conception of the nature

its

now began

beauty

of

to

among

penetrate

the

educated strata of the nation; even under the

Hasmoneans,

notwithstanding

the

struggle

for

On

whole length.

the western

side

the

of

courtyard, a portal with two columns leads to a

long hall and a small room bordering upon

it;

on the north and east sides are the living quarters.

liberation

from Hellenistic oppression and tyranny,

The

was

a growing understanding of the essence

architectonic decoration are missing, so that re-

there

and principles of Greek

art,

which were adopted

and integrated within the compass

Among

national values.

Jewish

of

the militant group which

stood at the head of the nation and which raised

was an ever-growing understanding

the nature of art and of

its

function in national

However, the acclimatization of Hellenistic


Jewish

life.

art to

resulted from the need for artistic ex-

life

pression alone;

by no means

it

tional connection

signified a func-

with or dependence on the Hel-

"Weltanschauung." The understanding of

lenistic
this

of

basic

truth

spread increasingly

educated, and reached

its

among

the

height during the reign

But

The
iles

we may assume

structure of

return to Palestine of a generation of ex-

who had grown up under

Persian culture, as

virtually impossible.

is

that

remnants of

all

decoration and the

its

columns followed the Persian pat-

its

tern.

Temple

Ezekiel's account of the

the

describes

around
terms:

palm

the

"and
trees,

frieze

whole
it

high

in

building,

(XII, 18-19)

relief,

which ran
following

the

in

was made with cherubins and

so that a

palm

tree

was between

cherub and a cherub; and every cherub had two


faces; so that the face of a

palm
lion

tree

on the one

on the other

side,

side;

it

man was toward

and the face

the

young

of a

was made through

the house round about." This type of front

common

of Herod.

columns and

construction of the front

the banner of national-religious and spiritual revival, there

capitals of the

all
is

in the decorative treatment of the Per-

sian building of these days

Again,

palace at Persepolis.

e.g.,

on Darius'

Josephus describes

well as the direct influence of that culture, which

the "Babylonian curtain" which covered the doors

was encouraged by the Persian

of the

nistrators

stamp on the
at

rulers

and admi-

of Judea, could not but impress their


first

developments of Jewish culture

the beginning of the Second

Historical descriptions

Temple

period.

and archaeological excava-

tions enable us to reconstruct fragments of this

and thus

culture,

influence

to

draw conclusions

as to

on the development of Jewish

art

its

in

The

characteristic

white

and purple and roval purple;

plan of a Palestine house


is

evident in the remains

of a residence discovered during the Lachish ex-

and the

work

of the curtain was marvelous,

for

colors

had not been applied

but so as

to

show the
In

other

artlessly,

these

picture of the whole world."

words,

the

entrance

to

inner

the

Temple, which had an area of about 40 sq.m.,

was completely covered by

later times.

of the Persian period

Temple: "Before them there was a Baby-

lonian curtain, craftily wrought in sky-blue and

hung

at a height of 9

colored

curtain

m. The use of curtains

stead of doors inside the building

in-

was common

throughout the Middle East. In palaces and

tern-

JEWISH ART AT THE TIME OF THE SECOND TEMPLE

121

The Golden Candelabra from

44.

pies

they were

situation,

richly

made

in

Presumably

if

such

would then have been

draw them
Hence,

aside

the

heavy

in

could

curtains

lintel of

the

Temple

one piece,

virtually

for

impossible

it

to

on days of public adoration.

we must assume

consisted of

befitting

a fringe of gold-thread

hung from the


they had been made

not have been

door

style

Temple

covered with colored applique

work and decorated with


tassels.

the

that the

Temple

curtain

two parts hung separately from the

(Arch of Titus, Rome).

in Jerusalem

lintel,

122

but forming one single composition-unit.

The method

of

hanging such curtains has already

been investigated

in all details

in the course of

the excavations of the Persian royal palaces of


Persepolis
reliefs

and Susa. They are shown on stone

from the time of Darius or Xerxes, where

we may

study the hanging arrangements and the

decorative composition.

The shape
delabrum

(fig.

of

the

seven-armed Temple can-

44), preserved on the well-known

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

123

45.

relief of

Reconstruction of the Tobiad Palace

Rome,

the Arch of Titus in

and

121

an

is

interest-

Iraq-el-Amir, Transjordan.

at

fluence in Palestine

may be

discerned. Attic pot-

instructive instance of Persian influence

tery of the black-and-red figurine style has not

on the decoration of the sacral implements of the

only been found in the Hellenized South of the

ing

Temple. The lower part of the stem, shaped


a

bunch

ristic

of leaves

hanging downwards,

of the bases

of

is

like

characte-

Persian columns and the

country, but even in the North. But the decisive


factor

the

in

and continuity

acclimatization

Hellenistic influences in Palestine

Graeco-Macedonian colonies

of

were no doubt
Middle

decorations of Persian furniture and other objects

the

of handicraft of the period.

East in general, and in Palestine in particular.

The comparatively short duration of the Perhegemonv explains why most of the spare

sian

remains of the period appear to be mere imitations

no attempt

of Persian art, with

adaptation

to

the

new

conditions

of

at artistic

different

Except

for Jerusalem

build

their

principles

tine

Alexander the great's conquest


closes the

ween the

and the surrounding

The new Greek

Hellenization.

may be
II

first

of

the

East

chapter of the titanic struggle bet-

and the Occident.

cultures of the Orient

the

area,

the whole country underwent a rapid process of

of

classical

to

town-planning
of

for-

(first

Milatus )

Maresha

taken as an instance of a town in Pales-

built

according to the Hippodamic

strictly

scheme. This
area,

began

settlers

towns systematically, following the

mulated by Hippodamus

surroundings.

in

little

had two main

north-south

and

town, only 23,000 sq.m.


streets

running

east-west.

The

in

at right angles

regular

grid-

not onlv the time of the penetration of Greek

pattern of the building blocks includes the Agora

culture throughout the conquered territories, but

(the central square of the Greek city, correspond-

It is

also

the period of extensive Graeco-Macedonian

colonization,

which now

for

carried out on a large scale.

It

the

first

time was

must, however, be

pointed out that as early as the beginning of


the 5th century B.C.E., the

first

signs of Attic in-

ing to the

on

all

Roman Forum), which

citv wall

with

The century
had

is

surrounded

sides by roofed colonnades, as well as the


its

towers at the four corners.

of Ptolemaic rule over Palestine

a considerable influence

on the development

JEWISH ART AT THE TIME OF THE SECOND TEMPLE

125

The

of the art of the Jewish population.

Tobiad

the

display

Palace
the

all

Iraq-el-Amir

at

45)

Alexandrine

of

characteristics

ruins of

(fig.

and decoration. The excavation

architecture

the building

is

we

incomplete, so that

of

are not

126

them." This description allows us


the

Hasmonean mausoleum.

to

reconstruct

was apparently

It

very high rectangular structure built from ashlars

which served

of the

upper storey

as a base for the

monument,

consisting of seven base struc-

form of towers surrounded by

pilas-

the

ters

and crowned by pyramidal or conical

tops.

remains of a large entrance hall with a two-

The

wall-surfaces

column

small

corated

large

similar instance of a sepulchral

yet able to study the nature of

On

and decoration.

tecture

portal;

internal archi-

its

north

the

on either side

are

are

there

rooms, one of which contains a staircase.

opening flanked by two small ones leads from the

Along the wall

hall to the inside of the building.

we

The

discern the remains of pilasters.

decorat-

ive treatment of the Corinthian capitals of this

building

closely related to the Alexandrine style,

is

with the characteristic lack of the central volutes


of the classical

we

el-Amir

Graeco-Roman

motif consisting

find, instead, a plant

by a small ring of dividing

of a stem surrounded
leaves,

At Iraq-

capital.

ending at the top

two flower-and-leaf

in

patterns pointing in opposite directions surmount-

ed by

tendrils.

The

decorated by a wide
of

lions

frieze,

approaching

each

racter of Persian decoration,

The

and

tails,

Hasmoneans

of the

cover

to

window
Modi'in

in

except the data given by Jose-

phus and the Book

of

Maccabees:

leum with seven pyramids

it

was

from

arising

mausoupper

its

ing

latter source provides us

description:

"Now Simon

ment on the grave


and raised

with the followbuilt

of his father

high and embellished

it

ed stones inside and

Syrian-Hellenistic

of

rum and the

seen

Temple imple-

table of shew-bread, as depicted on

The candelabrum,

the Arch of Titus in Rome.

made by

may be

seven-armed candelab-

as the base of the

order of Judah the Maccabee, was a

one robbed from the Temple bv

replica of the

The

Antiochus Epiphanes and taken to Syria.

new candelabrum was placed on

differs

from

monu-

and brothers
it

with polish-

And he

its

dragons on the

have human

a base resembl-

Hellenistic prototype:

of

reliefs

the Didymian bases

for the Jerusalem

the faces of animals.

while the

on the base of the can-

faces, those

delabrum intended

The

table

Temple bear

of shew-bread

according to the testimony of Jose-

phus, "thuse at Delphi."

It

stood on legs "whose

lower halves resembled the legs which the Dorians

make

for their couches." It

in fact, that the legs of


like lions'

part.

The

influence

the decorations of such

in

resembles,

we know nothing

the

time of the Hasmoneans

then being finished. In one detail the Jewish base

much

here a

their heads.

Of the tomb

first

schematic cha-

stiff

the pilasters flanking the central upper

by

monument dating
century B.C.E. mav still be seen at

Typically,

even

in Transjordan.

art at the

ments

ships.

Apollo at Didyma, the front of which was just

we have

lion's

Sueida

were de-

pilasters

weapons and

of

the

flanking

allow the upper ends of the outer pilasters to

disappear behind the

from the

between the

reliefs

showing two pairs

does not hesitate to

artist

with

ing the bases of the columns in the temple of

other,

upper window. Instead of the

freer treatment.

building was

of the

front

tures in the

The

is

well-known,

Greek beds were shaped

paws.

coins of the age of Persian domination at

the beginning of the Second

Temple period

lowed Greek patterns, and lacked


their decorative treatment.

The

first

fol-

originality in

coins of this

built

period (fourth century B.C.E.) bear figures from

seven pyramids, one opposite the other, for his

the Greek pantheon and are only distinguished

father, his

mother and

at

the rear.

his four brothers.

And he

decorated them artfully, and around them he set


large pillars.

And on

the shapes of

all

top of the pillars he wrought

manner

of

weapons

for a

mem-

ory forever, and beside them he sculpted ships,


that those

who go down

to

the sea might see

by the
of the

inscription

Judea

of this period

of a

YHD

found

man wearing

at

Gaza,

we

On

a coin

see the

head

Greek copper helmet. The

reverse bears the picture of a bearded


ting on a

name

the Aramaic

district in Persian times.

god

sit-

winged chariot and holding an eagle

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

127

12S

Ill

Notwithstanding the

descriptive material

rich

Second Temple period found

relating to the

Gentile as well as in Jewish sources, there


little

is,

in

too,

general awareness of the cultural tendencies

of these times.

The Jerusalem
the

seat

of Herod's days

the

of

glorious

was not only

Temple,

and

rebuilt

enlarged by the king at the height of his impetuous energy;

it

was no

the city of the re-

less

splendent stadium, of the amphitheatre, the gym-

nasium and the bouleuterion (council-house)


a

city

receptive to the Hellenistic spirit whose

symbol, the golden eagle of Rome, perched above


the

Temple

mentality,

gates.

The new

which began

trends of Hellenistic

to gain currency

among

the Jews of those days, developed in course of

time into an attempt to reconcile two conflicting

Weltanschauungen. In the
this

field

of creative art

new spirit expressed itself in the introduction


human shape, and even in the use of figures

of the

and scenes from the Graeco-Roman pantheon.


46.

"Pillar

would be wrong

Absalom". Kidron Valley, Jerusalem

<>t

It

to regard these ideas as result-

ing only from the assimilatory tendencies of certain circles.


in

the

coin

hand. Technically and

left

comes

different

close to Attic standards.

coin

was found

the profile of a shaven

ed hair held together


a

diadem

at

man

ces relating to this period

is

completely

that the patriarchal house

which continued and

Bet-Zur.

It

shows

with smoothly-comb-

in front

bv something

like

shape of a ribbon. The reverse

in the

shows a woman's head, depicting Astarte, over


the inscription "beqa" (=half).

Around her neck

the goddess wears a pearl necklace.

On

The

profil.

scanty,

it

is

known

transmitted the tradition of Hillel the Elder had

keen aesthetic sense and did not object

representations of the
tal

human

figure for

ornamen-

vast

graveyard

stretches

for

several

miles

on both sides of the road which enters Jerusalem

is

faces bear an archaic, ex-

pressionless smile.

fundamental change

in the choice of

numis-

matic subject occurs on the coins of the Hasmo-

nean kings. The new


consciousness

is

1\

first

-awakened
of

all

continuation of the use of


coins,

plant or fruit motifs.

The

spirit of national

reflected in the dis-

human

and the substitution of

ritual

likenesses on

symbols and

influence of the Syrian

coinage max, however, be discerned

in

the cor-

nucopias on the coins of John Hyrcanus and the


anchors on some coins struck by Alexander Jannaeus.

to

purposes.

both coins

the eyes appear en-face, though the whole head

shown en

While evidence from rabbinic sour-

the

artistically,

47.

Tomb

of Zechariah, Kidron Valley, Jerusalem.

JEWISH ART AT THE TIME OF THE SECOND TEMPLE

129

48.

from the north,


his

as

Tombs

though to delay the wayfarer on

journey to the capital.

On

both sides

monuments, hewn out

rise

of the

living

These are quarried out of the flank

of the

sepulchral
rock.

Part of Frieze,

of the Kings, Jerusalem.

cription of

Queen

one of them

of Adiabene, just mentioned,

lower part of

this

from the rock and


ed, while the

chamber leads down beneath ground

some instances the monument

ed by a structure of ashlars

(fig.

is

crown-

46). Other me-

hewn

morials form a single architectonical unit,

out of the rock in one complete piece: these are

mausolea

family

47).

(fig.

Pausanias,

the

author of the "Description of Greece" (2nd century C.E.)

admiringly compared the

built

by Queen Helena

leum

for her dynasty

of the

Kings)

nassus,

wonders

of

Adiabene

(now known

monument

and

in

hill-side.

which has been destroy-

ashlars. Originally, the

whole

30 m. Steps

the rock, 9 m. wide, led to the funeral

dug 10 m. deep

In order to

make room

the inner part of the tomb,

into the

for this

and

for

some 10,000 cubic

meters of rock had to be quarried and removed.

Surmounting the upper

of the

three steps and has

the

middle and two

hewn

part,

rose three sepulchral

The gatewav

48),

a fuller des-

from

part,

courtvard, which was

by pyramids.

and palaces.

may be gained from

hewn

Tombs

idea of the structure and decoration of

these tombs

built

as the

decorative execution, these graves often recall the

Some

was

ashlar,

of the world. In their architectonical

which dates

comparatively well preserv-

is

upper

structure reached a height of about

mauso-

which was reckoned among the seven

fronts of temples

ed,

as a

with the mausoleum of Halicar-

of the

enormous monument was hewn

mountains. Their slanting sides serve as a tectonic

level. In

the mausoleum

from the end of the Second Temple period. The

element of the tomb, while the entrance to the


sepulchral

130

which was

built

tomb, which

raised on

is

two monolithic columns


pilasters

at the

sides,

out of the rock. Below the triglyphs

we

find a

wide decorative

ing the entrance,

from

monuments topped

composed

frieze

of pine

in
is

(fig.

surmountcones sur-

rounded bv leaves and other leaves and

fruits

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

131

49.

Detail

Tombs

and

tion of elements of different plants

of various
units,

naturalistic,

characteristic

is

period.

The

naturalistic

stvlized

of

fruits, or

and geometrical

Palestine

art

in

approach and the

this

free-

of execution evident on this frieze exemplifv

the high level attained by decorative art in Palestine at the close of the period of the

The

ple.

an

Second Tem-

leaves do not conform to any strict de-

corative pattern, but freelv overlap


in

of the Kings,

interesting

and are shown

foreshortening.

The

stronglv-

sculptured relief of the frieze resolves the deco-

and shadow,

rated surface into patches of light

which

fill

As against

the
this,

whole
the

area

new

with

trends

in

and

its

of a

part of the

cube standing on

as a

corative

nean

era.

ti

itment of these areas in the

Hasmo-

monument

is

in the

a large postament,

concave conical

flower with six petals.

form

ending

roof,

ending

in a

round drum decorated

with a rope-like raised ring (terus) provides the


transition

from cube

of the

sides

cube

is

to

cone.

Each

of the four

decorated with two Ionic

half-columns touching the wall, while the corners

the

with quarter-columns attached to

pilasters

The Doric-Greek triglyph, the bases of


columns with their cyma reversa which recall

Persian patterns, and the compositional principle


of a tholus superimposed on a cubic body,

mixtum compositum

late Hellenistic

lack of decoration, in contrast with the rich de-

is

shaped

on a bare, undecorated surface. The cornices and

remarkable

46),

is

up

for their

(fig.

an Egvptian cavetto cornice. The upper storey

bunches of grapes, garlands and acanthus leaves

capitals of the pilasters are

Tomb

in

them.

accentuation by unconnected

Kidron Valley,

architecture of the Jerusalem tombs of this time.

Jewish art

above

called Absalom's

The lower

have

reflected in the discontinuation of the frieze

the entrance

commonly

in the

another characteristic instance of the monumental

decoration.

towards the end of the Second Temple period are

Jerusalem.

The famous monument

49). This combination within one composi-

(fig.

dom

of Frieze,

132

to a

The Tomb
garded

as

and Roman period.

of Zechariah

(fig.

47) must be re-

belonging to the same kind of family

sepulchre.
also

add

characteristic of the

among

Situated near Absalom's

Tomb, it is
monu-

the most interesting funerary

JEWISH ART AT THE TIME OF THE SECOND TEMPLE

133

ments of the Kidron Valley.

Its

architectonical

Tomb,

construction resembles that of Absalom's

from which

it is

134

distinguished only by the heavily

stressed Egyptian-style cornice

and by the pyramid

which crowns the composition. The surmounting


of sepulchral

mid

is

monuments by

a geometrical pyra-

a usual motif all over the Eastern Mediter-

ranean at the end of the Hellenistic period.

Even the

(fig.

walls

50).

wall built

decoration

architectonic

of the southwest part of

and particularly parts

wall,

by Herod

the Patriarchs
still

turrets of the cities of this

for

The remnants

Temple

the

and

were objects

time

to

surround the Graves of

Hebron

in

of the

(fig.

51), which are

extant and in good condition, allow us to

study the

treatment of this

architectonic

of structure.

The

front of the structure

type

was

di-

vided horizontally into two areas. The lower part

was smooth, constructed


upper

part,

slightly

set

of

enormous

ashlars.

The

back, was divided into


Wall of the Graves of the Patriarchs, Hebron.

51.

closely-placed vertical strips, alternately recessed

and protruding
pilasters

was

so that

created.

se/erity of the base

a pattern

The
with

contrast
its

of closely-set

sonrv and the decorative airiness of the upper

between the

part of the wall produces an impression of re-

heavy ashlar ma-

monumentalitv

markable

and

grace

(fig.

51).

This building style shows marked Hellenistic

in-

fluences.

Particular

care

was devoted

the

to

architect-

onic decoration of the inside of the roval towers

and palaces. The towers were constructed

as for-

combining the functions of royal

tresses,

resid-

ences and defense works; containing a complex


of living rooms, halls, baths, armories

vation-posts for the garrison, they

and obser-

were equally

capable of serving as residences or as fortresses.

According

Tower

to Josephus, the

of Phasael in

Jerusalem was "like unto a roval palace"

in rich-

ness of decoration and beauty of internal archi-

Of the Hippicus Tower, Josephus says


the splendor of its structure and the beautv

tecture.

that
of

its

decoration "sought

of the

its

like

among

whole world." Both were surpassed bv the

Antonia

fortress,

built

bv Herod

to

northern approach to the Temple. In


mentalitv and the richness of

WBf^^ *,/
50.

tion, this

palace, such as

Reconstruction of south-eastern corner


of Herod's

Temple

was the prototype

(after Chipiez).

ces
at

of

the towers

we

Gallienus

its

of the

guard the
its

monu-

internal decora-

Roman

fortified

find, for instance, in the pala-

at

Antioch and of Diocletian

Spalate. Occasionally, the

upper storey of the

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

135

36

Stucco plaster work, vault of Hulda Gate, Jerusalem.

front of these tower-forts

was

inlaid

colored stones set into cement, so that a mosaiclike effect


ly,

for the

Jerusalem was built on four

with small

City" or "Upper Market" was connected with the

was achieved. This accounts, obvious-

Temple by means

name

Central Valley (the Tyropoeon, or Cheesemakers'

of "Psephinus" ("Mosaic Tower")

given to the tower on the northern side of the

From

Vallev).

the

is

Archaeological excavations

in

Palestine have

thus far produced but few examples of architec-

and decoration of the beginning

of Herod's

reign; but thev are sufficient to give us

pression of the art of this period.

what Josephus Flavius had

and the

the architecture of the time.

The

the opposing influences of East

which gave Herodian

The

niality.

which
tely

within

some im-

Thev confirm

to sav about the

mentality, the artistic level

<

monu-

originalitv of

conflict

between

and West

is

the

art its characteristic

rapid development of architecture,


a

short

period

of

time

comple-

changed the appearance of the towns of

Palestine,
activity.

must be attributed

His work

to Jerusalem,

the

two bridges spanning the

"Lower

Temple Square on

these tunnels,

IV

factor

of

David" two tunnels led

wall of Jerusalem.

ture

The "Upper

hills.

in

this field

to Herod's febrile

was not confined

though he enriched the capital by

a wealth of magnificent buildings.

mentioned

Gate, and

a fair

as

main elements

ed

is

Hill.

One

Talmud by

this

name

the

called the

tunnel

of

Hulda

Double Gate.

may be
art

regarded

and of the

of the Jewish art of those times.


hall,

which has a square ground

in the

middle by a monolithic column. The


capital

leaves

of

with long,

monolith,

the

alternating

with

acanthus,

but

without volutes or tripartition of the leaves,


a

Hellenistic

tal.

of

covered by four stone cupolas, support-

Corinthian

smooth

Temple

example of Herodian

The entrance
plan,

to

of

to the southern part of

the

nowadays

The entrance

"City

or

comparatively well preserved,

still

in the

is

City"

On two

adaptation

of

an

of the four cupolas

Egyptian

we

teresting remains of the stucco plaster

still

is

capi-

find in-

work which

once covered them completely. The central circular area of

one of these cupolas

(fig.

52)

is

except for a protuberance in the middle.


of the cupola consists of a triple

smooth,

The rim

wreath of leaves,

JEWISH ART AT THE TIME OF THE SECOND TEMPLE

137

The middle space

interrupted by four rosettes.

decorated with eight squares, symmetrically

is

arranged.

completely surrounds the squares, which are

fill-

it

one of the

examples

finest

of stoal architecture in those days.

Josephus' description of the Temple, as well

bunches of grapes

leafy vine bearing

made

building

this

138

Talmud, mainly

as that of the

relates

mea-

its

ed with geometrical designs and cassette patterns.

surements; consequently, they enable us at best

The general

to

character

which the pure,

of

The composition

decorative art of the period.

Hulda Gate

and complicated basket-weaving motif

rich

on the upper part of the cupola

essentially

to both

the vine. Characteristic of this period,

is

are pilasters with

too,

is

The decorative element common

cupolas

of

recalls the

monocentric style of cupola treatment.

classical

Greek.

is

characteristic of the Jewish

is

the second cupola of the

The

of

geometrical pattern

stylized

the main subject,

composition,

this

narrow cornice, quite

Hasmonean

unlike the rich cornices of the

Of the terminal

gate

tunnel

the

of

period.

nothing

At the end of the tunnel there was

remains.

doubtless a building which architectonically and


decoratively harmonized with the royal basilica

and the colonnades

The Temple
ts lity, set

we

still

Temple

of the

find traces in

many

some

monumen-

buildings, of

and

plan.

itself

we know

The great opening which


Temple hall allowed the masses

nothing.

gave access to the

assembled
look

which

of the contemporary

structure

its

About the decoration of the Temple

in

the court before the building to

and witness

inside

"For

splendor:

its

it

was directed towards the reaches

of the heavens

and the vastnesses

which have no

of the world,

Wars

limit" (Josephus,

The

5.V.4.).

Temple were covered with

walls of the

gold; presumably, the

metal decoration was in the general style of Herodian art

(fig.

Of

53).

particular interest

is

the

description of the "golden vine which stood at

the entrance of the

Temple

hall

trained on supports" (Mishnah

find

ibid )

purely

the

tall

III, 2, 8).

man:

as

grape or bunch of

leaf or

grapes (of gold) would bring


the vine"

and which was

Middot

bunches of grapes were as

Its

"Whosoever offered a

square.

impressive

itself, in its

the pattern for

form only a general impression of

it

and hang

In the Jerusalem
architectonical

it

on

Temple we

theme

of

the

Jerusalem tombs. In his description of the Temple,

doorway combined with

Josephus mentions the royal basilica built by He-

mainly intended to carry the golden vine with

rod as a monumental entrance to the Temple

its

square. This basilica, actually a basilica-like stoa

Jewish

with two storeys of columns, was directly con-

occurs in the pillars of Yakhin and Boaz, which

nected with the bridge over the central valley

were placed before the doorway of Solomon's

which led from the Upper City

One hundred sixty-two


thirty feet tall, hewn of white

hill.

to the

Temple

nave with

its

in

a long perspective

form along the

Temple

The high and

square.

The

lofty

central

two-storey rows of columns evenly

illuminated the inside of the stoa and reinforced


the plav of light and

work

wings.

and the

The thousand-foot-long

across the

relief-

ceilings of the

stoa

was open

whole length of the southern area of the

Temple square;
side.

shadow on the deep

of the cedar roofing

its

probable that the resplendent de-

had

rich decoration of the Corinthian capitals aroused

general admiration.

It is

limestone, with Attic

of a stoa constructed in basilica


of the

Temple.'

a favorite motif of

similar decorative principle already

velopment of Jewish architecture

Thev formed

whole southern part

art.

monolithic columns,

pediments, had been set on bases and aligned


four parallel rows.

branches and grapes

supporting structure

entrance was on the narrower

The monumental impulse

of the planning of

is

echo

its

in

in

Herod's time

the neighboring countries. This

proved by the remains of the small temple of

Ba'al Sha'amin discovered in the course of the

excavations at Siah in Syria.


this

was

though

it

begun

shortly

The

after

construction of

Herod's

death,

was not completed before the second

half of the

first

century C.E.

The

capitals here

are exactly similar to those in the portal of the

Hulda Gate. In the decoration


the Siah

Temple

an

of the entrance to

ornamental frieze crown-

ed by a vine with an eagle

in the center

we

also discern, notwithstanding the primitive execution,

the influence of the Jerusalem Temple.

As already

stated, the royal basilica

nected with the bridge which led from

was conit

to the

139

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

40

3
6a

>

Q.

<M

:-'
'*,

:H.

JEWISH ART AT THE TIME OF THE SECOND TEMPLE

141

Upper

The remains

City.

which

of this bridge,

have been preserved, enable us

Upper

City,

142

which stretched down towards the

its

Central Valley, appeared like a mosaic in which

dimensions and to form an impression of the mo-

the white patches formed bv the crowded houses

numental conception

of

the

Jerusalem in those days.

The

more than 50

establish

to

town planners

of

which was

bridge,

wide and rose more than 70

feet

were interrupted by the green of


on the

roofs

flat

trees

and plants

and by the flowers cultivated

in the courtyards,

and

in

the gardens of the rich.

feet above the central valley, formed the final

section of Jerusalem's

ted the

was
a

main

street,

Temple with Herod's

The bridge
basilica; they had

common

and formed a connected

axis

by the entrance

linked

unit,

architec-

The

gate.

decoration of the gate corresponded in style with

and

that of the basilica

Temple
to

the

square. At

its

of the colonnades on the

western end the bridge led

square

central

of

Upper

the

the

City,

Xystus. As the level of the bridge lay below that


of

Upper

the

City,

stairs

palace.

a continuation of the royal

tonical

which connec-

were constructed

to

The philosophies

of life

of the East

West, which met and fused at the different levels


of the Jewish population, inevitably

Greek architecture, the Jewish builder adopted


Greek

Terms

traklin

(stoa), etc., frequently occur in


to

Greek Agora or market place, was, together with


Jerusalem's
it,

main

which was

street

parallel to

connecting Herod's palace with the Temple

in

Together with the basic principles of

top was surmounted by an arched gateway, which

corresponding in function

The

spirit of the

the country, or reflected the continuous Oriental


tradition.

formed the

Xystus,

their

which had obtained currency

Hellenistic trends

also

The

found

expression in the architecture of the houses.

house-plan either conformed to the

lead directly from the Xystus to the bridge; the

east front of the Xvstus.

and the

the

Yet

terminology.

akhsadra

(triclinium),

we know

such

(exedra),*

about the pa-

laces of the Jewish aristocracy of the period.

any attempts

their type or structure.

We

stoe

Talmudic sources.

virtually nothing

of data prevents

as

Lack

at reconstructing

cannot even say whe-

the most populous part of the city and the fa-

ther they were essentially large dwelling-houses,

meeting place of the Jerusalemites. Jose-

or whether they followed the old Assyrian-Persian

vorite

phus has nothing

to say

about the architectonical

structure of this square; but

assumption that

it

its

name

all

separate buildings with different functions. Jose-

sides

phus mentions the places of Queen Helena of

by a roofed colonnade.

The
time

layout

is

of

graphy and

Jerusalem's

history.

was unlike

capital

lenistic cities of the

streets

in

As

in

Herod's
topo-

city's

street plan of the

Judean

that of the other great Hel-

Near East.

all

It

was only

new

after

devoid of

relief.

The

been modernized

it

Hasmonean

was situated

Upper

at

City,

and had

We

possess,

under Agrippa.

however, interesting information about Herod's

based

on Josephus' descriptions

ried out at

Masada and from

were

fronts of the houses

decoration;

on

ground

Only the doorposts and

of the houses of the rich bore a

ed

the end of the slope of the

the

contemporary Hellenistic

the
floor

houses were hardly indicated by any archidevice.

of

results of archaeological research car-

show some

were practically without windows; the entrances

tectonic

speaks

royal

to

side of the street, the walls of the

to the

where he

and on the

architectonic

all

'

palace, he only remarks that

one

signs

that the

the external aspect of Jerusalem's streets

was monotonous. The

instance

on, only in passing. In the

quar-

Upper City began

of planning.
cities,

The

Hasmoneans

the time of the


ters of the

Adiabene and so

connected with the

closely

of

the

justifies

was surrounded on

and formed a harmonious composition

tradition

tion

palaces,

of

the partial excava-

Herod's palace at Jericho.

consisted,

combined within one


each with

The former

appears, of three separate buildings,

it

its

own

single

architectural

unit,

function within the general

purpose of the palace. Each building formed a


separate independent unit with

its

own

internal

lintels

modest sculptur-

steep and closely built slope of the

seat,

The exedra

in Greek, building

where the disputations

of the

was

a recess, with raised

learned took

place.

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

143

144

palace in Jerusalem

some

to

is

extent compensated by Josephus'


description.

was

It

built with le-

gendary splendor and with the


architectonic

elan

of

The

its

builder.

that

richness of

overshadowed

execution

Temple

characteristic

We

itself.

its

the

must assume

palace resembled the

this

instances of Oriental palace ar-

known

chitecture

ven special names


Reconstruction of Ecce

54.

Gate, Jerusalem, (after Wazinger).

Herod's private living quarters were

courtyard.

southern sector of the palace; the repre-

in the

sentative

and administrative sections

Long

thern part.
so

side,

Homo

with small rooms on each

halls

Oriental

of

characteristic

architecture,

surrounded the courtyard of the palace on three

Two

sides.

long

placed opposite each other,

halls,

served as ceremonial rooms of the private wing.

According to Josephus,
"on the western

summit

closes off the

this

slope...

palace which was built

below the wall which

of the mountain,"

had

a nor-

Roman

the king's

"Caesareum" and the

"No

building

to this palace,
It

in

world

the

which was

in

every

was surrounded by a wall

from which towers arose

at

which contained banquet


guests.

Who

kinds used in building

beams which

size

in

anything which the

it;

human

four corners were towers sixty cubits

its

rooms inside and

of the

and the baths was ample and

of the halls

and everywhere there arose

pillars

and the walls and

single stone,

floors

made

rich,

of

one

were covered

top of

the second of the two peaks below the

Mount Masada, where, according

surrounded bv a row of columns, have been

uncovered.

The mountain-side

served

itself

south wall, Inning half-columns sunk into

its

The

capitals

The

order of the late Hellenistic period.


sides of the

with ashlars.

it.

steep

peak below the wall were covered

The northern

also decorated inside

wall was presumably

and outside with

half-colu-

mns. Those on the outside must have recalled


the

way

in

which the upper part

of

Herod's

palace at Jericho was decorated with pilasters.

The

lack

of

archaeological

data

on

Herod's

hundreds of

manner

of shapes,

conveniences and mostly fur-

Rows

of colonnades inof

The palace was surrounded by

gardens as by a sea of greenery; wide avenues of


crossed,

trees

and near them there were ponds


jets of

ed through copper ornaments"

The
in

architecture

of

Herod's

arched gate
called
tion

is

its

the

still

reflects

of Oriental

may be found

in

an

preserved in Jerusalem, the so-

Homo

Ecce

Gate

(fig.

54).

Its

construc-

a characteristic instance of the architecture


time. It stood within the Antonia fortress,

and served

as

fort's

an architectonic-decorative element
internal structure.

of the gate has


it

palaces

instance of the treatment of archways in

the streets of the towns

in

(Wars 5.IV.4).

Hellenistic art.

An

of

water spout-

an interesting way the interaction

and

as

were characteristic of the Corinthian

for

and each colonnade had columns

a different order.

to Jose-

phus, Herod's palace stood, the remains of a large


hall,

all

and water basins from which

with colored stones."

On

own

its

nished in silver and gold.


tersected,

equal distances, and

eye had ever seen; the

each with

The arrangement

exceptional.

the ceilings with their

fortified,

high.

way

and ornament exceeded

surrounded by a wall "high and heavily

and on

comparable

is

thirty cubits high,

halls

countless halls and rooms of

was

honor of

shall describe the rare stones of all

and was

It

in

protectors: the

"Agrippae-um." Josephus

of the fortress type

thern aspect.

of

describes the palace as follows:

the nor-

in

Two

to us.

representative parts were gi-

its

we can

The lower

part

been well preserved, and from

reconstruct the whole. It

was a gate

with three arches, with two rounded niches above

JEWISH ART AT THE TIME OF THE SECOND TEMPLE

145

Tympanon

55.

The smooth

the lateral openings.


wall, without

has

Cave

of Jehoshaphat, Jerusalem, (after Avigad).

surface of

its

any protruding basis or decorative

and with

pillars,

of the

its

straight, barely raised cornice,

the characteristic qualities of the archi-

all

tectonic style of Herod's days. In

its

simple approach this architecture

is

quiet and

completely

from the over-rich decorations of the

different

the plant which

supposed

is

it

supports

it

and

raises

it

somewhat.

of the details

tympanon
the

all

art;

characteristics

of

but the composition

new approach

of the acanthus indicates a

which establishes

as a whole.

general nature the decorative treatment of

tympanon shows

Hellenistic-Alexandrine

style

free treatment

combines agreeably with the sym-

metrical composition of the


its

The

tendrils.

VI

new

Fruits, leaves

or flowers appear within each of the near-circles

formed by the vine

this

of the

The

to portray.

acanthus rests on a basis of three leaves which

In

Hellenistic stvle.

The nature

146

execution of the decorative subject

to the

the com-

the autonomous character of the Jewish art that

bination of stylized and naturalistic details within

began

one single element.

Herod's reign reveals

in

itself in

the sur-

viving examples of decoration of this period.

The

remains of decorations on the front and inside

tombs of the time,

of Jewish

as well as

on

sar-

again

the

so(fig.

56).

cophagi and ossuaries, give us the opportunity of

tympanon, which

determining the basic principles which character-

and

ize the original

elements

the art of the Hero-

in

dian period.

new

of Jehoshaphat"

(fig.

55).

is

the triangular

known
The

connecting constructive

ment

style

of the funeral cave

as the

"Cave

the

is

is

composed

naturalistic patterns,

Hellenistic-Alexandrine
sition

Characteristic of the

tympanon

tympanon

Tombs of the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem


The selection of decorative subjects on

Different

fills

is

of

also

this

both stylized
typical

of the

But the compo-

school.

the whole area without leaving any

undecorated space and betrays

its

Oriental nature

by a notable horror-vacui. This tvmpanon

is

note-

"5.--^

ele-

of the decorated area

of

called

is

provided by a wavy line of vine

which

tendrils

becomes

nar-

rower towards the corners


the tympanon. In the center

of
.'I

is

an acanthus surrounded bv tenIn

drils.

its

execution

it

differs

both from the Jewish and the


non-Jewish treatment customary

at

the

time.

The

lateral
[;

leaves,

unite

rounded

at the

bottom,

the whole into one or-

ganic pattern, while the central


leaf

is

^_

tent that

it

no longer resembles

-v.

*.

stylized to such an ex56.

Tympanon

of

the

Tombs

of

the Sanhedrin.

Jerusalem.

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

147

for

its

excellent technical execution.

Its

technique differs considerably from the Hellenisrelief,

tic

which protrudes

background;

the

plastically

decorations

Tombs tvmpanon

are

from

its

Svnhedrin

the

of

out in a sharplv

carried

carved recessed high-relief, the highest points of

which

level with the surface of the area. This

lie

method

of treating stone

is

is

Stone ossuary, found near Jerusalem.

57.

worthy

an adaptation of the

the impression of

wooden

chests.

Their

are

lids

of widely differing shapes. Usually they are pro-

vided with a recessed area which serves as the

background on which the decorations are carv-

The

ed.

favorite subjects for the

decoration of

ossuaries are geometrical patterns, the acanthus,

the rosette, and leaves. In several cases remains


of paint have

been found. One ossuaiy found

in

contemporary technique of wood decoration. This

the neighborhood of Jerusalem has a semicylin-

new type

drical lid decorated with a

in

Judea

of stone treatment

at the

end

of the

The metamorphosis

of

is

found exclusively

Second Temple period.


fragments

structural

of

timber architecture into decorative elements of


stone architecture

ment

of

is

familiar

Greek decorative

art.

of the decorative treatment of


rative treatment of stone

is

several

century B.C.E.

ing

to the deco-

first

instance in

lull

of

the

its

The colonnade

in a repeating

Oriental
is

trend

is

The two

of

the

decoration,

broad frame of

and decorat-

pillars in the center,

which are

flanked by two large rosettes, lend the decorative

pattern balance and compositional clarity. While

attributed

development of the new

to

the

style, technically as

The stone

ossuaries give

these columns have Attic bases, their stems are


fluted

and

their

capitals

are of the Corinthian

order and resemble those of the Hulda Gate.


about 30" x
5" x 15") in which the bones of the dead were kept after
the remainder of the body had decomposed.
ossuarj

is

this

clarity

first

well as compositionally.

An

closed at the top

remarkable for the outstanding

compositional structure.

area.

in

rhythm. Notwithstand-

leaves surrounds the whole recessed

ed

columns

find decorations evidencing the

ossuaries

we

by arches
ossuary

history of this form of artistic expression.

On

single capital.

from the develop-

wood

of twin

on a single base and terminating

resting

But the adaptation

the

row

small

chest

(usually

The

perforated structure of the central rosette, which

is

composed

of

eight

triple

leaves,

appears to

JEWISH ART AT THE TIME OF THE SECOND TEMPLE

149

VII

provide the archetypal model for the later rosettes


of the Gothic cathedrals.

One

Numismatic art under Herod and

of the best instances of the decorative style

58)

end

at the

Second Temple period occurs

of the

The composition

57).

found

also

Jerusalem

in

consists

two

of

wavy

a light,

in

line,

is

exceptions are the decorative

figures;

motifs of the coins struck by Herod, Philip II

rosettes

(whose

fuses with the

outer circles of the rosettes. In general,

(fig.

(fig.

flanking a stylized acanthus, the outline of which,

engraved

later

characterized by the absence of portraits

human

or

on another ossuary,

150

we may

was inhabited mainly by non-

territory

Jews), and by Agrippa

and

his successors,

and

Herod

II.

were most careful not

himself,
to offend

the religious sensitivities of the majority of their


sav that one of the basic principles in the decora-

and therefore systematically refrained

subjects,

tion of the Jewish ossuary

the use of stylized

is

way which
movement in their

geometrical or naturalistic motifs in a


ensures the

freedom of

artist's

from using human or animal motifs on their

For while

application.

in art

became more and more

accepted, the multitudes were yet far from ready

In order to demonstrate the basic differences

more

for a

between the old geometrical elements and the

new

enlightened Jewish circles the use

in

human images

of

coins.

decorative patterns, the reader

is

interpretation of the

liberal

Commandment, and even

Roman

the

Second

governors

invited to

respected

Judea

of

the

religious-conservative

consider an instance of this treatment, charactescruples of the Jewish masses.


of Jewish

ristic

Temple

art

The decorative geometrical

period.

ment known

the end of the Second

at

as the "whirling

wheel" and

ing of intertwined circle segments

Under Herod

was

ly

this

of Oriental

element, which original-

strictly geometrical,

geometrical lines

Its

consist-

and may be found throughout the Middle

origin

E?st.

is

leton for

structural ske-

imaginative flower motif with

free

curved petals

underwent a change.

became the

pointing in the same direction.

all

While the appearance of the old geometrical


elements
is

is

thus changed,

original

its

retained. Archaeological excavations

vered

this pattern

and on ossuaries

dynamism
have unco-

on the fronts of Jewish tombs

as a decoration

on doors,

etc.

The

fact that ossuaries so widelv differing in execu-

tion

and

in decorative pattern

same time must be attributed

were made

at the

to the differences

the artistic talent and technical accomplish-

in

ment

creative imagination

new and
tely

original trends in Jewish art unfortuna-

had no opportunity

full. Its

developing to the

of

growth was cut short by the tragic climax

of the Jewish
political

the

which produced these

slow

War

in

70 C.E. The end of Jewish

independence marks the beginning of


disappearance

which had derived

its

of

this

vitality

original

deeplv conscious of the direction of


fullv established

wav.

stvle,

from a Jewish
its

art

alreadv

Herodian period

of the

is

a con-

Hasmonean dvnasty, both


method of execution. The latter

tinuation of that of the


in pattern

suffers

and

in

from inadequate understanding and cha-

racterization

the

of

lack of technical

and more

miniature drawing. Only

and the Roman governors,

II

particularly during the Great Insurrec-

some understanding

tion,

shown, and from

subjects

skill in

from Agrippa

as

of the

art

of coining

becomes apparent. The crossed cornucopias (Agrippa

the palm

II),

procurators),
nates

vine

(Agrippa

II

and Roman

branch with three pomegra-

the

(period

the

of

war against Rome), the

and the wreaths of leaves begin

leaves

more

be

to

freely

composed and drawn. The

narrow-necked amphoras and the goblets with


large

racter

the

of their sculptors.

The

The coinage

ele-

square foot faithfully express the chaof

objects

which were

in general

use at

time.

The almost complete

lack of remains of deco-

rative murals prevent us, at least for the present,

from studying the development of


art

in

this

branch of

Jewish Palestine. Nevertheless, there are

good grounds
ed by the

for the

latest

assumption

excavations

fully confirm-

that decorative

mural painting was adequately represented

Herodian period. In general,

we mav

in the

postulate,

that in style the decorative mural in Palestine did

not

deviate

from the

Roman

fashion

generally

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

151

Jewish

58.

Coins,

from the Maccabean period

Hasmonacan

5.

6.

State

1.

John Hyrcanus

I;

I.

Second Temple:

filled

II;

10.

9.

8.

12.

First

Second Year (6768); 14. Shekel, Fifth Year (70); 15. Bronze Coin,
Second Year (6768); 16. Half Shekel, Bronze, Fourth Year (6970).

painting. Large surfaces, framed

with decorations which also

cluded miniature frescoes of

human

figures

neral character of architecture

under Herod.

further assume that in the course of

its

and

We
de-

velopment the decorative mural of the

late

Second

Temple period continued

the

Roman

to

follow

line.

of

There

is

reason to believe that drawings

humans and animals were not unfamiliar

Jewish

art

at

to

the time of the Second Temple.

in-

mythological scenes, thus conforming to the ge-

may

the
4.

(c)

by simple geometrical patterns and suitably divid-

were

of

3.

13. Shekel,

current at the time, the so-called "third style"

Roman mural

2.

7.

11.

ed,

Destruction

Alexander Yannai; John Hyrcanus


Matthias Antigonus. (b) House of Herod Herod; Antipas;
Archelaus;
Herod Agrippa
The Revolutionary Government of 66 70
Shekel,
Year

(a)

(6667);

of

the

to

152

Strzygowsky (in "Orient oder Rom") holds that early


which came into existence on Jewish soil, originated from the spirit of Judaism and was spread by Jews
took over the decorative art of the Jewish synagogue of those
times. Only this hypothesis, he feels, can explain the fact that
the murals in the early Christian catacombs of Rome invariably depict Old Testament scenes, scenes from the New
Testament only beginning to occur at later date.
*

Christianity

JEWISH ART AT THE TIME OF THE SECOND TEMPLE

153

As

will

be seen,

second century C.E. their

in the

common and

use had become

would appear

it

probable that halakhic sanction onlv aknowledg-

ed what

have

origin

their

Western

both the Eastern and the

tradition, occasionally reflect the charac-

which

changes

teristic

new Jewish
terms of

from
of the

period cannot be defined

art of this
its

them

distinguish

However, the approach

their prototypes.

in

in

which

of Jewish art,

decorative elements, of their

tic-constructive application
of their execution alone;

it

and
is

artis-

of the technique
in

no

degree

less

determined bv the principle of their combination


groups which form a single compositional

into

unit. It

this principle

is

fic

exist as

an independent

merely a repetitive auxiliary motif

plicated

web

of

speci-

of

unit,

in the

but

com-

ornament which covers the whole

decorated surface. Not without justice

by reason
sc

its

character. In Oriental art the geometrical ele-

ment does not


is

which lends Jewish deco-

Second Temple period

rative art of the

its

emotive

effect

is

this art,

on the spectator,

uetimes qualified as a kind of expressionism,

contrast with the cold, clear


sition of

of

Western

Western

art

art.

and

logical

in

compo-

In the composition scheme

the

element

geometrical

is

almost completely absent. In the rare cases where


it is

used, such as in the "astragal" and "meander"

patterns,

ment

it

appears exclusively as the basic

of a ribbon pattern.

the continuous ribbon

of

But even

ele-

in these cases

repetitive

the

geometrical

web
we may

complicated

visually

of Oriental art. In this respect as well,

note

Jewish art of the time the attempt to

in

combine the structure

had been customary.

for a long time

The decorative elements

discerned, unlike

154

Occidental

the

of

logic

composition with the visual-emotional tendency


of the Orient.

Although

in the

compositional con-

ception of Herodian art the desire for light-and

shadow

effects

occasionally

is

gratified

expense of the lines of the element

ways remain aware

ple

mous
it

background

as

for the out-

element or combination of elements

all

the characteristic qualities of autono-

and we are

creation,

justified

in

defining

as a separate style within the art of the

East.

At

first,

remained

it

faithful

principles of Alexandrine art in


of geometrical

but

in

and

Near

the basic

to

combination

its

stvlized ornamental elements,

the course of

its

development, Jewish

art

found new ways of expressing these principles

and discovered

original

methods

of compositional

The development of
dependent style was obviously the
combination.

the artistic
artists

of

of

the

Jewish

the period

spirit

changed Jewish

attitute to

new

in-

expression of

architects

spirit

new

the

reflecting

and
the

trends and the

attempt to achieve a fusion between the Eastern

and Western cultures on Jewish


being undertaken

in

many

fields

soil,

which was

during the

first

century B.C.E.

With the establishment

of Aelia Capitolina on

elements retains the structural clarity which per-

the site of the destroyed capital of Judea a

mits each single

era began.

elementary unit to be clearly

al-

during the period of the Second Tem-

art

had

we

of a tendency to leave a plain

and unadorned surface


line of the

Jewish

the

at

itself,

new

SYNAGOGUE ARCHITECTURE

MICHAEL AVI-YONAH

by

The "House of Assembly" (Hebrew: Beth


Knesseth, Greek: Syn-agoge from synago

was

together")

in

The ancient world knew

conception.

worship from

earliest days:

its

ha"get

beginnings a revolutionary

its

places

of

temples, which

i.e.

were supposed to be the dwelling places of the


god. These consisted normally of a rela-

living

tively small shrine, the


sible

house of the god, acces-

only to the priests

(as regards

its

holy of

holies, the adyton, sometimes inaccessible even

to

Such a

these).

shrine,

whether

contained

it

the visible symbol of the god (a statue or a holy


stone)

even nothing
in

throne of the invisible deity, or

or the

at all (as

Jerusalem

was the case

of the

was surrounded bv

Temple
spacious

court in which the faithful could gather around

and worship while

the altar

ed

to

heaven.

This

sacrifices

its

porticos, dwellings of the priests, etc.

Orient and

Classical

This was

common

the classical design of the temple,


ancient

ascend-

was surrounded by

court

to the

and post-Classical

Side bv side with the temple, another kind of


building existed

the

in

East:

throne room, hall of justice or the


paralleled in the

like.

the

royal

This was

Such

universal feature of the market-place

Greek and Roman

halls,

cities.

called basilicas,

Thev

consisted of a

with a small place set aside for

the transaction of judicial business. It

was these

due course became the model

for

origin
it

of the

synagogue has been much

seems most probably

ated in the Babylonian

exile.

to

have origin-

Separated from the

traditional center of their worship, vet unwilling


to

now dawned, and

Return to Zion
rose from

now

was found so
the

useful, that

communal

Empire and then

spread before long to

in

that,

Temple, synagogues

towns and

in the various

villages of Judah; such places of

assembly would

have been of the greatest value

certainly

the

in

the Hellenistic king-

doms. There seems good reason to believe


after the re-erection of the

were established even

and

so ingrained,

growing Jewish diaspora

gradually

Persian

it

Temple

the

ashes; but the habit of

its

meetings was probably by

reshaping of Jewish religious

life

dertaken by Ezra and Nehemiah.

for the

which was un-

hint of the

existence of such rural synagogues has been inferred

from

LXXIV,

8, to

apparent

the

reference

"the synagogues of

by God's enemies. In anv

God"

Psalm

in

Hebrew

(in

case,

synagogues were

most probably established

last of all in

City of Jerusalem

for

above,

we need

graphical

itself;

the Hob'

Temple

there the

admit the supremacy of the apparently victo-

and

not wonder that the earliest epiarchaeological

existence of synagogues should

outside

Israel.

The

spiritual

evidences

come

to us

content

the

of

of

from
these

places of worship always remained Jewish; but


their external

from the

the svnagogue.

The

could not forget. The davs of the joyous First

In view of the historical development sketched

citizens.

disputed;

and exhortation,

towards the Jerusalem they

turning their eyes

served as the natural center of Jewish worship.

judged the

basilicas that in

established, "bv the waters of Baby-

and law-courts which

became the

hall of assembly,

community

lon," meeting-houses for prayer

Greek democracies bv assemblv-

halls for the civic council

in

rious gods of Babylon, the leaders of the Jewish

mo'adei El) which were "burned up in the land"

Greece and Rome.

public

THE CLASSICAL PERIOD

IN

form was

lem of the synagogue architect was


foreign elements

adapted

to a large extent

basilicas of the Gentile world.

(architectural

The prob-

to express in

and ornamental)

we

the spirit of the Jewish congregation. If

member

that

mother both

the
of the

synagogue was the

re-

spiritual

church and the mosque,

we

SYNAGOGUE ARCHITECTURE

157

IN

THE CLASSICAL PERIOD

158

begin to understand the immense and world-wide

archaeological traces. All these points will be of

implications of the attempt of the Jews of the

significance

Persian and Hellenistic period to create, for the

remains of the Galilean synagogues.

would have

contain

to

the worshippers and

all

not only a handful of priests; and which instead

from the shrine of the

of being turned outwards,

god towards the pious, was turned inwards,

to-

wards the center of prayer inside the building.

we

In the following pages

its

beginnings

remains )

(as

the

to

synagogue from

evidenced by archaeological

developed

fully

Byzantine period,

trace the long

shall

history of the evolution of the

at the

style

the

in

threshold of the Middle

to discuss the extant

other places

synagogue

Egypt, the next remnant of

in

speaking)

(chronologically

cularly tantalizing because

Judaea

in

fore

70 C.E.

tion,

found

We

1914.

in

the

few

of

Of

very term

and the

underground

served as cisterns. The

synagogue

used instead of the more

is

rary proseuche)

inscrip-

building

this

inscription

plastered

may have

rooms, which

dating to be-

Theodotus

refer to the

nothing remained but

(this

parti-

is

also the earliest

certainly

*,

Jerusalem

in

foundations

evidence for the existence of a

archaeological

synagogue

is

it

inscription refers to the dedication of a

Ages.

some

After the inscriptions from Schedia and

history, a place of worship which

time in

first

when we come

for the reading of the

lite-

law and

II

commandments, together with

the teaching of the

The earliest evidence

existence

the

for

synagogue comes from Egypt:

it is

of

the dedicatory

inscription of a proseuche (place of prayer)

the hospice, the chambers, and the water installation

to the time of

King Ptolemy

III

Euergetes,

who

reigned from 247 to 221 B.C.E. Unfortunately, this


inscription

the only part of the synagogue

is

strangers.

found

Schedia quarter of Alexandria and dated

in the

needv

for the lodging of

all

Ill

The earliest

certain remains of

synagogue build-

ings found either in Palestine or abroad are Gali-

left.

lean synagogues, dating from the second century

Yet some idea of the magnificence of the early

synagogues

in the diaspora

may be

Synagogue buildings continued

onwards.

constructed in Palestine
the Talmudic description of the synagogue of the

community

of Alexandria. Said

sephta Succa, IV)

Rabbi Judah (To-

"He who never saw

century

(over

found so

far).

(i.e.

be

fifty

early in the eighth

till

remains of such have been

These remains may be divided

into

the diplothree

stoon

to

gathered from

the

types:

(second to fourth cen-

earlv

double stoa: see below) never saw the


turies), Jthe transitional

great glory of Israel.

It

was

like a

(late third to fifth),

and

kind of great
the late (fifth to eighth).

basilica, a stoa

within a stoa, and sometimes there

were inside twice the number

of those

who

The dating
to

Egypt

(at the time of the

of the early type of

synagogue has

left

be based on

stylistic

considerations,

Exodus). Seventy-one

one dedicatory inscription has been found


golden chairs were there, one for each

with a sudarium

in

his

Emperor Septimius Severus and

(192-211).

Some

this derives

from a secular building. The disting-

hand"

mark

uishing
signals

was

facades,

of this group

it

obvious that the great synagogue of Alexandria

found

Galilee

in

elders sat in seats of honor, probably facing the

middle there was a wooden

The
attributed

construction,

i.e.,

(i.e.,

south

we

shall

direction in

which the worship-

Most

of the synagogues

supported by columns; that the

in the

the direction of their

west beyond the Jordan). As

was the

pers turned in prayer.

and that

is

is

see, this
halls

however, believe that

which face towards Jerusalem

in Galilee,

have here the usual Aggadic exaggeration,

public;

scholars,

so big that

were necessary. Although, of course, we

had several

his family

it

with which he gave signals for the people to


cry 'Amen'; for the synagogue

that

the

in a corner of

(piece of cloth)

praying for the peace and prosperity

at Qisyon,

of the

hazan of the synagogue stood

only

elder... In

wooden podium (bema) and

the middle was a

as

one which would leave no clear

secular

and the adjacent area belong

remains
synagogue, are

first-century
to

building.

found

now

at

Delos,

considered

formerly
part

of

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

159

160

(XVI, 13), Paul went on the Sabbath


"out

the

of

Philippi

gate

the

[of

Macedonia]

in

by

where there was

side,

of

citv

river-

place

of

praver."

The plan
synagogues

differences

between the buildings erected

exist

the

in

uniform; although,

fairly

considerable

course,

of

the earlier group of

of
is

various

places,

as

quence of the economic

conse-

of

statutes

the community and the generosity of

The

the local benefactors.

~>

Reconstruction

'.

of

Khol

(after

synagogue at Capernaum
and Wazinger).

59, 60 )

including some of the best known.

to this type,

The

these synagogues was chosen

site of

in ac-

cordance with the Talmudic prescription according to

which the synagogue must be situated on

the highest point in the town. This resulted in

mountainous

Galilee,

from the terraces

The

in

consequences:

architectural

most of the buildings.

high places also had

of such

selection

paved with

stones)

the synagogue, and often of staircases

leading up to
nity

its

required the con-

it

struction of a platform (usually


in front of

views

marvellous

the

in front of

it;

these, in turn, increased the dig-

which was

of the edifice,

visible

at

dis-

tance and could be approached only with some

The

difficulty.

tectural

desire to have an impressive archi-

ensemble led

forms even

in front of

sources,
as

at

(i.e.,

was on the shores

the

Capernaum.

at

of

our ancient

in

it

of the sea

synagogue

Umm

(or lake,

at

Gischala

or

the

one near

The

selection of such sites rested apparently on

el-Qanatir

ancient tradition, which

phus

is

in

who

Golan).

the

referred to

XIV, 258)

(Antiquities

had

to

Golanite villages

Umm

and

sea

in

now

the

the

small

Khirbet ed Dikke

called

could

only

apparently

afford synagogues with a floor expanse covering

no more than 130

sq. meters.

and

In discussing the plans, elevations


of the Galilean

consider

synagogues of

separately

three

we must

group,

this

details

the

groups:

different

donors and their spiritual advisers, the synagogue


elders;

and

the

architects

who drew up

the plans;

the stonecutters and masons

lastly,

bv

group.

Jose-

quotes con-

These decided on the

synagogue, and on

who

act-

"to

build

ral,

to their idea of

accordance

with

The

of Jewish worship.

the plans

and

what was

it

ornament, had to

place

who drew up

and who

in

some

cases

the detailed drawings of the


of course, the desires

satisfy,

drew upon

of the donors, but he naturally

his

experience and observation of other (usually nonJewish)

constructions.

carried

praver

were almost certainly

their

native

the

custom." According to the Acts of the Apostles

of the

fitting for a

architect

elevations,

may have prepared

of

places

size

arrangements so that

its

should conform to ritual purposes and, in gene-

workmen who

the

Conversely,

satisfy.

el-Qanatir

who were
near

whom

shows the Hellenized type of donor


architect

cerning the privileges of the Jews of Halicarnassus

allowed

columns was

its

presented by one Herod, the son of Mokimos,

first

near brooks and springs

or

second

one of

the buildings were adapted to the needs of the

no express mention

Capernaum)

24 m.

interior length of

its

fact that

ually executed the work. Obviously, the plans of

gogue which was apparently allowed, although


is

meters

sq.

exceeded bv

is

synagogues which were not

Another position for the location of a syna-

there

The

61]).

[fig.

length

its

is

(figs.

to the construction of plat-

on mountain slopes, as

built

Meron, with

that of

measures 360

it

(although

largest

Capernaum

the Synagogue of

carry

traditions
their

of

On

the

other hand,

the

out the architect's plans


local

the

mannerisms

masons, steeped

country.

even

Thev
into

the

in

would
carv-

161

SYNAGOGUE ARCHITECTURE

60.

61.

Ruins of synagogue

Ruins of synagogue

IX

at

at

THE CLASSICAL PERIOD

Capernaum,

interior.

Meron. front view.

162

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

163

ing

of

decorations

from the

derived

originally

Greek ornament. In addition

inherited

their

to

tendencies towards stylization and geometric repetitions,

would be

it

them

for

difficult

der in the hard basalt of the Galilean

to ren-

the

hills

supple Hellenic shapes originally conceived for

workmen seem

cutting in marble.

The

have had some sav

in the selection of

local

for

instance,

an

good-luck symbols

i.e.,

synagogues of the

proportion

of

and width

category are 11:10,

first

The

principal

of course, the hall of as-

is,

the finding cf screen slabs also suggests the

existence of an upper gallery protected

The

strade.

Women

Nashim

'Ezrath

was

originally used

the rabbis ordered an upper gal-

be

set

up

lerv to

women

for the

only. This ar-

have become ultimately the

rangement seems

to

normal usage

Palestine synagogues.

in

Kfar Bir'am

up

to the

has

62)

(fig.

its

us with

azin to furnish

general

idea

The facade was

to say,

its

roof

which sub-

aspect.

as the "Svrian gable." This

common Greek

of the

re-

Capernaum and Chor-

at

and was surmounted by what

is

that of

second storey; nevertheless, enough

mains have been found

storeys

of columns,

facades preserved

Graeco-Roman period, although

Greek type: that

by

till

frontal

closer to the

dates

both sexes

typical

was supported bv rows

a balu-

men and women

separation of

sembly and prayer. This hall was modelled on


the basilica of the

bv

back to the Second Temple where the Court of

Only one of the Galilean synagogues

of length

they are almost square in plan.

part of the building

notice,

sence of any evidence of a screen on the ground


floor,

ornament.

in this

The average proportion


in the

high

unusually

the motifs

we

chosen to decorate the synagogues;

to

L64

is

is

of
in

the

two

known

a peculiar variation

triangular pediment sur-

divided the interior. However, unlike the usual

mounting the front of the temples;

type of Christian basilica, there was, in addition

of the curving out of the basis of the pedimental

two lengthwise rows

to the

of columns, a third,

which ran crosswise, parallel to the facade of the


building.

Indeed, this third colonnade and the

absence of an apse are the distinguishing marks


of the early type of synagogue.

As a

result of this

triangle

into

for this

better

the shape of an arch.

may be

variation

lighting

the

for

Temples accessible

few

to a

consisted

The reason

the need to provide


of

interior

synagogues.

priests familiar with

remain

their surroundings could

it

in semi-darkness;

third colonnade, the central space of the earlier

but places of prayer in which the Scriptures were

synagogues

read had to have more

The

is

surrounded bv

earlier tvpe has

aisles

on three

sides.

no narthex; the open

also

small

windows high up

court adjoining the synagogue, or the porch in

gogues were

front of the building fulfilled the functions of an

three doors of

ante-room.

The

court

is,

an almost invari-

in fact,

by

lit

which

light.

Apart from three

in the facade, the syna-

big central window, the

will

be discussed below. To

provide architectural space for this window, sur-

able feature of these synagogues. Such courts are

mounted by an

sometimes surrounded by a colonnaded porch on

made

the three sides not adjoining the prayer-hall; they

temples further influenced the synagogue archi-

must have served

tects in their choice of three doors in the facade,

ments and

as protection

to provide

against the ele-

accommodation

for stran-

gers or for the local poor.

Inside the hall,

we have

to

arch, the basis of the gable

to follow the arch.

The facade

was

of the Syrian

with the middle one higher than the two side

The facade was divided bv pilasters which


supported a cornice; above it was the big semi-

doors.

assume the existence

of a gallery resting on the columns running around

circular

window surmounted by

richly-sculp-

The

tured arch. In the upper storey there seems to

evidence for the existence of such a gallery con-

have been a window over each of the doors. Each

three sides and leaving the front wall free.

sists in

part of steps actually found, as at Caper-

naum. Secondly, some synagogues contain among


their

debris

columns smaller than those of the

main colonnade

in

the

hall;

these

presumably

window had

a triangular

pediment and was some-

times flanked by colonnettes; here again the central

window was

the

more

richly decorated

and

was surmounted by a conch-shaped ornament. Of

much

deviation from this gene-

must have formed part of a secondary colonnade

course, there

supporting the roof from the gallerv. In the ab-

ralized description in the case of each particular

is

SYNAGOGUE ARGHITEGTURE

165

Ruins of synagogue

62.

synagogue. The most interesting of these

is

at

the

THE GLASSIGAL PERIOD

IN

166

Kfar Bir'am, front view.

defined light and dark surfaces, as opposed to

The

construction of a porch with a separate gable in

the gently-moulded surfaces of classical

front of the Kfar Bir'am Synagogue.

earliest

evidence for such optic treatment of or-

nament

is

The

typical synagogue column stands on a high

which usually

square pedestal
stylobate.

The columns

The bases

rests

on

low

are not fluted as a rule.

are of the Attic type.

peculiarity of

the synagogue construction are the double col-

umns

in the corners of the stylobate

which have a

to

be found

in the ossuaries

time of the Second Temple."

what

fore,

is

element used

The few

in all
in

the decoration of the synagogues.

capitals of the Ionic order substitute cir-

simple bulge over the columns. At

absence of the chalices and the inner

spirals.

The

formation of the acanthus leaves on these Corinthian capitals

is

of

particular

interest

for

the

history of Jewish art, because in their sharply-

We

cular plaques for the classic spirials.

some

to the usual

there-

appearance a native Jewish

Corinthian type, but they deviate strongly from

owing

from the

We have here,

heart-shaped section. The capitals are mostly of

the classical type, especially

art.

also find

capitals of the plainest type, consisting of a

Umm

el-Qan-

another very interesting type of capital has

atir

been preserved,

viz., a

basket capital. This type,

very unusual for that period, has some connection

with Assyrian capitals,

and might even

the capitals used in the First and Second

The

windows

reflect

Tem-

cut edges and geometrical interstices, they ante-

ples.

date by at least two centuries the typical Byzan-

facade were mostly fluted; their capitals have an

tine capital; in fact,

if

we

did not

know the apwe would

entirely

proximate date of these synagogues,

In

assign them, on the basis of their architectural

native

decoration,

to

the

Bvzantine period. This par-

ticular transformation of the classic


is

founded on

a preference for

on optic principles,

i.e.,

acanthus leaf

all

colonnettes flanking the

unorthodox garland of leaves and

these details

we

workman, with

transforming

the

his

classical

trained architect.

an ornament based

the alternation of sharply-

can see the

See above, chapter

III.

own

hand

traditions,

design

of

the

of the

fruits.

of the

more
city-

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

167

The

of

interior

synagogue

the

was

halls

in

strong contrast to the richly-ornamented facade,

which was of

startling plainness. This again

to attract

and impress the

faithful

bv

richly-ornamented exterior, but once inside,


tention

was

its

at-

be kept concentrated on prayer.

to

The only exception

to this internal plainness

was

Law

of the

was

apparently deliberate. The place of worship was

meant

opinion that

All the

later in the

Arbel (Irbid) Synagogue.

(Hebrew

two plain rows

is

no

direct evidence as to the nature

University, Jerusalem).

of stone ben-

above the other, went around the side

the paintings;

of

Dura Europos,

in

to

The only exception

to their plainness

comprised frescoes

corated stone seat.

The most

was a de-

view of the discoveries

be described below, the

bility

back ornamented bv

illustrating

similar

most interesting feature of the architecture of

that this
is

There seems

was the

mentioned

to

so called "Seat of

Aha

th

seat

of

2,

Moses" which

and by a fourth

At the time of

velation. It
hibition:

is

their

ornament

their discovery, this

a re-

proved that despite the Biblical pro-

"Thou

shalt

not

make unto

graven image," the Jews of Galilee


of the

in re-

was

in

Mishna and the Talmud made

thee anv
the time
rich

use

(Pesiqta d'Rav Kahana,

p. 12). Opinions differ as to


it

Hammath-bv-

at

be a general agreement

Matthew XXIII.

in

century scholar Rabbi

consider

63); fragments of a

were discovered

chair

history.*

a rosette, sculptured

lief.

Tiberias.

Biblical

Apart from the general structural outline, the

was found

(fig.

possi-

perfect specimen,

these earlier synagogues

Chorazin

at

not altogether to be excluded that they

is

hand-rests and an Aramaic inscription in front,


at

walls

synagogues were plastered and painted,

walls (and occasionally also along the back wall).

its

The

in

down

"Seat of Moses" from synagogue at Ghorazin.

63.

with

The

flags.

mosaic; a mosaic pavement was also laid

but there

ches, one

far dis-

ed synagogue of Caesarea, apparently paved

apparently the back-wall of the upper gallery,

the lower hall,

scroll

during the service.

synagogues of the early type so

covered are paved with plain stone

which was surmounted by

In

served as the stand for the

it

only exception seems to be the partially uncover-

of the

a richlv-eaived frieze.

168

its

use:

honor;

some

others

scholars

hold the

See

preface.

chapter

VI:

also

the

general

discussion

in

the

SYNAGOGUE ARCHITECTURE

169

Frieze from synagogue

64.

not only of vegetal and animal forms, but even

sometimes of human shapes. The scholars


first

who

studied these synagogues were driven to as-

sume

that thev

either

"heretics," or that they

THE CLASSICAL PERIOD

IN

were erected by Jewish


were ordered

in all their

170

Capernaum.

at

various floral and symbolic ornaments such as the

hexagram and pentagram (the "Shield


and the "Seal

of

Solomon"

the acanthus scroll

and above

it

is

David"

of

of latter ages).

Above

an egg-and-dart ornament

lonicera leaves. At Chorazin the

same

by Roman emperors favoring the Jews.


However, the subsequent discoveries of the syna-

tvpe of frieze (with more naturalistic leaves) con-

gogues of the

figured

lands and geometric ornaments, there appear the

Dura-Europos

images of living beings derived either from Greek

details

mosaic pavements,

and

Synagogue with

rich,

its

with

period

later

their

the

of

storied

frescoes,

have

proved beyond doubt that the orthodoxy of the

tains a

still

mythology

more varied ornament: besides

(Hercules,

Two

early centuries of the Christian era did not wholly

fig.

represented on

the Jews themselves

away images

of

witness the

living

things

carefully cut-

the

in

Galilean

The ornament
gues
liefs,

arches,

of the earlier group of synago-

as far as

and

it

is

sparingly

rather

manner: on

lintels of

consists of re-

the

in

classical

doors and windows, along

the balustrade and frieze of the

in

upper gallery

extant

applied

(fig.

64).

The

latter

is

usually the

most richly decorated part of the svnagogue. At

Capernaum

65).

and Rama.
It

flying angels holding garlands are


lintels in

it

is

ornamented by a

scroll of

acan-

thus leaves, within the circles of which appear

65.

Frieze from

Capernaum, Kfar Bir'am

should be noted, however, that even in that

relatively

period,

liberal

round were employed

synagogues.

Medusa, a centaur),

or from daily life (a soldier, vintage scenes, etc.,

exclude the use of such images. Later on, there

was indeed a reaction which came from among

the

gar-

in

no

sculptures

in

the

synagogue ornament

with the exception of figures of lions

(clearly

which seem on the evidence

of the

representations in the Beth Alpha mosaic

to

symbolic)

have flanked the

(later) Torah-shrine.

of such stone lions

have been found

Fragments

in the synago-

gues of Chorazin and Kfar Neburaiva


tein).
*

The degree

(Nabra-

of naturalism of such represen-

For a more detailed account of the manner of ornament

used

svnagogue

in

at

the

Galilean

Chorazin.

synagogues, see chapter VI.

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

171

tations

sty-

is

and the

earlier representation of lions,

or strands of the hair are

curls

reduced to geometrical

Another piece of sculpture

patterns.

in

the round

Hammath-by-

the stone candlestick found at

is

to their frag-

case, the fleece

which has a surface decorated with the

Tiberias,

traditional "knops"

and "flowers"

cf

Exodus XXV,

The

inscriptions

synagogues

Galilean

the

in

are not properly part of the ornament or architec-

but thev should be mentioned in as far as

thev throw some light on the cultural environment


those

of

responsible

We

buildings.

all

the

for

of

erection

these

should thus note that with the

exception of two

von )

temples towards the rising sun.

its

The problem
synagogue

Greek (Capernaum and Qis-

in

of the dedicatory inscriptions are in

Aramic; there are none at

We

Hebrew.

in

all

of

been found

in

all

the

synagogues

earlier

The excavators

the sacred scrolls.

naum Synagogue
door,

parallel

hold

to

of the

Caper-

noticed traces of a secondary

struction

main

synagogue building, but that the different


(columns,

were donated by

etc.)

stairs,

separate donors; obviouslv, however, the plans of

drawn

were

synagogues

as

harmonious

the ornamental facade of the

have

few and

are

assigned

remains

certain

conches found on the


indistinct,

of

this

con-

colonnettes

and

The

site.

to

signs,

and the place

however,

of this sup-

posed Torah-shrine would be most awkward;

for

it

stood athwart the main entrance, leaving onlv

narrow passage.

A more

likelv solution

seems

suggested by the remains of the Eshtemoa Syna-

(most

to

to

They

synagogue.

gogue

the

that of the

permanent construction intended

donate the whole

enough

single individual rich

of a

bound up with

position of the Torah-shrine. So far, no evidence

has

should also note that there was apparently no

parts

of the orientation of the earlier

further

is

construction, at a certain distance from the

31-6).

ture,

pagan usage which orientated

ate breach with the

an Oriental fashion recalling the Assyrian

lized in

and

owing

to establish,

is difficult

mentary condition. In any

172

see below )

likely

the existence there of a niche

intended for the Torah

some distance above the ground


that

sibility

similar

scrolls)

at

raises the pos-

niches existed in the other

synagogues, none of which has been preserved


to

sufficient

height to leave traces of such a

whole, not being influenced even in detail bv the

niche.

plethora of donors.

such a shrine in the facade wall of the synagogue

In concluding the part of this studv devoted


to the earlier tvpe of

tion the

noted

problem of
the

before,

synagogue,

its

salem.

used

tvpe

earlier

wherever situated, was


with

we

their orientation.

with

built

should men-

As we have
synagogue,

of
its

facade,

Thus
at

the entrances in the facade were

if

the

all,

worshippers must have faced

about before beginning to prav

(assuming,

of

course, that thev praved towards Jerusalem, as

directed in the

Talmud

It

is

would be reasonable

to

assume that thev used the side entrances found

in

almost

all

which was broken by doors and windows.


assume

synagogues, as this implied only a

If

for

we

existence in one of the side walls not

its

directed towards Jerusalem,

its

evidence as

re-

gards the direction of prayer becomes worthless.

The most probable

i.e.,

principal entrances, facing towards Jeru-

However, there was obviously no place

in the early

of the
tion,

room

solution seems to be that

synagogues the shrine for the

scrolls

Torah was a wooden movable construc-

which was normally, perhaps, kept


of the synagogue

in a side

and was wheeled or

ried out for the service. Side

car-

rooms which might

have served such a purpose were found

at

Caper-

naum, Chorazin and other synagogues, near the


north

wall.

Such a movable shrine could be

main door facing towards

partial turn in the direction of Jerusalem. If this

placed

was

Jerusalem after the congregation had entered bv

so,

ornamental

the

window

semi-circular

facade

with

huge

its

served onlv as a perma-

nent reminder of the direction of the Holy City.


In

any case,

direction

building

of
is

this

diametrical opposition of the

worship

or

bema

re-

dria.

a deliber-

Beth

mains inexplicable; unless

we assume

place.

The prayers

is

in the center of the

synagogue, such as

reported from the great Synagogue of Alexan-

an architectural paradox which

the

its

might well have been said from a wooden tribune

the

to

the

the side-doors and taken

of

orientation

against

The

position of the structural

She'arim

Synagogue

(see

bema

below)

in the

would

SYNAGOGUE AKGHITECTURE

173

seem

support

to

view.

this

A wooden

THE CLASSICAL PERIOD

174

structure

no trace

of this kind would, of course, leave

IN

T --n-;

the

in

IL L

LX TTT

pavement.

S3
IV

J
-

It

is

obvious from the above that the changeable

position of the Torah-shrine

especially

CD

the synagogue facade was

if

directed towards Jerusalem.


that

therefore,

We

to look for a solution

We

which would obviate these inconveniences.

now

CD

need not wonder,

from the third century onwards

synagogue architects began

are

U-

must have been the

cause of some inconvenience in the synagogical


service,

dj

0;

CD

QG

sn

entering, therefore, on a period of experi-

mentation with various architectural forms. As a

no two synagogues of that period are en-

result,

tirely similar.

The period

of experimentation ends

CD

with the sixth century and the stabilization of the


later

type of synagogue.

The new

which emerged

principles

~j?^

and

finally,

henceforth guided the construction of synagogues


Palestine

in

and occasionally

(a) the shrine

three:

direction

of

was

(b)

it

the

(c)

to

large

in

by

extent

relief

frescoes

was

ury,

and

synagogue.

of

the

most interesting of

transitory

type

is

that

discovered in 1938, in the excavations at Beth


She'arim. In

its

original shape

it

dates from the

half of the third century. Already then the

first

architect

had adopted the purely

basilical

form

with two rows of columns dividing the hall into


a

central

nave and two side

aisles,

the whole

measuring 31 x 15 m. The entrance was by three


gates in the wall facing Jerusalem; there

occurred a complete change in this

is

no

sequently

of the seats of the Patriarch

ly

part of the ritual

was rendered

there.

The

walls

synagogue were plastered and painted;

pora visited the place.

We

all

strict-

consequences

of

interesting from

synagogue

Judea;

and

its

of

the

natural

its

so

Eshtemoa, excavated

two points
far

width

rectangular

This arrangement was

see below, chapter VII.

of view:

excavated
exceeds

Torah-shrine being apparently


side

and

clearest

66).

(fig.

The Synagogue

over the Dias-

have here the

possible evidence of the transition

*)

fixed in the walls. In the fourth cent-

it

and San-

must have been

widely followed, as Jews from

here and there marble plaques bearing inscrip-

were

Beth

since

orthodox; and their example must have been

only

(i.e.,

from

evidence

more important because,

was one

the

hedrin, the local architect

screen with posts stood in the north-west

the corner opposite Jerusalem), so that at least

The

blocked.

synagogue was con-

is

is

tions

was apparently

stone Torah-shrine

She'arim

evidence for a fixed place for the Torah-shrine,

the

there

central door of the earlier

but a reading platform surrounded by a chancel

of

She'arim,

Mazar).

put up in the direction facing Jerusalem and the

largest as well as the

synagogues

the

Beth
(after

the style of ornament

mosaics.

The

Synagogue at
ground plan

66.

were transferred

was changed, and the sculpture


replaced

congregation

the synagogue entrances

(or at least the principal ones)


to the opposite wall

abroad were

fixed in the wall in the

and

Jerusalem,

prayed towards

also

plan.

common

in

its

in 1936,
it

is

the

southern

length,

the

the long north

in

This
in

svnagogue

Renaissance

Italy:

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

175

176

was entered by

Husifa,

where the

three doors in the short east side, so that here

beyond

its

measured 21.30 x 13.33 m.;

the worshippers

had

it

make

certainly to

a half-turn

east wall has

The

center without a trace of apse.

synagogue

newly-discovered

towards Jerusalem. The entrances were screened

consists of

by a small porch. Owing

also belongs to the

to a fortunate chance, the

been excavated

one room connected with a

same

which

Huldah,

at

ritual bath.

tvpe.

north wall of this synagogue (facing Jerusalem)

was preserved

prove the

to a sufficient height to

which

existence of a wall niche

indicated above)

(as

two niches flanking

it

might have been destined

for the

seven-branched candlesticks,

regard

the

as

Alpha

Beth

common

representing the

interesting

to

mosaic

note that

if

gogue had been destroyed

we

if

are to

below)

(see

The

almost certainly contained the Torah-scrolls.

A group
ed with

of

synagogues abroad which are connect-

this

type are of the utmost importance, for

they are the earliest archaeological

from epigraphical) evidence for the existence of

the Eshtemoa Syna-

synagogues outside Palestine. The most famous

to

It

foundations, as

its

of these

the Synagogue of Dura-Europos on

is

were so many of the Galilean synagogues, we

the Euphrates.
pal

evidence.

vered

of a

was

rock-cut wall niche

this apsis-like construction

much

also disco-

synagogue of Arbel. There,

in the Galilean

however,

most important piece of

this

later period

is

evidently

than the other parts of the

synagogue, which was built on the usual plan of


the earlier type.

The

addition of the niche in the

south wall, facing Jerusalem,

change

of plan

at

a later date,

rias,

three

Husifa

synagogues
(Isfiya)

and

assign to the fourth-fifth

of

to

The

fame

be discussed

which are

frescoes

in the annals of

its

princi-

Jewish art will

another chapter, but the architec-

in

ture of the synagogue (or rather, the

imposed synagogues,

two super-

for the remains of the later

building of 245-6 C.E. hid the remains of an

one)

earlier

is

also highly instructive.

note that in both

its

We

should

phases the Dura-Europos

Synagogue was hidden away among other houses,

which

being thus as inconspicuous as possible. Access

also in-

Hammath-by-Tibe-

Yafia,

title

evidence of a

is

volved a change in the arrangement for entrance.

The

distinct

is

arrangement.

would have

lost

(as

which we may

century, represent yet

to the earlier

synagogue was from the

street

on

the west through a long and narrow corridor with

descending steps. From

this corridor the

worship-

per entered a court through a portico on two

and

another stage in the transition from the earlier

of

to the later type. All three are basilical in form,

corner of the court was a pool, probably intended

with a central nave and two

for ritual ablutions.

separated by

aisles,

its

sides (north

rows of columns. The entrance doors are in the

was

wall

school-room.

opposite to the

direction

prayer.

of

This

group of synagogues has another new feature


in

common

with the later tvpe:

three

all

them are paved with mosaics. There

is,

of

however,

one important distinction between the synagogues


of this transitional type

ings

and those

in

which the

type appears fully developed. The build-

later

under discussion seem

to lack

an apse point-

ing towards Jerusalem. At Hammath-by-Tiberias


four marble colonnettes

found

in

and a carved

lintel

were

the debris on the side facing Jerusalem;

this naturally

suggests that they once formed part

of a Torah-shrine fixed in the wall, therefore leav-

ing no trace in the ground plan.

The same

arran-

gement must necessarily have been adopted

at

On

east). In the northeastern

the east side of the court

room surrounded by benches, apparently

Two

other siderooms adjacent to the

court were probably the sacristan's dwelling. An-

other room, connected with the court by a wide

opening, and with the prayer hall by a side door,

was surrounded with benches and probably


ed

as the

women's

section.

The prayer

small (10.85m. x 4.60m.) and bore


lance to the Eshtemoa Synagogue,
axis

extended

a niche

salem.

However,

that the doors

niche.

in

width and not

(assumed)

in the

it

were

serv-

hall

was

much resembi.e.,

its

in length;

main
it

had

west wall facing Jeru-

differed

from Eshtemoa

in

in the long wall facing the

Benches, occasionally doubled, ran along

the whole of the walls except at the doors.

patch in the stone pavement

in

the center of the

The

ancient synagogue of

Capernaum on

the shores of the sea of Galilee

(3rd century C.E.)

SYNAGOGUE ARCHITECTURE

177

room seems

Dura Europos

building at

THE CLASSICAL PERIOD

178

presence of a wooden

to indicate the

bema there.
The later

IN

dated

is

fairly exactly to the middle of the third century

67); this

(fig.

the construction decorated by

is

This second synagogue

the celebrated frescoes.


is

somewhat

larger than the

The

13.65 m. x 7.68 m.).

sures

been much

hall

(its

first

mea-

court has also

enlarged, and the colonnade extend-

ed to three instead of two of

sides, including

its

the one along the wall of the synagogue.

from the west has been entirely

entrance

old

abandoned and
direction.

posite

The

new one arranged

Entering from the

in the opstreet,

one

faced a long blind corridor; but a door on the


led to another passage.

left

right led

a door to the

through two rooms into the fore-court

synagogue. The various rooms attached

of the
to the

Here

synagogue, including the school, were

lodged

in

acquired

now

a separate building which was probably


at

the time

when

the synagogue was

The general arrangement of the synawas not changed, except that there
see us to have been no separate room for women.
It is possible that this was a sign of the more

Synagogue

67.

Dura-Europos, isometric view,


and Rostovtchev).

at

(after Pierson

enlarged.

gogue

hall

attitude,

liberal

also

which mav have served

paintings; the side door

women

the

was, however, preserved. In the se-

cond synagogue there


dence

is

clear architectural evi-

surmounted by

for the niche

protruded from the wall.


identical

by the mural

evidenced

It

had

conch which

a seat

with "The Seat of Moses")

it

which must have been

from the center of the prayer-hall to the backis

parallel to the

Palestine. This can

the

plans

of

the

sixth,

at

which have

development witnessed

in

be seen by a comparison of
synagogues,

fifth-century

back walls of which are

straight,

the

with those of the

a conspicuous

bema and apse

one end.

Another Syrian synagogue, that of Apamea,

cannot therefore study

mosaic pavement with

its

plan.

its

all

details

The

and we

layout of the

inscriptions

uncertainty ap-

as vet only partly excavated, with

its

two super-

imposed mosaic pavements. The Apamea Syna-

gogue

is

dated to 391 C.E., that of Caesarea to

459 C.E.

Two more

synagogues

period of transition.

(to judge

the

Diaspora,

the

in

seems to

The

two

earlier of the

from the absence of an apse) seems

be the one found

was entered

Miletus. This

at

to

through a fore-court surrounded by a porch on


three sides

as at

Dura Europos

around the walls of the


itself

lica

court.

was entered from the

entrance on the north.

It

A bench

The prayer

ran
hall

fore-court, with a side

was

a fairly large basi-

(18.51 x 11. .06m.) with two rows of columns

ending

in pilasters at

the end walls. There

evidence of an apse. The women's gallerv

have been above the


of steps.

has not yet been published in

The same

aisles.

plan of the Synagogue of Caesarea,

this

services

wall

plies to the

plans of which have been published, belong to

bema from which the Law was read and the


performed. The removal of this bema

the

surrounded by

(perhaps

on the north were four steps leading

to a small raised platform,

nave entered from a fore-room and

and was

flanked by two columns surmounted by an arch.

Adjoining

indicate

nected

aisles,

but there

The synagogue and


with

separately

rounded by

its

large

walls, with a porch

is

is

no

mav

no trace

court are con-

courtyard

on

its

sur-

west side

(20.83 x 28.51m.).

The synagogue

at

Priene

mav be

ascribed to

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

179

180

The beginning
at Dura

type of synagogue.

later

third century C.E., whereas, as

an apse)
fourth

we

Macedonia

at Stobi in

century.

assume that

We

end

at the

of the

inclined

therefore,

are,

with

(i.e.,

development of the

in the

the

in

shall see, the

tvpe appears fully developed

basilical

of the

can already be noted

transition

to

later type,

was followed by
The evidence for this as-

the Diaspora took the lead and


architects in Palestine.

sumption

that the hall with the niche at one

is

and the entrance facing the niche appear

side

the Diaspora; the conditions of existence of

first in

away

the Jewish communities in the dispersion, far

from the Holy Land, would naturally make the

di-

rection of praver a matter of prime importance.

The

tvpe of synagogue

later

sense comparable to the earlier

group were

columns,

of the

solid constructions of dressed

when

facades. Their remains, even

friezes)

a well-

is

heavy architectural ornament

stone, with

in this

is

The synagogues

defined class of structure.


earlier

which
type

pedestals,

bases,

lintels,

in their

in ruins

(viz.,

fragments of

thus remained conspicuous on or above

On

the ground.

the other hand, the later syna-

gogues were comparatively flimsy structures,

built

on the outside only, while

their

of dressed stone

walls

were

with rubble and plastered on

filled

Thev

the inside.

reflect the

impoverished state of

the Jewish communities in the Bvzantine period.

The

part of their decoration, the mosaic-

finest

pavements, easily disappeared underground. The


first

68.

Beth Alpha, ground


(after Rice and Sukcnik).

Synagogue

at

remains of the later tvpe cf synagogue to

plan

be noted were

in fact isolated

inscriptions in the

the

same

period, but the construction of a pro-

jecting square

niche

in

the center of the back

fragments of mosaic

synagogues of Sepphoris and

Kefar Kenna. Their unusual

character

earlier excavators to believe that thev

the

led

must have

wall indicates a slightly later type of building.

been made by Judaeo-Christians, especially

There

view of their

corner.

is

the usual fore-court, \yith a well in the

The building

is

again of the basilica! type,

with two rows of columns, a door

and another
is

the north side; a

in

built along the wall

on that

in

row

the center
of benches

side.

the

of

late date.

in

However, the discovery

synagogue pavement and inscription

at

Na'aran (at present 'Ein Duk, north of Jericho)

and the discovery

Alpha Synagogue

of the Beth

1928, have established our knowledge on a

in

firmer basis. Earlier discoveries in the Diaspora


(at

VI

The evidence
Diaspora

now

both from Palestine and from the

points

to

the

fourth-fifth

century

as

the date of the transition from the earlier to the

If

Aegina and
seen

in

Hammam

were

their true context.

the synagogue at Stobi

Yugoslavia)

see below)

Lif:

is

(near Monastir in

correctly ascribed to the

fourth century,

it

is

the earliest

end

known

of the

building

SYNAGOGUE AHGHITEGTURE

181

69.

of the later type.

It

Synagogue

Hammath

at

THE GLASSIGAL PERIOD

evidence, to the early eighth century. Thus the

construction measuring 19.20 x 14.20m., divided

synagogues of the

bv two rows

about 300 years.

and two

of pillars into a

An

aisles.

ern wall of the nave.

basilical tradition,

nave (7.40 wide)

vestibule, 3.75

hall.

it

m. wide,

In accordance with the

was connected with the

hall

by three doors, the central one wider than the

On

rest.

The

apse projected from the east-

preceded the main

182

Gader, ground plan (after Sukenik).

described as a basilica!

is

IN

the other side, the vestibule was connect-

later

architectural

synagogues are the

tvpe span a period of

characteristics
basilical plan

the

of

and the mosaic

basilical

and

plan follows closely that of the churches

differs

from that of the

their traverse colonnade,

which

is

reflected in the

The

while there was a marble basin

the south-east

synagogues have two rows of columns or

may

thus divided into a central nave and two

The

The

The
be

in

Palestinian examples of the later tvpe

dated

earliest

to

the

seems

to

fifth-to-eighth

centuries.

have been that

at

Gerasa

in

aisles

might

century.

the latest to the beginning

at

likely to the

end

The Beth Alpha Svnagogue

of the fifth
(fig.

68)

is

dated by an inscription in the reign of the "King"


(i.e.

emperor)

refers to Justin

The

Justinius.
I,

who

This

in

all

probability

reigned from 518 to 527.

latest of the Palestinian

synagogues of

this

also

have served

The only exception


synagogue
of

at

for clerestory

of

galleries

windows.

was the

late

Hammath-Gader (el-Hammeh,

east

to

this

Lake Tiberias) which had

row

plan

at the

end of each

columns L-shaped corners with a traverse

colonnade connecting them; the plan of

this svna-

gogue, however, presents also other anomalies,

such as the entrance at the side, and the almost

type seems to be that found at Jericho, which has

complete absence of the figurative element

been dated, on both

pavements

stylistic

and archaeological

aisles.

galleries,

one on each side of the building; these

more

pillars

were apparently lower than the nave

and were surmounted bv the women's

erected already in 530-1; the svnagogue must in

of the sixth or

later

the longitudinal direction only; the hall was

Transjordan, which was overbuilt by a church

consequence date

with

earlier basilicas

plan of the earlier tvpe of svnagogue.

corner.

The

pavements with figurative representations.

ed with an atrium surrounded bv a colonnade,


in

later

(fig.

69).

The entrance

in its

to the later

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

183

Screen from synagogue

70.

synagogue

was

halls

by three doors

as a rule

in

the wall opposite the apse, which was directed

towards

one

into

line the entrance of the building

The

direction of prayer,

synagogues
east at
In

arrangement

This

Jerusalem.

is

at

(except

was

was apparently square);

the niche

i.e.,

Gerasa, where as at Priene

at

this

attached

in

it.

The

The synagogues

of the later type did not, of

cease to serve as

course,

the

In

anomaly

Thus, besides the narthex, various side-rooms were

continu-

cantorum of the
development,

parallel

added

to the principal building.

type

The normal

basi-

represented by the synagogues of

is

was by way

of

in

which the entrance

an open court with a well

in the

From

center, as required for ritual ablutions.

the

court one entered at Gerasa a prostyle porch. At

two cases

(at

Beth Alpha and Na'aran there was a closed nar-

Iammath-b\ -Tiberias and Hammath-Gader)

se-

thex,

the

raised

was

area

in

at

least

parated from the nave by a chancel screen with


screen posts and balustrade slabs.

carved

with

the

The

seven-branched

latter

synagogues

at

were

candlesticks.

Screens of the same type must have existed

in

fig.

70

The

the

Ashdcd, Ascalon, and Gaza, of

which no other remains have been found so


(

centers in

addition to their primary function as praver halls.

produce a platform with

to

to the schola

churches.

Christian

nave

community

Ionia,

in

Iical

comparable

two sculp-

eases

tured lions guarding the shrine.

Gerasa and Beth Alpha,

is

some

suggests that there were in

higher than that of the nave. This


ing into

side

representation at Beth Alpha

Gerasa Synagogue. The pavement of the apse was

steps

each

Behind the curtain there was place

sticks flanking

the

again confirms the relatively early date of the

rise

on

colonnettes

and the

semi-circular apse

on

rested

not only for the shrine but for the two candle-

Gerasa, Jericho and Na'aran.

separated from the main room by a curtain which

of the apse.

orientation of the later

the wall towards Jerusalem,

direction of prayer

Ascalon.

at

brought

uniform: they face south in Galilee,

Hulda, west

184

raised platform

also

fulfilled

but again differing

in

shape.

Beth Alpha the narthex corresponds


the

width of the

around the court


at

Na'aran

enclosed

is

in a

basilica,

at least

irregular in

at

separate enclosure.

apse,

and there

is

still

some evidence

the
that

The

court

From

the court

with arches resting on two pillars

presumably a
semi-circular
it

side.

the

attached to the synagogue. At

in

went

(and from the hall) one could enter a side-room,

as a free-standing construction.

was placed

to

it

far

We

chest,

width

in

shape, with the well

functions of a reading platform, which thus be-

wooden

at

Na'aran

on one

came superfluous

The Torah-shrine. which was

Whereas

was usually

in

the center.

have here most probably the school-room

the plan

is

Hammath-Gader

different again; probably

owing

to the

exigencies of space in this busv spa, the narthex

and other side-rooms were arranged sideways

to

SYNAGOGUE ARCHITECTURE

185

the main axis of the hall, instead of lengthwise;

two entrances

the

of the hall being in the side

and the main wall lacing the apse having

walls,

architectural

synagogues

ornament of the

later type of

The

seem

the

of

parts

have been the

to

dinarily

the

of

decorated

building

capitals,

relief

in

which are

or-

Corinthian type, with a seven-

branched candlestick replacing the central rosette

where the

on the abacus

cross

was put

same period.

Christian churches of the

in

the

good

more ornament was lavished on the chancel

deal

screens:

menorah with

there occurs the

accompanying

four

its

objects, enclosed within a

wreath

to

Hanking the principal

The

Other elements are grapes

churches.

amphora, stvlized pomegranates,

many
Owing to

which had figured representations.

of

a fortunate discovery of a variant in the text of

Talmud* we

the Jerusalem

proximate

date

the

are able to

fix

non-figural to figural pavements, in the

ap-

from

change-over

the

for

half

first

of the fourth century, after a period of stricter

observance.
fairly

liberal

We mav

perhaps assume that the

when

period in the third century,

the sculptures of the earlier tvpe of svnagogue

of

show

all

The mosaics

vigor in draughtsmanship.

much
Beth

at

Alpha are contemporary with the pavements

Ladv Marv

the Christian monastery of the

Hammam,
of

spite

in

at el

In

city.

geographical proximity, the syna-

this

gogue pavements are

much more

same

the vicinitv of the

in

in near-

by Beth Shean, or with the funerary chapel

entirely different in

in

Thev

conception.

their

same time somewhat

style,

more primitive and

Oriental in detail,

childish

are at

and very much

alive**.

The period

principal ornament of the synagogues of

varv,

a certain crudity of execution allied with

rosettes of various types.

the later tvpe were their mosaic pavements,

in-

Ham-

at

mosaic representations

various

the

The

pavement

course, in their artistic value, but thev

found

and

lions

math-Gader.

more popular

in

the Beth Alpha syna-

guarding the entrance

gogue or the two

with sinuous ribbons, also of the same type as

issuing from an

186

purpose. Other symbols were the lion and bull

very poor compared to the rich

is

and varied ornamentation of the earlier ones.


only

THE CLASSICAL PERIOD

IN

scription set into the mosaic

no opening.

The

of

comparative liberalism

brought forth the flourishing figurative

art of the

synagogues was cut short bv another era

later

which greater

strictness prevailed.

was due

to interference

Palestine

is

we may

Whether

bv the Moslem

a disputed point. In

of destruction

in

this

rulers of

anv case, the work

was done bv Jewish

iconoclasts, as

see clearly at Na'aran. There the figures

were removed, but the

themselves

along them were carefully


is

which

inscriptions

left in their places.

It

Hammath-Gader pave-

noteworthy that the

ment has only the representation

of

two

lions,

were carved, was succeeded bv an iconoclastic

while the late one at Jericho has only the Torah-

movement, and most

shrine

and the symbolical seven-branched candle-

stick.

In

of the figures of living be-

on these buildings

ings

were defaced.

In

the

middle of the fourth century, there was again a


reaction in favor of a

more

which

liberal view,

this

to

even

the

ments was evolved which contained three prin-

scruple)

candlesticks
scene,

hope
Lions'

the

and

probably
for

Torah-shrine with flanking

lions; the

selected

redemption:

Well

(Na'aran),

Zodiac; and a Biblical


for

such
the

(Beth Alpha), Noah's Ark

its

as

expression

Daniel

Sacrifice

in

of

of

the

The

roll

enriched

in

of

covered

at

(earlier generations

floor

Abraham, Isaac and

Divine

hand

any

without

synagogues has been

Palestinian

the last years bv a Samaritan svna-

gogue, so far the only one of


She'albim

its

(Arab.

kind;

Salbit)

it

was
in

same

Recently,

with

the

remains

of

mosaic

representations of the menorah, etc.

synagogue floor,
were found near

Tirat Zvi in Galilee, as well as a very beautiful floor


color plate)
"

Sec above, preface

dis-

1948.

Isaac

(Gerasa); at Husifa

a symbolic vine seems to have served the

symbolic

liberal

allowed representation of

have walked on

seem

cipal elements

it

svmbol on the

the seventh century. At that

till

svnagogue was more

a sacred

time a cycle of decorations for svnagogue pave-

lasted probably

the

than the church; for

west Negev )

(see

with other important remains at Nirim (north-

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

187

This synagogue

in

15.40 x 8.55 m.
north,

is

a building

is

obviously orientated to the

towards Mount Gerizim, the sacred

i.e.,

mount

earlier state

its

It

Samaritans.

of the

had a

It

and

hall

narthex and there were traces of side-rooms.

African style

188

is

most interesting and surprisingly

has a symbolical picture of two peacocks

rich. It

drinking from a kantharos and flanked by two

palm

trees (symbols

The

Land

of Israel), with fishes


inscription

mosaic pavements are ornamented with geometric

main

patterns together with the inscription, in the Old

of the

Hebrew

an ethrog (?). The

script

"The Lord
pavement

bv

used

still

rule

shall

Samaritans:

the

ever and

for

Greek

also contained a

ever."

inscription

The

beasts

and

strown

two seven-branched candlesticks. This interesting


synagogue

be dated,

to

is

in its first stage, to

the

fourth century C.E.

the Diaspora two

In

type deserve special mention: that at Aegina


identified

bv

is

Greek inscription mentioning an

archisvnagogus and concluding with the formula

be upon

"Blessing

Aramaic

we

from the evidence,

which has

donors"

The ornament
with

apse

The synagogue

(it

in

similar

is

Aegina

at

is

Greek lands).

is

small

to

chapels.

a single room, with-

Another Diaspora synagogue to be assigned to


the late period

it

that of

is

The plan

of this

(Hammam

Naro

synagogue

is

Lif)

peculiar:

had two entrances, a principal one from a court

with a porch over the door, followed by another

colonnaded court, a narthex and the main room.

The main
the

was entered from the north, and

hall

worshipper had to turn

wards the apse

in

right

at

angles to-

the east wall; a narrow plat-

form stood before the apse. Another entrance to

was from

the building

a corridor in the west;

led to a side-room connected

main

hall;

into

the

placed

is

woman,

in

Julia,

The main
such a way

pers could

so

of

inscription

that

it

can

hall,

and

arranged that the

.see

it.

the synagogue

we may assume

room was the women's


ment was

The whole

trellis.

own

when

rather inclined

is

made

Julia

the pavement

expense" (de suo proprio tesselavit)

who

that the side

that the pave-

women

The pavement

at

deco-

rated the "Sancta Sinagoga Naronensis" as well

more obvious

as thev could, avoiding the

Christ-

ian svmbols.*

VII

we may give some


Roman and Bvzantine

In concluding this survey,

thought to the place of the

synagogue

in

the general development of Jewish

art,

and

We

have here a group of buildings dating from

the development of art in general.

in

geneity

worship-

Naro,

in

the

homo-

assured owing to the uniform worship

is

thev served, and to a large extent also by their


00
geographical proximity.
Also, thev form the connecting link between the art of the Period of the

Second Temple, with

its

tomb facades and ossuarv

decoration, and that of the fullv developed medieval synagogue

and illuminated manuscript; and

one particularly fortunate instance

in

Europos) thev enable us

to catch a

(at

Dura-

glimpse of a

cycle illustrating the Bible, which

pictorial

immense

it

a door with the

by

hall.

As the principle benefactress


a

acanthus

synagogue decoration strongly shows

believe that

of

be read directly bv those coming from the west.

was

an

she called upon the local craftsmen

Christian

influence

was

development

of

synagogue as a place

of

in

the

art.

The function

another door at the end of the corridor

led directly
of the hall

birds, as well as baskets with fruits

within

style of this

"at her

pavement shows

the third to the eighth centurv C.E.; their

proper.

Tunisia.

of the

rest

orientated

out the dividing rows of columns of a basilica

in

and

Apart

purelv geometrical and the struc-

is

its

a church

synagogues

to the east, like all

flanked bv two representations

menorah, one accompanied bv a shofar and

should certainly conclude

was

that the building

ture

the

all

parallels in Palestinian synagogues.

and birds above. The

non-Jewish influence, and one


to

synagogues of the later

is

perhaps of Paradise and the

of

prayer and assembly, of teaching, and occasionalalso

ly

as

a place

where the stranger and the

needy could pass the night, led the


tects to
*

See

**

It

adopt the plan of a


chapter

may

Roman

earlier archibasilica,

with

V.

mentioned that what was. formerly considered the most westerly synagogue of classical times which
had left archaeological traces (at Elche in Spain) has now
been shown pretty conclusively to be a non-Jewish building.
be

SYNAGOGUE ARGHITEGTURE

189

its

traverse transept,

and combine

surrounded bv porches. In the


used

lery,

Roman

in

THE CLASSIGAL PERIOD

IN

As time went on,

with a court

it

the gal-

interior,

basilicas as the

promenade

by making a niche
City,

principal innovations in the in-

terior were closelv connected with the peculiar

character

of

svnagogue

the

service,

which

in

Law, and an occasional

prayer, the reading of the

discourse replaced the incense-burning, libations

and

sacrifices

tion of divine

of the Temple.

This spiritualiza-

worship was the great revolution-

by the

ary act of Judaism, which was followed

its

lack of a

the wall facing the Holy

in

serve also as a platform

plan

The

when the victorious


own buildings in the

that of the Christian churches

church was able to plan

its

fourth century.

The ornament

synagogues has a double

of the

significance: a Jewish

and a general one. As has

furnishes palpable evidence

gogues, there was no need for an altar, and cer-

that the so-called hostility of the

no place for a statue of the god. In their

to

differ

from

pagan prototypes, the

their

synagogue architects

the

in

earlier

Roman

lished even the apse of the

was

mar

to

the simple

fixtures

ex-

spirit-

were the ben-

Roman

ches along the walls. In the

benches were provided onlv

basilicas the

in the apse, where

the judges sat; the rest of the hall

was given

the merchants and passers-bv, rushing in


ections.

The more decorous

with

and approaches

of

richlv

dir-

sit

through-

benches could be used for instruc-

tion. In contrast

and

all

to

divine service requir-

ed a place where elderlv people could


out; also such

this plain interior the

facade

the building were dignified

ornamented.

was not a permanent element of

From

Jewish orthodoxy.

the general point of view

the earliest links in the great transformation which

reminder of the center of Jewish worship; other-

permanent

to

the synagogues of the classical period are one of

ualitv of the hall. The light falling from the great


window turned towards Jerusalem was a perpetual

wise, the onlv

art

synagogue

which

the god or emperor. No permanent

ternal construction

figurative

it

phase abo-

basilica,

served both as a tribunal and a place for the


statue of

evolution of

the Diaspora must have influenced

in

been seen above,

tainly

Law

from which the

could be read and expounded.


this

first

and then providing an apse which could

other monotheistic religions. Thus, in the syna-

zeal

perma-

nent focus of prayer. These were provided,

throng below, was adapted to the use of female

The

plan was found incon-

this

venient in orientation and in

from which the curious could contemplate the

worshippers.

190

turned

the

classical

medieval Byzantine. The

antiquity

of

art

the

into

victory of the conceptual

over the perspective and of the optical over the


plastic

principle

is

foreshadowed

ment. Thus, earlier synagogues


ral

phenomenon

of Jewish art,

bv that of Jewish
history,

great

in

victory

ability to express

whether-

German

it

had

of

to

its

it

had

the Jewish

itself

is

paralleled

to its

unique
its

own

in

to

adapt

spirit

itself.

was

its

anv foreign medium:

adopt the Greek and Arabic,

or English languages, or Hellenistic, Bv-

zantine and Gothic

ages

which

Owing

the Diaspora, was confronted with

an external world to which

The

orna-

gene-

in

Jewish people, whether in

the

country or

linguistics.

their

illustrate the

art;

keeping throughout the

inner integrity and thus ensuring at

times the potential return to

its

Hebrew

all

origins.

JEWISH PICTORIAL ART IN THE CLASSICAL PERIOD


RACHEL WISCHNITZER -BERNSTEIN

by

There

ample evidence

is

presentational

among

were

arts

that the re-

unknown

wholly

not

We

XV.

(Antiquities

learn from Jose-

Alexandra,

that

6)

ii.

daughter of the High Priest Hvrcanus

be contemptuous

likely, therefore, to

had

conventions)

religious

hope

(Wars

I xxii.

3), the historian

Antonv with

the allegation was or

concern

us

here;

it

among

painting

as attested

Elsewhere

in

us

guilty intentions.

is

Jews

justified

the practice
the

of

this story, that


I

of

how Herod
sending her own

tells

was not

pious King Herod Agrippa


strike

painted

Mark Antony

of arousing his sympathy.

accused his wife Mariamne of


likeness to

II

of accepted

portraits

her two children, which she sent to


in the

(hardly

is

Manuscript illumination was known

on horseback on the reverse

classes

significant.

The

so far as to

one case

some evidence

There

side.

all

is

that in the verv last davs of the

Second Temple an ordinance was passed,


bidding

manner

is

The Temple on

were

to

be found

in

built

Jerusa-

the one hand, the royal palace

feature of the

by Herod were the cherubim

lettering

tateuch sent bv the High Priest


in

70 who are

used

in a

II

Philadelphus

divine

artistic

Temple

re-

traditional in

in

Alexandria in the third-century

The Talmudic

B.C.E.

names

in

objection

to

writing the

sacred scroll in gold letters

evidently refers to a current practice.

be

remembered

that

the

rabbinic

should

It

disapproval

applied specifically to scrolls intended for synagogical use; in the case of private codices there

That the scope

among Jews

of painting

time was not confined to calligraphy


inscription

on a sarcophagus found

dating from the classical period.

or painter from

life,

employing the representation

human

figure painting on vessels

Talmud. Rabbinical

literature

is
is

embodying the human

beings. Similar-

mentioned

in the

familiar, too, with

and does

not apparently find anything objectionable in

up bv the Romans

on the city gate of Antioch;


fore, that

dian

would seem, there-

they were painted carvings.

palace

animal

it

in

friezes,

Tiberias

which

was

were

as a trophv

The Hero-

decorated

destroved

bv

with
the

"The practice

of

The deceased,

the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in the year


set

in

Rome,

in

described here as a zographos,

of animals, etc., as well as


ly,

attested

is

catacomb on the Via Appia

is

at this

frescoes

were

may

well have been a greater degree of latitude.

sacred Jewish art from time immemorial. After

70, these

Pen-

referred to

is

the letter of Aristeas, which relates in a legen-

one Eudoxios,

beings."

on the other, were the practical centers of


activity at this time.

Gold

script illumination.

Jewish

human

passage of the

refers to a family

of scribes living in Jerusalem before

by an

"all likenesses

Talmud (Meg. 71d)

described as "artists," which seems to imply manu-

this,

rabbi

not wholly to be excluded.

Jerusalem

for-

of figurative representations

any living creature whatsoever; vet before

lem, except those of

of actual

illuminations in the accepted sense, the possibility

according to the statement of a second-century

of

an early

at

and though we have no evidence

Septuagint translation of the Bible for Ptolemy

portrait

in

date,

dary fashion the story of the preparation of the

of

year 66.

Whether

with that of his son, the future Herod Agrippa


II,

the

in

does not

upper

went

coins bearing his likeness

Rome

revolutionaries after the revolt against

the Jews in classical antiquity, even be-

fore the fall of Jerusalem.

phus

show

to

man

is,

that

on a wall, although he cannot

likeness,

he draws
instill it

this.

a figure

with

spirit

and breath and entrails and organs," a fourth-century moralist observes

bath 149a).

(T.B. Berakoth 10a: Sab-

JEWISH PICTORIAL ART IN THE CLASSICAL PERIOD

193

among themselves

Scholars differ
originated

first

the

illustration

with

decoration

the

or

scrolls

which

as to

scripture

of

representational

inscriptions

194

Greek and Aramaic, by Samuel

in

bar Iddi, the archon, and his associates. This


building whose walls were

is

the

great part preserv-

in

motifs of minor objects of general use, such as

ed under the embankment, thus saving approxi-

plates, pottery

lamps

mately one-half of the original number of a series

Some such

trans-

of

and

coins, glass cups, vases

and

textiles

portable

see Chapter

for the diffusion of

the

IV

synagogues and

of

tombs. As mentioned elsewhere

Talmudic source
century

channels

as

Jewish art and have inspired

and carvings

paintings

have served

may-

articles

in

work, a

this

refers to the relaxation in third-

Palestine

ban on wall-painting,

the

of

wall-paintings

clined

synagogue

To

interior.

story,

obtain the

in-

embankment, the Roman

the

of

profile

military engineers cut

Bible

the

illustrating

which decorated the

down

the side-walls of the

an angle to meet the eastern

hall at

(entrance) wall, which thev had virtually razed.

Thus on the entrance wall only one row

of pic-

while a fourth-century reference attests to the use

tures has remained, while on the west wall all

of mosaics.

three rows were

now

Archaeological finds have


this literary

evidence. Jewish

monuments

side

panels

cover the whole period of the third to the

vived

(figs.

is

homogene-

content and a strong popular appeal. Ori-

and

ginally confined to the circles of the court

the High Priesthood, Jewish art

means

came

be a

to

broad

of expressing the aspirations of the

On

the side-walls the line

three rows except on the north

all

where the lower row

thirty

eighth centuries. Their main feature


ity of

of clas-

cuts through

and the Diaspora prac-

sical antiquity in Palestine

tically

confirmed

fully

left.

When

of

the

is

decoration have sur-

wall

svnagogue was excavated,

found that the paint had flaked

and the

ings of the earlier

The

pictorial

art,

about the antecedents of Jewish

which emerges full-blown

the

in

third-centurv of the C.E. in the wall-decoration

svnagogue of Dura Europos on the Euph-

of the
rates,

on the verv

would hardly

the Babvlonian Diaspora,

soil of

suffice to reconstruct the story of its

development. In the course of excavations on


important

site,

the

ruins

of

this

svnagogue were

found buried under a sloping brick embankment


to

the

north

the

of

main

proximitv to the city wall.

means

the fortifications by this

menace

gate,

in

immediate

The strengthening

in the face of the

of invasion in the third-century

had pre-

served the buildings in this corner of the

almost in the same

way

of

as those of

city,

Pompeii had

been overwhelmed and preserved bv the volcanic

eruption.

gogue on the
shortly

before

There had been an


site,

built

this,

its

earlier

syna-

about the vear 200, or


walls

decorated

with

painted ornamentation. This was rebuilt in the


year 245,

as

we

are

informed by a

series

of

paint-

fiftv years.

older decoration occupied onlv the upper

II

What we know

We

later periods, separat-

toward Jeru-

central part of the wall orientated

salem

spots

to view.

compare the wall

are thus in a position to

was

it

many

off in

under-painting had come

ed bv an interval of more than

masses.

all,

71, 72).

the

and the

In

fairlv intact.

west )

On

a vine, the branches of

which

extended over the whole panel, perch two birds.

upper middle of the panel

In a grove in the

Outside the grove, below to the

lioness.

lion

whelps are chained one

left,

a table

is

two

to the other; to the

with fruit or loaves.

set

right,

is

has been

It

suggested that the two fettered voung lions are


the

kings

last

reigns

Judah

of

were deported

to

who

their

after

short

Egvpt and Babvlon

res-

pectivelv. In that case, the lioness in the grove

may

represent

the birds

Judah deprived of her children,

would svmbolize Babvlon and Egypt,

while the vine

is

Judah, Zedekiah

an allegorv of the
(cf.

last

King

XIX). The table may be that "prepared


presence of

XXIII,

5.

mv

to

in

in the

Psalm

The symbolism, however, does not con-

cern us here.
values,

enemies" referred

of

XVII and

Ezekiel chapters

We

are

interested

in

the artistic

and these emerge sometimes with

ling brilliance

on the frescoes of the

start-

later svna-

gogue.

With the extension and

partial

rebuilding of

195

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

196

197

JEWISH PICTORIAL ART IN THE CLASSICAL PERIOD

198

o
D.

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

199

The

73.

Dura Synagogue

the

in

Valley of

Dead Hones;

detail of frescoes at

200

Dura-Europe

The hypothesis

245 C.E., two generations

that the

Dura paintings were

now

after the original construction, the old decoration

derived from illustrated Bible scrolls

appeared to be no longer adequate. Instead of

strengthened bv the fact that, with one exception,

one panel on the wall orientated toward Jerusa-

the Elijah scenes (which will be spoken of below)

now

lem, the prayer-hall

running

in

Moreover,

received a decoration

three rows around

the

allegorical

and scenes with human

the four walls.

all

was abandoned

style

figures

were introduced,

minutely and graphically illustrating a good part


of the Biblical history.

Some

Biblical heroes, such

Moses, David, Joseph and Jacob, are repre-

as

sented by several

scattered

which may

scenes,

have been taken out of complete pictorial cycles.


This

would

imply

the

scrolls of at least the

existence

of

illustrated

books of Genesis, Exodus,

Samuel, Kings, Esther and Ezekiel, as early


the

first

part of the third-century.

Some

moreover, see here indirect evidence of the

ence of illustrated Hebrew Bibles which

as

scholars,
exist-

may have

form a chronological sequence,

lost, is

faithfully follow-

ing the text. Stylistic arguments have also been

advanced

favor of this

in

several of the

thesis.

feature

Dura Synagogue panels

is

peated appearance of the hero within one scene.

Such

a practice

was

familiar in illustrated scrolls,

being derived from the fact that the reader could


not see

more than one portion

of the scroll at a

time, the rest being rolled up. Since wall-painting

could also be examined only gradually, as the

moved along from one

spectator

wall to the other, the figures

had

here, too, for the sake of clarity.

surrection panel to
is first

portion of the
to

be repeated

Thus

in

the Re-

be described below, Ezekiel

seen leading the ten tribes back from exile

influenced early Christian art

in

which Old Tes-

and then again announcing the Resurrection

tament subjects predominate.

On

the other hand,

73 )

it

may be observed

tistry in

that

in

the Christian bap-

Dura, which was decorated

in

212 C.E.,

two scenes portraying Old Tes-

there arc only

tament subjects,

all

the others being based on the

Gospels.

When

Dura Synagogue paintings were

discovered, and the order

which thev were

in

first

to

be

read was not known, some scholars maintained


that

in

contrast

to

and

is

fewish

was lacking

clear

Christian

early

everything

art,

intelligently

In the

times

(fig.

Exodus panel Moses appears three

raising his staff to strike the water, turn-

ing back to close the sea, and leading his people


safety.

to

Another interesting point: while the

sea with the

drowning Egyptians was represented

the Exodus panel, the actual crossing of the

in

the

of

the re-

Israelites

was

not.

This

may be

additional evi-

dence that the wall panel was condensed from


a

more detailed

scroll illustration.

where

planned,
Ill

art

in

ideological

content.

Only gradually did the conviction grow that the


paintings of the synagogue in
as a

Dura were conceived

whole, and systematically arranged.

On

entering the Dura Synagogue through the

doorwav opposite the Torah-niche, the

visitor

saw

one

the painted panels running in two series

IEWISH PICTORIAL ART IN THE CLASSICAL PERIOD

201

to the left of the door, the other to

74). In the lower row, on the

we have

left,

We

portraying the story of Elijah.

bv the ravens, met bv the widow

the right

both converging upon the niche on the west

202

(fig.

scenes

him fed

see

of Zarephat,

reviving her son, and bringing his sacrifice. Con-

we

cluding this series and adjoining the niche,

Triumph

the

Mordecai (see

of

see

72). Ahasuerus

fig.

and Esther are seated on separate thrones; that


of

former being decorated with lions and

the

uppermost

eagles. Directly over the scene, in the

row, appears the throne of Solomon, identical in


its

decoration, for according to Jewish legend, the

Persian

had come

ruler

possession

into

the

of

Solomonic throne. The familiarity with Rabbinic

and Midrashic

legend

Dura

frescoes

We

move now

to the

Here we are met

in the

scenes portraying David.

nerous hero

who

who

the

in

very remarkable.

in fact

is

displayed

stories

spares

of the doorway.

right

lower row bv a set of

He

appears as the ge-

Saul's

contrast

in

life,

is

shown

receiving the deserved punishment. Later,

David

to

i.

Joab

has murdered his rivals and

seen raised from the dead along with the tribes

and Judah

of Israel

scene depicting

in the great

Ezekiel's Vision of the Resurrection

Bones (see

fig.

of the

Dry

73).

This cycle concludes with the anointing of David,

an act which suggests the anointing of the

What

Messiah.

striking in this

is

sequence

is

that

the scenes do not illustrate one Biblical book or


part of

it.

What we have

of episodes
ly

here rather,

is

a selection

intended to convev some idea. Hence, instead

of telling the storv of


tive,

the

artist

David

connected narra-

in a

introduced

episode

an

chapter of Ezekiel associated

David

from

even interrupted the flow of the narrative by


before the climax

anointing of David

in content with the

from a different book.

storv but taken

serting,

74.

from different Biblical books, obvious-

He
in-

the scene of the

the entirely unconnected

row.

We

Tabernacle, seen
subjected to

trials

first

and

in

its

the Ark of the

glory

and

as

it

was

dow's son
true

The upper row, poorly preserved,

a confirmation,

prophetic

mission.

is

a kind of

running commentary to the topics of the lower

bv

contrast, of his

Solomon's

throne, set

directly over that of Ahasuerus, has already

discussed.
of

The Exodus depicted over

Moses confirms the

minence given

in

the

been

the Finding

child's future leadership.

Dura

frescoes

is

the pro-

was

to the story of Joseph. This

so also in early Christian art, but the conjecture

has

been advanced that

interest us here, there

tribulations.

directly over

the panel which shows Elijah reviving the wi-

Noteworthy

can only briefly refer to the scenes of the


is

Thus we see Saul among the Prophets,

where he does not properly belong,

episode of the Finding of Moses.

middle row where the theme

Torah-niche on west wall of Dura-Europe >s.

to

in

was

the

paintings

that

a deliberate attempt

emphasize the significance of the northern

raelitish

Kingdom, the

so-called

Kingdom

of

Is-

Eph-

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

203

"5.

raim.

To begin with

Joshua: detail of west wall frescoes at Dura-Europos.

the repainted panel in the

upper central part of the west wall, the space


on the

left,

fresco,

is

table stood in the earlier

now occupied by Jacob on

bed blessing

we

where the

his

204

his death-

twelve sons, while on the right,

see Jacob blessing Joseph's sons,

Ephraim and

Manasseh. Above the blessing of the twelve

tribes

appears David playing his

lyre.

comparison

with the former purely allegorical scene

is

very

In

panel on top of the blessing

scenes, Joseph

is

seated in the center and sur-

instructive.

rounded bv
children's

his

brothers,

his

children

and

his

children.

The two

central

superimposed panels which

JEWISH PICTORIAL ART IN THE CLASSICAL PERIOD

205

by standing figures

On

tance.

the

left

emphasize

to

impor-

their

we have Abraham

75)

(fig.

open

right a figure holding an

and on the

scroll,

variously interpreted as Moses, Joshua, Samuel,

Moses
with

shown twice

is

burning

the

the

Above these two

Ezra.

or

Josiah

as

left,

he

the

in

bush

on

the

figures,

same

episode,

right

and

miraculous

the

receives

side

on

signs

The symmetrical arrangement

of these panels

upper middle of the west wall was meant

assuredlv to emphasize the niche below, in which


the scripture scrolls
vices.

The niche

were placed during the

itself

had an

ser-

architectural frame-

evidence of a Jewish pictorial and representa-

emergence of what

tional art, the

zantine art at so early a date.

Jewish art of this period.

much

sented in

the

a menorah,

familiar decorative details in

same

a tetradrachm of the

The Temple was

repre-

form on the reverse of

Second Revolt (132-135).

frontality of

rical

groups (Moses

symmet-

in

Well), the disregard of

at the

perspective and depth, are most striking

when comPompeian

illusionistic style of the

paintings or reliefs such as those of the Arch of

Rome. Some

Titus in

existed

stvle

as those

Roman

late

in

historical

on the shaft of Trajan's column

In painting, however,

Dura

it

had no

reliefs

Rome.

in

parallels in the

Rome

marked the

it

a heavv, coarse variety of folk-art, in

this stvle

new

introduced a

ideal of slender

proportions, of a spiritualized facial tvpe


in

new

of the features of this

way toward

Temple accompanied by

The

the figures, their arrangement in rows (as in the

lumns. The front was decorated with the represen-

lulab,

termed By-

is

scene of the anointing of David) or

West. Moreover, while in

ethrog, and

was, besides the

significant

work, consisting of an arched front on two co-

tation of the

Dura Syna-

the discovery of the

gogue paintings so

pared with the

for his mission.

in the

What made

described, were enframed on both sides

we have

206

(e.g.,

the standing figure of the prophet with the

open

values,

new

This anticipates the

scroll).

which gave direction

way

sense of

European

to

art,

Close to the Temple to the right was portrayed

pointing the

the Sacrifice of Isaac for, according to ancient

ments of medieval painting and sculpture. The

Jewish
built

the

the Temple
Mount Moriah, on

tradition,

on

sacrifice

episode

of

Solomon was

resemblance of the Dura figure of the prophet

where

to the conventional delineation of Jesus in early

the

spot

associated with

had

Isaac

found

other

synagogue

to possess decorations ambitious

may be assumed
of the

that they

as those

hitherto.

But

it

were not unique. The

Dura Synagogue were presum-

ably following the normal,


vention of the age.
exceptional

been

has

antiquity

of

which we have been considering

builders

We

owe

circumstances.

if

not universal, con-

art

is

to

verv

much

wrong, however,

to

striking

would be

It

imagine that the Dura Syna-

gogue painters were incapable of


vation.

and has

indeed,

speculation.

The dogs and

realistic obser-

horses in the panel which

shows David sparing Saul are admirably drawn.


Mordecai's steed
design.

is

another example of excellent

Most remarkable

individualized

the

is

Aaron,

High

treatment

Normally,

wears a long cloak, trousers checkered

onlv

not

partly standing but exposed to the elements

(as in the

rise

their preservation to

where walls collapsed, but even where they were


left

Christian

given

taken place.

No

the characteristic develop-

to

monumental synagogues

scribed above), such preservation

of Galilee de-

was out

of the

of

clothes.

the

and black, a long belted tunic and a


sons, the priests,

Priest,

in

green

miter. His

wear trousers and short belted

tunics. In the well scene,

Moses,

who

always wears a plain white garment,

elsewhere

now

has a

question, though indeed traces of colored stucco

long draped garment of the same cut, but of a

decoration have been found in the excavation of

yellow (perhaps for gold) fabric checkered with

the synagogue ruins at Beth Shear im.

pink and purple and edged with fringes.

It

is

not

impossible that a cycle of illustrations similar to


that of

Dura was used

in

other synagogues as

must be remembered
modern times the content and form
well;

for

it

determined bv

tradition.

that

before

of art

were

change
the

of

mood

is

which

scene

widow's son.

On

the

spectacularly emphasized in

shows
left,

Elijah

the

dead child wears dark brown


from the

waist

up

The

in

sign

reviving

the

widow holding
clothes,

of

and

is

mourning.

her

nude

On

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

207

76.

the

right,

Mosaic floor of Beth-Alpha Synagogue

holding her revived child, she

is

decked

tolds.

We

in

pink

garments falling

cannot dwell

in

detail

in

(after Rice

and Sukemk).

IV

in

white and yellow, while the child, formerly naked,


is

208

elegant

on the various

buildings, the furnishings, the conches, the round

special tvpe of

art

was mosaic

to

compose

a design. This old techique,

for wall as well as for ceiling

and

tion,

was

floor

mosaics have been found so

the

chairs,

the

thrones,

also

emploved

floor decora-

practiced bv Jews. However, only

foot-benches, the lamps and ceremonial utensils.

banqueting-t

which

used stone or glass fragments of different colors

the

hies,

painting,

far.

The passage

<

JEWISH PICTORIAL ART IN THE CLASSICAL PERIOD

209

Talmud informs

of the Palestinian

cording to the

owing

to a

the passage was omitted

full text:

homoeoteleuton

in the

The scene

(ac-

ns also

standard printed

210

of the Sacrifice of Isaac

this

mosaic was discovered

1928, for

in

77)

(fig.

when

created a great commotion in learned circles

was

it

the prac-

the earliest substantial evidence of the existence

tice began of depicting designs on mosaics, and

of Jewish representational art in ancient Palestine.

Abun

version) that in the days of Rabbi

scholar did not prevent

this

whether the reference

clear

who

lived in the

first

to

is

is

not quite

Rabbi Abun L

half of the fourth-century, or

namesake, Rabbi Abun

his later

(It

it.

According to

prohibition

strict interpretation, a specific

plied in the Pentateuch

II).

(Leviticus

was im-

XXVI,

to

I)

The importance
and

in

Jewish theology of this period

episode, the "Akedah,"

later of this

the

dedication of the people of Israel through the


willing

intended by

sacrifice

ancestor,

first

its

thereby deserving the Divine mercv for

was very

great, this explaining

its

time

all

prominence

"figured stones" on the floor of the place of wor-

both in the wall paintings at Dura and here, as

Yet a more liberal attitude firmly established

well as in innumerable prayers and hymns, and

ship.

itself in

due course,

as

we

see from the rendering

of this passage in the so-called Jerusalem

Targum

which modifies the outright prohibition, provided

was

that the intention to worship

human

including

pagan mythology, and

common

merely

Riblical scenes,

but, as

ventional in Palestine

such

centers

were not

Byzantine period,

the

not merely in great

what

is

now

Beth

Alpha

a place so inconspicuous in antiquity that

now have no knowledge even


The
(fig.

of

but even in small rural

cities,

as

figures

seems, usual and con-

it

in

before the Arab conquest;

and sophisticated

forms,

of

its

original

we

name.

synagogue of Beth Alpha

sixth-century

has a large semicircular apse project-

76)

ing from the wall orientated towards Jerusalem.

The figured mosaic occupies the whole area

saw three consecutive panels: the

Sacrifice of Isaac (fig. 77), the signs of the Zodiac


(fig.

78) and a ceremonial grouping, this being

closest

to

the apse in which stood the Torah-

The

shrine of the synagogue.

surrounded

bv

Greek inscription
of the

two mosaic

Marianos and

broad

Jewish craftsmen at the


afraid to undertake re-

human figure.
name of

that of the son

introduction.

and

may be

it

it

must be borne

that the general conception

was based on a more ambitious piece


which the

artists

work

of

had seen elsewhere. To the

whom

Abraham's two attendants,

are

in

Alpha was a poor provincial cen-

left

he

left

behind with the ass when he went up to Mount

Then comes
Abraham stands

ram,

entangled in a

Moriah.

the

bush.

offering Isaac

up towards

God

the altar on the right, the manifestation of

from Heaven being symbolized by a hand which


appears from the clouds: a feature
in

the

known

Exodus and Resurrection panels

already
of

the

Dura Svnagogue, and conceivably

to

be brought

hand

so

common

into relation with the sacred


later

Jewish popular religious

and

in

folk art.

The Beth Alpha Synagogue mosaic, while poorIv

executed,

been found

is

by

far the best preserved that has

as vet in Palestine. It thus offers in

the most complete form the tvpical and conventional arrangement. Elsewhere, too, there

seems to

have been some scriptural scene, generally


ideological

importance, accompanying the deco-

rative or symbolic features.

Svnagogue

of

In the fifth-centurv

of Jerash in Trans-Jordan, for example,

animals of Noah's ark, this time executed with

is

in

It

should be

the father

is

Aramaic, indicative

perhaps of a period of heightened nationalism.


Sec

primitive; but

the mosaic floor covering the vestibule depicts the

noted that whereas the

Roman,

is

that Beth

in the pre-

responsible for the work,

and not

of the

mind

The execution

ritual art.

Hanina: valuable evidence

artists

for the existence of able

presentation

A
name

border.

at the entrance gives the

his son

time, capable of

three panels are

decorative

sent case

of

the nave. As the worshipper progressed toward

the apse, he

medieval

ter,

absent.

In fact, figured mosaic floors bearing artistic representations,

in

great competence, though the preservation

is

frag-

mentary. At Naaran (Ain Duk), there was a


presentation of Daniel,
it

now

re-

unrecognizable were

not clearly labelled Daniel, Shalom.

conspicu-

ous incidental feature of the mosaics of the Palestinian

synagogues

is

the

menorah which some-

times figures as a central motif.

In

the

Jerash

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

211

212

;&

a&t
i

.J

-4

BtVOiN

The

Sacrifice of Isaac: detail of

mosaic

floor

of

Beth-Alpha Synagogue.

ill

8.

The

constellations

and the seasons

central design of mosaic floor of

W! HlUMUnlyini iWM
'I

Beth-Alpha Synagogue.

JEWISH PICTORIAL ART IN THE CLASSICAL PERIOD

213

214

Synagogue the menorah occupies the center of


the inscription panel together with shofar, lulab

and so-called "snuff shovel." These features are


to

be found also

the beautifully-executed sy-

in

nagogue mosaic recently found

Nirim

at

in the

Negev. The Synagogue of Jericho (7th-8th century) displays in

its

mosaic pavement a beautiful-

ly-designed menorah in a medallion flanked by a

and a

lulab

surmounting a formal Hebrew

shofar,

inscription invoking

we

hand,

central position

its

and Beth Alpha

(6th century).

circular motifs with

favor were large

in

the other

synagogues at Naaran

floors of the

(5th century)

On

Israel.

find the ark asserting

on the mosaic

Much

peace on

arrangement of the decoration. In Naaran,

radial

Beth Alpha and

which

is

Isfiya,

it

is

the zodiacal wheel

thus represented, in Yafa the

emblems

of

the twelve tribes.

The ceremonial grouping


ever, the

Beth Alpha

most complete version of

with huge

ark

in

The

type.

its

perched on

birds

how-

is,

its

gable

is

flanked by seven-branched candelabra, lions, and


cult-accessories.
tains.

This

The whole

is

enframed with cur-

may be compared with

images on the gold glasses found

been questioned whether

Rome.

in

has

It

the lions flanking the

ark are actually meant to refer to the lion of Judah


or

whether they represent

fact a feature

in

79.

Mosaic floor of Synagogue


(after Rice

the ceremonial

of

However,

its

layout

is

at

el-Hammeh, Transjordan

and Sukenik).
sufficiently

Moving

clear.

towards the ark, the worshipper saw

first

a panel

depicting beasts and birds, then the wheel of the


zodiac, Daniel in the Lion's Den,

and

finally a

contemporary synagogue decoration. In the mosaic

ceremonial grouping. The practice of placing the

el-Hammeh (5th century),

animals rather in the border or entrance area inte-

of the

Synagogue

and two

of

decoration

the figured

which

trees

an inscription

is

reduced to two

lions

flank a medallion containing

In the Zodiac panel at Beth Alpha (paralleled


closely at Naaran, where,

preservation
ners

of

the

however, the state of

very bad),

is

we

square which

have, in the corthe

encloses

zodiac

wheel, personifications of the four seasons


78).

One

of

these,

winter,

in

blooming

life,

(fig.

the upper right

corner, has in contrast to the others


of

no flowers, no

no attributes

fruit,

no

birds.

Nevertheless, the figure which personifies the in-

clement season

is

beautiful.

earrings, her necklace


just

as

perfect as

Her

hair-style,

her

and embroidered dress are

those of the other symbolic

in the Jerash mosaic, too,

with the 'animals

gogue

is

is

portrayed in the mosaic floor

The Zodiac in
The

poorlv preserved.

the Naaran Synapersonifications of

the seasons in the four coiners are

The

Noah's ark

much damaged.

central circle, however, displays, as at Beth

Alpha, the sun-god driving his quadriga.

We may

wonder how such a frankly pagan image could


be used without any attempt

at adjustment.

One

explanation would be that the chariot of the sun

had become

a conventional calendar figure,

that in the 5th

and 6th centuries the outworn

pagan symbols were used mechanically.


ever, conceivable that the idea
fied in

and

Jewish minds

to the

It is,

how-

was transmogri-

prophet Elijah mount-

ing to heaven in his fiery chariot. In Christian

female figures.

The mosaic

Thus

of the vestibule.

79).

(fig.

resting.

floor of the

Naaran Synagogue

unfortunately preserved onlv in part

(fig.

is

80).

art of the period, the conventional

signs of the

zodiac were rarely used. Thev were replaced bv

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

215

216

m m
tmss*m*/ismM&!r7$ feto***

between two candelabras:

80. Torah-shrine

(after

detail

of mosaic

Rice and

Sukenik).

the figures personifying the labors of the twelve

months, or by figures of
tian symbols.

tinian
tional

synagogue mosaics

Roman

which became
the

saints, angels

The Jewish zodiac

18th

constellation

century

now

and

signs

Jewish

in

adjusted

to

figures,

art

the

up

to

Jewish

The

best designed, though not best preserved,

zodiac was the one found


in

in

the synagogue of Isfiva.

the mosaic pavement

Here the spokes

of the

One

of the earliest,

classical period

Naro

5th

early

two

latter zodiacs

may

synagogue mosaic of the


that discovered

is

among

three

the

panels
niche.

Lif) near Tunis, of the late 4th

The well-preserved and

century.

pavement here

finely-executed

central

mosaic zodiacs of Naaran and Beth Alpha.) Some

extant

(Hammam

tions, the

of the discrepancies of the

form

the ruins of the house of prayer in the ancient

wheel are regularly spaced and coincide with the


not the case in the

to avoid the

most beautiful and most

interesting examples of a

axes of the square (which

is

Naaran Synagogue.

of the cross.

or

festivals.

the

be accounted for bv the desire

designs in Pales-

retained the tradi-

still

traditional

and Chris-

floor of

(fig.

An

panel,

The

81).

divided

is

one fronts

central

runs

inscription

subdividing

across

this

two

sec-

into

it

into

one closer to the niche being arranged

symmetrically

with

double-handled

vase

in

the center, from which a fountain gushes. Pea-

cocks

flank

and

face

the

vase, while other birds face

outward.

Two palm

trees

and small shoots border the


scene

(fig.

tendrils

The

fill

82). Blossoming
the background.

inscription

is

flanked by

decorative lozenges, each of

which encloses a menorah.

Above the

inscription

we

and ducks wad-

see fish

ing in the water.

The

part of the scene

is

strip

left

unfor-

tunately obliterated. All that


is

recognizable

ing
81.

Mosaic floor of Synagogue

at

Nam.

Hammam

Lif,

Tunis.

tendrils

is

blossom-

which suggest

dry land. Between the shore

JEWISH PICTORIAL ART IN THE CLASSICAL PERIOD

217

and the sea appears


it

wheel and above

large

218

form plausibly interpreted as the hand of

God. The two

were ingeniously

fishes

identified

Leviathan and his mate, with reference to

as the

the Rabbinic mythology according to which, at the

advent of the Messiah, these animals will provide


food for the pious.

which may refer


"grating against

The sun

is

enclosed in a wheel

about the sun

to a Jewish legend

wheel."

its

the upper section

If

is

interpreted as the Messianic vision, the lower one

presumably represents the Garden of Eden. The

scene expand
nature.

by

Local color

is

it

African

and the

lion,

Messianic

the

of the fertility of

vision

added by wading birds

Nilotic landscape

the

of

which adjoin

panels

decorative

with baskets of

ibises,

the

groves,

tendril

in

fruit

and of bread.

The more modest

decorations

ground cemeteries found

under-

the

of

catacombs, in Pales-

in

and the Diaspora, mav be regarded

tine

Jewish

There

tion.

link

variety

folk-art

The

of

art

and the decorations


Shearim.

svnagogue
an

example,

for

is,

between the

of

unmistakable

catacombs

and

grafitti

reliefs,

Dura Svnagogue

the

of the

as

decora-

at

Beth

dipinti

of

the walls as well as those on the stone coffins

found

numbers

great

in

in

the

excavations

of

1955, are particularly important for the icono-

graphy

mind
the

of

Jewish

catacomb

that

and owing
mily

tombs,

hensive

to

lack

scheme.

decoration

art

is

have

allowing

decoration,

of a

Funeral

are

for

keep

in

inferior

to

to

usually

synagogue, both

the

of

art

We

art.

execution

in

general

conceptual

chambers with
a

rare.

fa-

to

one chamber

in

siderable interest.

ward on

Beth Shearim which

either side of an arcosolium

sheltering a

shut, the

of confor-

(a niche

tomb) are decorated with miniature

structures carved in relief (see

one on the

is

Here the walls projecting

left

is

figs.

87-89). The

a synagogue ark with the door

one on the right encloses a menorah.

lion stands

The menorah

on top of each of the aediculae.


is

flanked bv a lulab and a

human

Palm tree, detail of mosaic


Synagogue at Naro, Tunis.

floor

of

figure in long

draped garments.

It is

possible that

the priest and the lulab flanking the

were meant

to suggest

an actual

open with the


a

mav

which appear
nations.
filled
left,

in

top.

Some

and

specific

be assigned to the painted disks


Beth Shearim

One menorah

in various

combi-

seen flanked with disks

is

with rosette designs. The larger one, on the

perhaps represents the sun, the smaller one,

on the

right,

the moon.

In another design the

two luminaries are apparentlv


axis

shown

is

scrolls visible in the interior,

lamp suspended from the

significance

menorah

liturgical service.

In the dipinti of the catacomb the ark

compre-

unified

The attempt

achieve such a unified effect was made, however,


in

82.
>

and connected bv

Shearim are a

rider,

a bar.

man

set

on a

Other motifs

vertical
in

Beth

leading a horse, a

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

219

83.

Decorated hall of Jewish catacomb of Via Appia, Rome; after a drawing.

soldier in armor, boats,

suggested that the


as in

and

human

so on. It has

figures

medieval Jewish pictorial

mounted on

his steed

may

art,

been

symbolize,

the Messiah

(as described in Zechariah

IX, 9) or the Parthian rider of Jewish legend her-

alding the liberation from


to the

220

Rome. Boats

referring

departure of the deceased, originally an

Egyptian and Greek conception, evidently reflect

here the belief of the pious in the return to the

Holv Land.

The Jewish catacombs

in Italy, particularly in

Rome, have important decorations

as

in

fresco,

of

them em-

yet inadequately examined

some

bodying human

two connected cham-

figures. In

bers of the catacomb on the Via Appia, there

appear pagan mythological

crow-

figures, Victory

ning a young man, Fortune

with the horn of plenty, Mercury with the caduceum,


ram,

and a bag

83).

(fig.

Here the walls and the

ceil-

ings are integrated in a har-

monious design. The

figures

on the vault are enclosed

in

a central medallion which

is

surrounded

by

ornamental

frame-work, scalloped arches


the

filling

corners.

The

sides

and

walls, in

the

which

doorwavs and arcosolia are


pierced,

are

divided off by

panels in which peacocks are

seen perching on branches or

walking on the ground. Gar84.

Part of ceiling decoration of catacomb at Villa Torlonia,

Rome

lands

hanging

down

from

JEWISH PICTORIAL ART IN THE CLASSICAL PERIOD

221

the panel frames

add a gay note

to the whole. It

is

possible that

two chambers were only

these

incorporated into the Jew-

later

catacomb. However

ish

designs

decorative

be,

222

may

this

such as

these appear to have stimulated

the imagination of the decorators

undoubtedly Jewish

of the other

catacombs

in

Rome.

In those of the Vigna Randanini, also

on the Via Appia, com-

prehensive decorative scenes are


to

be found which are of consi-

derable interest. In one funerary

chamber, palm trees are painted


the four corners

in

whole a unified
of flowers

effect.

Baskets

85.

candelabra on

decorated

ceiling

at

catacomb

at

Villa

Torlonia,

Rome.

and birds decorate the

Near

walls.

giving the

chamber was

this

found the sarcophagus of Eudoxios,

the

zographos mentioned

in this chapter.

Tn the catacomb of the Villa

com-

Torlonia, large decorative


positions figure

on the chamber

vaults, the side walls of the ar-

and

cosolia

their sofitti (fig. 84).

The

central

vault

is

norah

medallion

on the

usually filled with a

me-

85), while the side

(fig.

and corner compartments display


the ethrog, the shofar, a scroll

and a pomegranate. There

also

appears a dolphin on a trident.

On

the rear wall of the arcoso-

lium the center

is

occupied by

the Torah-shrine with

its

open,

exhibiting

Scripture

scrolls,

with other accessories of

the

doors

the synagogue service arranged

on either side

(fig.

86). Here the

Jewish motifs have almost entirely displaced the

pagan elements

of the decoration.

We may

conclude

that

the

Jewish figurative art in the classical

period

faithfully

reflected

Open Torah-shrine and

scroll

on decorated wal

at Villa Torlonia,

Rome.

of the

catacomb

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

223

in

its

selection,

its

ideology, and

its

symbolism

art

had, for the

first

time

in

history,

created in pictorial language a series of figures


inspired

whole.

bv the Bible and forming

a conceptual

The whole was based on Jewish


is what distinguishes Jewish

living

experience. This

of the classical period

from the Christian

pretation of the "Old Testament" used for pole-

mical purposes. Jewish art had necessarily adopted

the atmosphere and the craving of the age.

Jewish

224

art

inter-

some
place,

of the pictorial vocabulary of

but

Tolerated at

infused
first

it

and

with

its

its

time and

own meaning.

later obviously

guided by

the leaders of the synagogue, this art performed


a vital function
inspirational.

not onlv educational, but

also

***

M--

:$W:
f~*,

%
w

Vv

LT

'>

.Hafr.'*-.

Candelabra

in the

mosaic floor of an ancient synagogue

in Israel

THE MINOR ARTS OF THE TALMUDIC PERIOD


SIMON

by

The minor Jewish

Talmudic period

of the

arts

Al>

can be judged as expressions of late Hellenistic


or

Roman

provincial art

noted that by

"provincial"

should be

it

very location the art of the

its

catacombs

Jewish

although

of

Rome

or thev can

termed

cannot be

be judged on purely

subjective criteria. Obviously,

all

PELliAUM

appear

ossuaries

richly-carved

frequently.

less

The development and planning

of Palestinian

synagogues are the subject of another chapter;

we

here

onlv discuss their stone carvings

shall

and ornamentations,

the

or

pavements

mosaic

which thev contained.

work must be

appreciated against the background of

its

period,
II

but onlv the personal feelings of the observer can


discover in such objects evidence of the direct
subjective
to

and observational experience leading

aesthetic

accepted

achievement. Yet by the definition


book, a Jewish art-object

in this

is

one

which either bears a Jewish svmbol or has been


discovered in a Jewish association;

bound

fore,

does

to

be of Jewish authorship; but

Jewish use and Jewish

reflect

it is

not, thereit

taste.

Great as were the losses of Jewish manpower


both

in Palestine in the First

and Second

revolts

(of 66-73 and 132-35 C.E. respectively) and

in

the Diaspora during the furious revolt of 115-117

which affected Egypt, Cyrenaica, Cyprus

C.E.,

and
in

Mesopotamia,

numbers,

dence.

Life

as the
in

Jewish

craftsmen

Talmud and

Palestine

survived

other sources evi-

ultimately

returned to

normal, the arts and crafts again flourished.

doubt the destruction of the Temple

No

to a certain

extent diverted artistic effort to the beautification

svnagogue and a certain change took place

of the
in

the

selection

of

Jewish

decorative

the seven-branched candelabrum

previously relatively rare,

(the menorah)

now appears with

quency and occupies a central position


art,

both

in

symbols:

fre-

for the con-

hence

statues

and

furnished fewer opportunities

it

for rich inner ornamentation. In effect, the archi-

of

tects

2nd and 3rd century synagogues

the

much

concentrated

of their

adornments on the

and windows

of the facade

doors,

sills,

flanks

on ground or second-storev

lintels

and
on

level, also

the architrave of the gable roof; thus there re-

mained broad wall-surfaces


nity

and

The

to lend massive dig-

to set off the decorative features.

fine

windows were apparently

arculated

derived from the Svrian school of architecture of


the

Severan age as expressed, for instance,

at

Baalbek; this also was the origin of the richly


lintels

such as are seen in the prayer-houses

of Chorazin,

Kfar Bir'am and Capernaum. The

carved

symbols

embodied

the

in

carvings

were very

numerous, but there recur from svnagogue to

synagogue the eagle, the

lion, birds,

the palm-tree

and the palm-branch, the amphora (from which


vine

frequently

springs),

the

the

ovolo,

ivy-

Jewish

wreath, the menorah, the vine-scroll with leaves,


the acanthus, rosettes, the astralagus, medallions,

in

accompanied bv several other adjuncts connected


the

was

and was not occupied by

gregation,
offerings;

from the

differed fundamentally

in that its interior

the homeland and the Diaspora, in sy-

nagogues, on tombs, glass vessels and clay lamps,

with

The synagogue
pagan temple

cult.

Free-standing

tomb monuments

and rock-cut tombs with impressive facades, on


the other hand,

become

rarer, as

if

to avoid the

greed and envv of the foes of Judaism, while

garlands and conches.

special

figures
tories,

problem

which appear

winged

female forms.
these

figures

is

presented bv the

in

some synagogues

deities, vintners, centaurs,

We

human

and even

would remark, however,

rarely

dominate

the

vic-

that

decorative

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

227

scheme

or appear in isolation; generally they only

serve to

fill

the gaps between the other motifs.

The execution

of these forms

is

(though by no means

petent

and invariably

not usually com-

lacking in spirit),

inferior to that of the formal or-

namentation. This difference suggests that the tra-

who

dition of the craftsmen

motifs

and the

(plants,

ancient;

executed the formal

was much more

liege)

phenomenon cannot be explained

this

by mere provincialism, and

is

a fair

argument

who

the Jewish origin of the masons

executed

these designs. True sculpture in the round

reached by these craftsmen only

for

was

in the lion-figures

that perhaps stood on each side of the Torah-

some prayer-houses. A

arks in

from Chorazin
ler lion

better;

of energy; but a

is full

it

up and

rearing

is

much

same place

recently found at the

fore-paw, and

striking

smalis

far

with

its

face has a fierce snarl, the whole

its

being executed with

spirit

enclosed the Torah-arks in the later synagogues.

Such have been found

at

Hammath

near Tiberias,

Hammath-Gader, Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Gaza.

The forms

menorah and their accompanying cult

of

adjuncts (the shofar, ethrog, etc.), sometimes enclosed bv wreaths, which one sees on these re-

competent assured work of a certain

are

liefs,

sophistication, but lacking the bold verve of the


earlier Galilean

carvings. Interesting here

between the

similarity

on some clay lamps of

3rd century date

the

is

menorot and

style of these

that of the ones appearing


later

one

for example,

dis-

covered at Beth Nattif among the remains of a

pagan

would suggest

potter's shop; this

that the

question were the work of gentile crafts-

reliefs in

men, a view that

finds

some support

in the

geog-

raphical distribution of the finds in cities of pro-

nounced Greek

and imagination.

fragments of seve-

to the

carved chancel screens which seem to have

culture.

Whatever the

case, this

style certainly represents the urbanization of the

and impressive ensemble. The construc-

Jewish population of Judaea that took place after

tion of the doors

differing

is

varied to give scope

skillfully

forms

of

the

expression;

so-called

Torah screen which has been reconstructed

Capernaum has

strength and interest. In

tifully

filled,

craftsman

at

some of

same building one

the vine-scroll friezes of the

feels not only the artist's delight in a

space beau-

but the emotion of the dedicated

who was

close to nature

and

The opinion

of scholars

is

that while the syna-

the decorative details were Jewish work; several


features of treatment

and appear

latter,

which are peculiar


on

earlier

are to be noted the beautiful Corinthian

tury);

few

from the
tic,

The most

point of view.

artistic

that

is,

aesthe-

Aegina synagogue

of the

a "carpet" pavement adorned with formal pat-

and

technique ex-

this view.

Not

cellent;

the general design has balance and re-

on the other

straint.

The

in this respect

are the decorative details of the Nabataean-clasSi

in

southern

which merge Nabataean feeling with Hel-

terns;

colors are lively

its

of

"transitional"

floor of the

with

Tunisia

in

of

is

birds

its

low

al-Lif Syna-

and winding

good technique, but has a

On

it

no doubt

is

Alpha pavement was made

as inscriptions testify.

artists

standard

certain

may have been

the other hand, there

that the famous Beth

its

its

Hammam

coldness which suggests that

pagan work.
by Jewish

lenistic technique.

synagogues

epoch do not evoke great respect

(Greece), which belongs to the 4th century. This


is

gogue

Palestinian

this

perhaps

wreaths

The

and

men

Most of the mosaic pavements of the syna-

Trans-Jordan (particularly notable

Syria)

originality,

Greek) of the

the

of the repertoire of motifs,

temple of Baal Shamin at

(in

contributed them to the building.

hand, are derived from the shrines of Svria and

sical

much

has

foliage

their

some bear the monograms

who

column

from the Caesarea synagogue (4th cen-

capitals

of

ossuaries

Second Temple period, strengthen

to the

the

Jewish architectural carvings of the same period

gogues of

gogues were designed by Greco-Roman architects,

Among

the destruction of the Second Temple.

to faith

alike.

must be drawn

tention
ral

In most of these structures the builders achieved


a satisfying

to

figure of this sort

228

judged

by

Despite

"classical"

cri-

form between the 3rd centurv Galilean and the

teria,

Byzantine

a popular oriental genre which, originally submer-

buildings

chapter. Stone carved

are

described

work

is

in

another

here rare, but

at-

it

is

full

of

primitive

ged by the spread of

vitality,

classical art,

reflecting

had vanished

THE MINOR ARTS OF THE TALMUDIC PERIOD

229

completely but had not died, and awakened to

new

life in the late period. (As a parallel

non

at the

phenome-

may be cited

western end of the Empire

2nd

the revival of Celtic art at the end of the

century in Britain and Gaul )

synagogue

the

of

The

Nirim

at

the

in

with

including

the district;

in

and whether the painter was

or

faced

and

not,

this

problem and with certain decorative

positional

opportunities.

The sarcophagi

Rome

interest

is

much

as

Ill

clear that

is

Neveh

stone dwellings of this epoch

thus,

veilings

beauty at

in

still

survive, with

grape clusters flank-

like.

These decorations

freedom lacking

by the
and

in Gali-

considerable

art

which

is,

Rome

at

externally at least, almost

Here, in the catacombs of the

and

ceilings

of

the

first

are

with plant-motifs,

normal pagan

style.

three chambers of the Vigna Randa-

Jewish symbols are actually absent, except


a palm-tree in

general style
in

tomb-chambers

filled

birds, deities, fruit, etc., in

for

on them.
sarco-

phagus from the Vigna Randanini, on which are


seen carvings of erotes in pure pagan

style,

while

the composition contains a medallion later

filled

by

a finely-executed

menorah whose

feeling

and

energy bespeak a Jewish craftsman. As two identical

pagan

known,

parallels are

differing only in

absence of the menorah, there can be no

the

this period.

divided into painted panels

nini,

their techni-

was a

chased from stock and re-adapted for Jewish use.

of

"Vigna Randanini" and the "Villa Torlonia," the

In the

between

that of the inscriptions

doubt that

entirely gentile.

walls

proved, for

is

not only synagogues but also secular

an

find

difference

this

possessed decorations

Turning now to the Jewish catacombs

we

re-

Hauran Jewish

adorned with wreaths

set in conches, vine-scrolls,

most of these sculptures were pur-

The same may be assumed concerning the

In Palestine Jewish stone carving was not

lee;

beings in a man-

tion of the prohibitions of normative Judaism. It

cal level

stylistic

human

senting pagan deities or

instance,

enjoy a certain

catacombs of

the Jewish

of

are frequently adorned with reliefs repre-

chased from gentile masons;

beautifully carved lintels

Jew
com-

specific

and there are Christian


its

stricted to synagogues; at

ner quite at variance with the prevalent concep-

flamingo

zoological as theological.

ed by menorot, and the

him with

elephants,

parrot, a Christian model,


parallels

its

enclosing symbols and animal

forty-four panels

the moon. These pictures are Jewish by virtue of


their content,

southern

frontier district of the country repeats,

figures

mosaic

late

230

is

the third

rather

the fourth chamber,

more

whose decoration

decid-

is

gentile sarcophagus pur-

second sarcophagus from the same catacomb,

however, possesses the decorative symbols normal


in

Jewish Palestinian art (palms, lulahs, medal-

and

lions, rosettes, etc.)


its

it

may be guessed

that

author was from the home-countrv. Verv beauthe coffin from the Villa Torlonia bearing

tiful is

on

its

side a

execution

is

menorah and ethrog

sensibility

low

relief; its

and the handling

of spaces

one acknowledges an

artist of

so delicate

so balanced, that

room (where the

impressionist); onlv

this

and

in

feeling.

In one of the catacombs, a Jewish "zographos"


is

commemorated,

The verb form

that

of the

is,

a painter of figures.

same Greek word

used

is

edly primitive, consisting of denticulated circles

in

painted on the ceiling, does the menorah appear.

Cyrenaica, North Africa, in the late 1st century

The

B.C.E.,

frescos at the Villa Torlonia are also pronoun-

cedly pagan, although in the center of the ceiling


of the

first

chamber the menorah and

its

asso-

a Jewish inscription at Berenice-Benghazi in

Jewish
This

to

describe

here

building,
building,

work

the

which

called

of

an

probably

decorating

amphitheatre.
survived

till

ciated adjuncts are to be seen; the arcosolia, on

the

the other hand, have frescos of Jewish content

117), may, therefore, have been decorated with

here we
chalice,

see the shofar, pomegranate, menorah,

and similar symbols. Prominent

fourth arcosolium

is

a landscape of the

flanked bv menorot over which

sail

in

the

Temple

the sun and

great

frescos,

Jewish

revolt

perhaps even with

under

human

Trajan,

(115-

figures such as

are seen on the walls of the synagogue of Dura-

Europos. Thus this branch of Jewish

appears at Dura-Europos

in the

art,

which

3rd centurv C.E..

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

231

may have

originated in the

century B.C.E.

1st

or even earlier.

232

From another mausoleum

tion.

came

high

relief

representing wolves in combat;

verve and furious energy of this group

IV

The great

during

art in Israel

Shearim

period

this

is,

of course, Beth

western entrance to the Plain of

at the

Esdraelon

tional that

treasure house of Jewish sepulchral

87 )

fig.

The

began

great necropolis

period of this

brilliant

in the

2nd century C.E., when

a focus for

the burial of Jews not only from Palestine, but


also

from the whole Middle East, including Pal-

myra, Babylonia, Syria and Southern Arabia. The

Rome

tombs normallv resemble the catacombs of


in so far as

they consist of a series of burial cham-

bers cut in the soft chalk rock at various levels;

sometimes they are

entered from

sometimes through a deep

the hillside,

the

cleft in

The

hill.

corpses were laid in arcosolia, in galleries, in sar-

cophagi or

in

cists

cut in the rock floors of the

the arcosolia.

classical

ornamented with

and

bulls'

similar figures in relief;

sometimes these are

and the animals belong

lustv,

which began

art

also

room

of hall

xii

painted in panels defined bv red paint and

divided by a double stripe and dog-tooth pattern

The end

wall

is

in the

covered with a chaotic

same

and

wall-graffiti.

human
The

decorated with mouldings or an "egg and tongue"

figure has

14 found

1953 and thought

in

to

have been

the sepulcher of Rabbi judah the Prince himself

the court of

Tomb

striking dignity
rectly

by

which supported

was

and beauty,

restored from

strengthened

or meeting-hall behind

Series 11

its

if

monument

of

has been cor-

it

remains.

pilasters

Its

sculpture

were

walls

with moulded heads,

a fasciated architrave. This

owes much

To

bore a rich winding


the coils,

scroll

The

his head.

with a certain

to the soft white-

the same type of art belong

the conches over the arcosolia, the springing lion,

was

Temple. The numerous menorot

of the

relief are a school to

it,

and

and

frieze also

containing flowers in

and the cornice was enriched with

double dentillation and a bead-and-reel decora-

in

their

high

themselves, with their mas-

sive stems, their oblique spreading branches

and

pronounced expressionism.

If all

these are the creations of Jewish folk-art,

how much more

the frieze and moulding were carried over

spread-eagle flanked by animals.

at a corner

effectiveness that

dental

rosettes

the relief of

menorah on

ness of the chalk.

burial chambers.

between were inserted a band of

is

appears a

crude in the extreme, but the

is

been placed

interrupted bv the arch of the entrance, but here

in

or there

the horseman and the representation of the front

were enriched only with simple mouldings.

The square mausoleum

other

Torah-ark

pillar, a

or animal figure. Notable

a "military saint" bearing a

frame, arch and jambs of the doorway, were also

Tomb

The

Here and there the chalk has

and divided

but the arches of the great facade of

color.

decorations of these tombs consist of rough reliefs

and shrine are represented,

border;

the tombs are

of series 4, the ceiling

being generallv carved to resemble wooden ones,

and other decorations. Sometimes the door-

in the late

itself

in

on the whole rough, and frescos appear only

rarely. In
is

to re-express

The wall-decorations

empire.

crude but

is

to the style of folk-

served as special objects of adornment, their faces

lions

dis-

heads, lions, gazelles

picked out in red paint. The work

retiuclate pattern

panels bearing bosses, medal-

been

intact sarcophagi

been carved into the shape of a

into

and

art,

covered at Beth Shearim; their sides are frequently

ossuaries laid in

tomb-doors

rather similar

recalls

it

to essentially local Jewish in-

Only recently have

wooden

par-

so excep-

spiration.*

in red.

The tomb decorations were not

school;

must be attributed

dead were some-

ticularly rich or developed; the stone

is

in

the

cannot be ascribed to the influence

of the

tomb chambers; the bones


times later collected in

it

animal figures of Celtic and Scythian

second half of the

became

it

any

of

Shearim

Betli

at

remarkable fragment of animal frieze

graffiti

so are the spontaneous

to

and

be seen on the walls

of

inci-

the

Characteristic of these are the

club-bearer, a rider leading his steed

(fig.

88),

the charging horsemen, a pair of fighting gladiators,

the winged god and the sketches of ships.

photograph of

and Survival,

II.

this

work is to be found in Antiquity


The Holy Land, p. 250, fig. 5.

2/3, 1957:

233

THE MliNOR ARTS OF THE TALMUDIC PERIOD

87.

Burial

chamber

at

Beth-Shearim.

234

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

235

88.

Striking talent
sailing-craft

man

(fig.

Rider leading his steed. Graffiti on a burial chamber of Beth-Shearim.

89);

it

clear that the drafts-

is

has seen ships and understood them.

The

twin steering-oars, the curve of the mast stepped


into the

bottom (a

detail

which shows that the

draftsman had been on board), the features of


the

sail,
all

yard and rigging, the lines of the hull

are accurately caught. This craft

weigh and we

feel in

swells her

we

sail;

Prominent

exhibited by the drawing of a

is

236

under

is

our faces the breeze that

can even note that she

is

sail-

among Jewish metal

was the menorah;

in

objets

d'art

synagogues, two menorot

frequently stood on each side of the Torah-ark,

sometimes they were made of stone

found
other

at

Hammath

at

Beth Shearim )

many were of metal and have


No symbol figures more frequently

after the destruction of the

93

Its

that

near Tiberias; the base of an-

came from the synagogue

but

(like

representations

not survived.
in

Jewish

Second Temple

show

(fig.

that sometimes the

ing close to the wind.

From the

arts of building

and

the arts of the objects of everyday

work, pottery,

glass,

wood and

life

is

pass to

metal-

textiles.

fine expression of the ability of

workers

we

burial,

Jewish metal-

furnished bv the coins minted by the

revolutionary

Government

of Bar

Kokhba (132-

135 C.E. ). The subjects of the issues are the

Temple and

its

vessels

(fig.

90)

(the facade of

the Temple, the amphora, lulab, ethrog, and the


rest)

and the symbols of the nation

the palm-tree, the

vine-leaf (figs. 91, 92).

bunch

as a

of grapes

whole

and the

These svmbols have been

Roman issues in order to


Roman imperial prestige; most

overstruck on

deliver a

blow to

strikingly

beautiful are the pieces representing the lute

the vine-leaf.

and
89.

Drawing

of a sailing-craft
at

art

on

Beth-Shearim.

a burial

chamber

THE MINOR ARTS OF THE TALMUDIC PERIOD

237

90.

238

Coin dating from the second revolt


under Bar-Kokhba.

branches were linked above by a cross-piece, the

branches themselves being built up in knops or


bosses, while the stand possessed four feet.

The

stand of the menorah portrayed in the apse of


the Dura-Europos
of

synagogues was also formed

superimposed mouldings into which the central

Engraved Menorah on

93.

91.

Coin dating from the second revolt


under Bar-Kokhba.

by a chain attached
the

filling

stone from synagogue at Gaza..

column emerging from

to a

Worthy

aperture.

of notice here are the

stem was inserted. Sometimes the arms took the

representations of the menorah, lulab, ethrog

form of foliage or of leafy branches.

shofar rising from the lamp's rear rim. Another

Among

the Jewish bronze objects of this period,

and

beautiful example of Jewish metal-work of the


,

there has been preserved a bronze

vered

in Syria

similar
in its

(fig.

lamps of

lamp

disco-

94); this resembles in shape

clay,

being

filled

through a hole

epoch

is

the

fragmentary

Naaneh near Ramlah.


an incised winding

Its

bronze

rim

is

paten

from

decorated with

containing flowers in the

scroll

upper face and possessing a projecting noz-

swags and also a menorah and Torah-shrine; the

have been suspended

center shows four plants with tendrils and palm-

zle for the wick. It

seems

to

branches springing from a vase. The vessel's period

is

the 4th century. Interesting, also,

gold disc of

the 3rd or 4th century;

its

face

its

adjuncts also bearing in Greek the

who was

These metal objects are some

Coin dating from the second revolt


under Bar-Kokhba.

Talmudic days
have vanished.

to
in

associated

name

of

its

a "pearl-setter."

of the level of Jewish


92.

a small

decorated

is

repoussee with the menorah and

owner,

is

unknown provenance, belonging

artistic

a craft

We

faint

reminder

metal-working

in

most of whose products

find additional hints of this

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

239

represented on coins

art

chalice
volt

which appears on

(66-70

C.E.),

for example, in the

issues of the First Re-

ossuaries

in

240

and

syna-

in

gogue carvings. The craftsmen of Syria and Egypt


exercised a considerable influence on the silver-

work

of the later

Roman Empire, and

their pro-

ducts were distributed over the entire Mediter-

ranean area. Hence

on

late

Roman

is

it

hardly surprising to find


(4th centurv C.E.)

silver vessels

discovered in North-western Europe, decorative


motifs (the Star of David, the whorl-rosette and

the like)

drawn from the

repertoire of Palestin-

ian Jewish ornamentation.

When we come
a sphere in
their

to discuss clav lamps,

which the

enter

crafts,

but

ornamentation was certainly influenced by

and

the art of the period


in

meet the

arts

we

that sphere.

reflects

Among Jews

popular taste

a clav oil-lamp

was

Clay lamp from Palestine; collection

95.

placed on the top of each branch of the menorah;


similar

lamps

are

frequently

tombs and sometimes

in

and abroad. This type

found

synagogues
of

in

of

A.

Reifenberg,

Jerusalem.

Jewish

in Palestine

lamp consisted of a

round body which held the

oil, and a nozzle in


which the wick was placed. Main- examples can

be identified as Jewish because thev bear Jewish

symbols such as the menorah and

adjuncts;

its

on the other hand, there are some identical tvpes


on which both Jewish and Christian symbols ap-

and some Jewish lamps have been encoun-

pear,

tered in pagan workshops, showing that at cer-

age

tain periods in the

and

^i^xdim

we

are discussing, Jews

gentiles did not comprise separate worlds in

the artistic sphere;

seems

there

between the two communities

have been a free exchange of

to

products, and one

made

objects for the other.

After the destruction of the Second Temple,

new

motifs appear on Jewish lamps, such as the Torahark,

on.

the amphora, the cluster of grapes and so

The

variety of motifs

identification of

lamps

as

is

very great, and the

Jewish

is

often not easy.

Research has divided Jewish lamps of the period

adorned with the seven-branched candelabrum


(fig.

95) into

centers

are

six principal tvpes,

located

whose respective

Alexandria,

in

Carthage, Asia Minor and Cyprus.


is

2nd century, but one

example found
For

at

whose

Syria;

Jerusalem.

private

collection,

of

the

halal(hic

earlier

later

than

background

of

results fully bear out the findings


cf.

F.

Idolatry in the Light of Historical


in

of these

A. Urbach, The Laws of


and Archaeological Facts
the' 3rd Centurv, Eretz Yisrael, V. 1958, 189-205.

of the archaeological data,

imp from

typologically

Cvrene can hardly be

consideration

this state of affairs,

Bronze

None

regarded by archaeologists as earlier than the

late

94.

Palestine,

THE MINOR ARTS OF THE TALMUDIC PERIOD

241

242

ancient town of Beth Shearim. Outstanding

among

Jewish work are the Jewish "gold-glass" dishes


the

Roman Empire from

They

are thought to have

known up and down


the 3rd century on.

where Jewish craftsmen

originated in Alexandria,

derived the technique of manufacture from the


in

the 1st century C.E., and carried

On

these bowls, designs were

Egyptians
it

to Italy.

drawn

in

gold leaf and outlined in black paint, then dusted

with a colorless powdered glass which fused at

*jfcmmm.-(

a lower temperature
96.

Clay lamp from Alexandria showing David


and Goliath; Yale University Art Gallery.

when

the time of Trajan,

the Jewish

and Cyrene may

of the city ceased to exist,

have been the

and

well

center of the manufacture

first

There

diffusion of the type.

to believe that the

community

is

some reason

purpose of such lamps was to

spread religious propaganda prior to the revolt


of 115,
lels

and

a considerable school of gentile paral-

can be cited which served as vehicles of

Roman

religious

propaganda, some actually being

manufactured by the

and bearing

state

inscriptions with those inscribed

identical

on certain coin-

were the clay lamps with four or

Different

96),

nozzles,

some

of

Hanukka lamps

including

which were

circular

(fig.

with spout

broadening to a wide truncated tongue, and some


of

omphaloid form. Their surfaces offered a wide

field for

vine,

and

Over

glass.

Most

was gummed

this

in the

second upper

dishes

to the inscriptions

gifts to friends

are

of their designs,

identifiable

and

relatives.

by the

upon

The

subjects

which are usually divided

into

an upper and lower register enclosed by a square


or circular frame.

and

The themes include

menorah

The

inscription

is

(fig.

and

similar

either arranged

around

97), the palm-tree, the amphora,


objects.

the

adjuncts, the Temple, lions, doves

its

fish

the rim or along the diametrical division between

ornamentation (arcades, the Temple, the

episodes.

second center of the production of

these dishes seems to have been Cologne,

and Asia Minor.


The technique of glass-blowing

Africa

have been discovered

at

is

thought to

the beginning of the

amphora, birds and similar objects),

the
their

importance

in their

lies

forming a de-

bath and Hanukka lamps which developed du-

Middle Ages and continues today.

ring the

VI
Tradition

participation

to

Jews

the famous Phoenician

glass

industry,

ascribes

the transmission of certain of


cesses to Europe; there

is

its

and

Talmudic period there existed centers


manufacture
a

glass

at Tiberias

in

also

industrial pro-

no doubt that

and other places

in the

of

glass

in Pales-

workshop has been found

in

the
97.

Israel

Exploration

journal

VII.

3,

1957,

154

sqq.

and

other examples have been recorded from North

parture-point for the rich Jewish ritual art of Sab-

tine;

have

Jewish and Christian catacombs

Rome, and according

them they were


Jewish

formed a protective

of the examples of these dishes

been found
of

so

the registers. Not a few bear pictures of Biblical

issues.

more

layer.

and

Jewish "gold-glass" dish from Rome:


Vatican Museum

JEWISH ART IN ANTIQUITY

243

244

sources not only in Palestine but also in Egypt

and Asia Minor

in the

century Egypt,

curtains

stuffs

were

fan-

There

as Iudaica vela.

no doubt that such woven

4th

in

embroidered with

were known

tastic figures
is

Talmudic period;

also

used

synagogues for the curtains that were hung

in

before the niches in which the Torah-arks were


placed; holes noticed in the walls of the Dura-

Europos Synagogue on each side of the niche, and


Beth Alpha

grooves flanking the niche in the

prayer-house prove the truth of this supposition.

summing up our theme, we have

In

to

answer

the question, does a genuine "minor" Jewish art


reveal itself in our period?

We may

distinguish

two spheres; that

and that

of popular

art.

The

burial,

found

its

Glass bottle from


Toledo Art Museum, U.S.A.

it

was

this,

production of vessels whose walls were decorated

Thus

and

Palestine

in

various forms on

Syria,

whose

we

exteriors

and

expression
it

first

and foremost

adapted to

its

own

in

This

glass.

in classical

spirit.

Archaeo-

among them.

between Jewish and

gentile

art,

and

in the

3rd century the synagogue builders of Pa-

lestine

drew from the

bolism

common

together

with the technique of moulding, that enabled the

with various symbols, Jewish symbols

manifested in building and

logy proves that there was considerable mutual


influence

present era in Phoenicia and

is

vessels of metal, clay

in

media, which

Palestine;

98.

first

of public

repertoire of religious sym-

to the Syrian

and Nabataean

cul-

This was a period of rapprochement with

tures.

the gentiles,

when Jewish

art

entered an era of

find bottles of

appear the me-

norah, the palm-tree, the arcade, the grape-cluster

and

allied objects (fig. 98).

Of considerable qua-

the Hat dish found at Beth Shearim;

it

pos-

sessed a high foot-ring and "kicked" base;

it

was

lit\

is

made

of green glass

on which motifs were incised

around the outer rim. These took the form of a


continuous arcade
ish

symbols

in

whose arches were the Jew-

the Torah-ark, chandeliers, lamps,

amphorae, the

nicnorali, etc.

Fragments of carved bone work


of a ship, a dolphin

in the

and an amphora, found

at

form
Beth

Shearim, hint at a branch of Jewish craftsmanship which


royal period.

is

better evidenced in the

Israelite

Although inevitably nothing remains

Jewish woodwork and wood-carving, the

to us of

tomb-doors ahead}' described evidence the


ence of

th.it

drawings

ol

clay lamps

branch
the

(fig.

exist-

'i -).

99), as do the numerous

Torah-arks seen in

and elsewhere. Nearly

Jewish textile manufacture

has

disappeared, but the industry

all

also
is

graffiti,

on

traces of

necessarily

referred to by

Tomb
Yassif,

adventurous

human

door,
Israel

basalt,
:

exploration

representations

from

Louvre,

into

(fig.

Kfar

Pans.

new animal and

100). But Jewish for-

mal decorative motifs show assurance and


tion,

and here,

if

anvwhere,

we

tradi-

feel the personal

THE MINOR ARTS OF THE TALMUDIC PERIOD

245

paten from Naaneh and the coinage

glasses", the

of Bar

Kokhba prove.

In this respect, the peculiar

character of the object

the result

The

less

is

important than the

technique and aesthetic quality of

of the

skill

246

(fig.

101).

folk art typified at

Beth Alpha and Beth

Shearim, on the other hand, seldom reaches dis-

importance

tinction. Its

omenon,

is

as a re-emergence

as a sociological

extraneous

medium. The value

pavements

is

in

phen-

from domination by an

their vitality

of

Beth Alpha

the craftsmen

clearly enjoyed their job.

We
artistic

perhaps

raav

achievement

naum and

symbolize

Jewish

in the plant-scrolls of

observation and the spiritual experience leading


artistic

or

two

achievement. Although the ability to

human and animal

represent

striking exceptions)

is

figures

Nearly

'essness.

the

all

movement, which

reflects

with and love of environment

rity

was

and carvings

at

this quality

on the one

moments

ment to the country fused with

rest-

native familia-

Galilean landscapes, on the other, of the sea and


its

graffiti

craft.

tion

and

It

at

these

religious faith

its

produced creative expe-

rience.

thing specifically Jewish. Perhaps here

we may

express the opinion that the

tendency of the Jewish


to estimate the

was

artist

means

less

of expression

than the idea he was seeking to express.

Our sketch has shown

throughout the

Jews

that

Roman Empire

the

various periods and places

in

accepted the representation of the hu-

man form

in their art; in

Rome Jews

frequently ordered art objects from

Here the point

gentiles.

was the

artist,

is,

not

who

but that in various

in-

stances Jewish symbolism placed the


artist

before a distinct problem and

rendered inevitable a distinctive


sult.

In this sense the art

quite irrespective of
thorship.

the

In

craftsmanship,
that

Jews

in

its

is

re-

Jewish,

technical au-

realm

there

is

of
little

artistic

doubt

our epoch attained a high

degree of competence, as the "gold

101.

Amulet;

Jewish

that attach-

loving observa-

surely some-

is

al-

may be no

hand, of the vines and the pomegranates of the

and nervous

Beth Shearim and Beth Alpha possess


of

(with one

from the other,

rudimentary, such

representations possess energy

It

coincidence that each of these achievements, so

Lion's head, basalt, synagogue at Kfar Bir'am.

different

to

Caper-

in the splendid little ship sketch,

ready discussed, from Beth Shearim.


100.

"minor"

Museum, London.

M
[

^Sf*:V:iS.^/5^\152_!!CI2.^

Page from a Ms. of the Haggadah. Germany,

_W_.
16th

...

century.

PART TWO: JEWISH ART FROM THE


MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

SYNAGOGUE ARCHITECTURE OF THE MEDIEVAL


AND PRE-EMANCIPATION PERIODS
AHARON KASHTAN

by

We,

The Jewish Diaspora's Singular

I.

Architectural Achievement

therefore, find medieval

so far as language of

tradition,

cerned, and devoid of

The architectural

any normal ethnic

history of

phical

position,

the

and

its

was searching

and selected

to shrines

its

character and

way

of

dwellings but also public buildings for their

own

On

quarters.

their relatively small

own

but

it

did not find

discover an adequate instrument

the existence of

among

their neighbors

Only the synagogue, the exclusive


heritage of

the

Jewish

was onlv

Poland of the 16th

in

centuries, after a prolonged process of

Jewish community succeeded in creating an inde-

pendent architectural

same period, an

known

species. In Italy, too, in the

idiom developed,

interior space

which constituted an

original departure

from any

sacral or ecclesiastical architectural idea.

This struggle to create a space principle for the

synagogue

people,
ter

assumed

sifted

adaptation to the cultural environment, that the

precluded the development of a specific Jewish

architectural

It

existing building types for a suitable

or

satisfaction

and 17th

the other hand,

number and

a rich building tradition

art of building.

architec-

life.

The Jewish people, indeed, did live an organized


communal life and frequently erected not only
use in their

giving

of

particular needs.

concept of a synagogue

from dwellings

fully expresses

its

people's normal

of expression. It

and

means

for

embraces every phase

creativeness

existence

its

This, however, does not apply

most continents and countries.

of

of

other

Jewish people, whose history extends over

architectural

sphere

creative

neighbors. Throughout the Middle Ages, Jewry

tural expression to
to the

form was con-

sources of inspiration

all

geogra-

its

climate

specific

its

conditions.

local

determined by

is

beyond

study

or

group

cultural

or

Jewry almost without

a struggle arising from the charac-

and from the

religious thinking of

Judaism

original significance.

and the consequence


There

sharp

is

history of ancient Israel living

own environment and

between

divergency
its

own

the

life in its

ing architecture of Europe provide the principal

theme

for

the

the history of the Jewish

building

people in the Diaspora. This led to a lack of

of contact with the flourish-

of

European

synagogue

medieval and post-medieval times.

of

The theme

story

gains an

added

interest

from the

fact

continuity in the conception of visual experience


that

and form idiom. The encounter

in

characteristic

most primary element of architec-

to space, the

tween

the

Jewish

liturgical

achievements were restricted

Europe be-

tradition

and the
ture.

medieval world of forms, more particularly the


contact

with

Romanesque and Gothic

art

and
II.

may be

techniques

architectural

the term,

in

said

response
so far as

in

to

the

basic

meaning

of

concepts of space were

It

is

basic

art

could

furnish

the

instruments,

but the needs to which they were put grew out


of another soil

and

a different spiritual climate.

fact

of a
in

Program
the

history

of

medieval

Jewry that the Jewish communities of the period

were generally

involved.

European

The Evolution

have produced an

small.

This at once determined

the size of the synagogue building and the degree


of

its

architectural importance in relation to

surroundings.

The synagogues

in small

its

communi-

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

255

were sometimes nothing more than simple

ties

rooms set aside for public prayer. Ancient regu-

made by

lations

bv secular

or

Christian ecclesiastical authorities

prohibited the building of

officials

new synagogues and sometimes even


ment

Furthermore, while

buildings.

existing

of

Jewish law requires synagogues

surrounding

the

the enlarge-

buildings,

be higher than

to

edict

ecclesiastical

prescribed that thev should be lower than the

were

local churches. Frequently, such laws

The

interpreted.

fully

ground outside does


from the

depths have

below that

not, as

is

the

without

interior

restricting the

synagogue's

the

pronounced

Lord") but

is

external height.

law

the

transgressing

Hence,

until the

synagogue

of external unpretentiousness in their

however splendid the

This

interior.

exclusive

direction,

still

is

Had

prayer been
requiring

activity,

would have been natural

it

for the ark, being attached to the wall to

which

become the

archi-

congregation

the

similar

is

sense of the

literal

a secular building.

axialitv

("Out of the

The synagogue
the

in

praver

as

a place of meeting of the congre-

is,

gation

generally held, stem

18th century Jews endeavored to retain a degree

buildings,

term, that

focus

also the result of a desire to increase the height

of

house of assembly

does not yet

it

completely,

not yet the sole activity.


a

for the Scrolls of the

Jerusalem,

to

interior

tectural

cried unto Thee,

dominate the

of the

floor

verse of Psalm 130

first

the

placing

of

tradition

synagogue

level of the

spite-

permanent place

forth as a

Law, orientated

256

turned, to

imposing

naturally
that

to

as

pravers.

Law was

platform
gravity,

dominating the

as important

Indeed, the bimah

churches.

Christian

of

However, reading of the

longitudinal

reading

the

became the synagogue's center


space

entire

from

of
its

obvious position in the middle of the audience,

imposing a pronounced centralitv on the

thus

The

building.

between

rivalry

two

the

foci,

and the bimah

(iron situated in the east wall

at

phenomenon could be observed throughout the


Jewish Diaspora; the few exceptions known

the center, and the search for a balance between

are generally the product of temporary circum-

space problem. This pattern, and the reciprocal

such

stances

as

existed,

instance,

for

13th

in

century Germany, a period of relative security


that

At

was

one of extended building

also

activities.

events, the intimacy of the Jewish service,

all

based as

these

two perennially constituted

relationship

the

to

space,

interior

is

disturbing

the basic

idea of the synagogue interior. Only in Italy, as


will

be explained

was

later,

a harmonious

and

balanced solution of the above problem found;

from the accepted European

is

on the constant participation of

this solution deviates

the individual,

invariably necessitated a prayer-

space concepts based on absolute singularity and

hall of

it

no great

the

size,

number

of the congre-

gation determining the scale of the building


i.e.,

a functional, not an emotional or architectural

In describing the architectural essence of the

synagogue

interior,

it is

necessary to examine, too,

a liturgical development unique to Jewish wor-

ship

resulting

problem:

the

in

permanent

space

relationship

reading platform and the ark.

connected

with

form

inherited from antiquity

which

architectural

between

in

space or at least a niche

in

Chapter IV). Although the

Law

time

This

when Europe was dominated by

the late Renaissance and Baroque. At this period


the proto-types of the aron,

European communities

which survived

until recently,

came

in

into

Many synagogues were now rebuilt and


provided with arks in the new idiom. It is
being.

European Jewry

the

epoch

medieval

concerned that they were conservative in matters

was the form

Law,

at a

increasing size and

its

artistic level of its execution.

characteristic

Jewry

of liturgy,

In

ancient

synagogues already had a fixed "shrine"

for the Scrolls of the

of the

importance expressed by

aron attained an

The only legacy

which determined building design.


times,

the

later period the

by the highly

was

consideration.

At a

axialitv.

of

form

cultural

of

and

frequently

conditions.

Renaissance,

it

in

subservient

Thus,

at

preserves for

its

to

earlier

the height of the

purposes building

the form of a small

forms and space types characteristic of medieval

the east wall

architecture.

awn

(see

kodesh or Ark

acquires greater importance hence-

The women's

section

is

an attached but separate

portion of the synagogue.

The

separation of the

257

SYNAGOGUE ARGH. OF THE MEDIEVAL AND PRE-EMANGIPATION PERIODS

258

when Jewry was

forced

sexes during prayer, introduced in ancient times,

continued in the synagogues of the Middle Ages.


the ancient synagogues a

In

gallery sometimes

served this function (see Chapter IV)

screened off and vet enable the


services to hear

had

It

women

to

be

attending

(not necessarily to see) without

being seen. These conditions determined the form

between the main

of link

section with

all

on the same level

example,

in the

many

architectural detail. In

its

cases the place allotted to


hall

and the women's

hall

women was

as the

synagogue

a separate

main space,

at

as, for

Worms. Sometimes

women's accommodation was below the

the

level

main synagogue or even actually under-

of the

neath

as, for

gogue

Avignon and elsewhere

at

similar

example, in the 17th century syna-

arrangement existed

in

and Cavallion [1750]).

When

synagogue was built

Toledo

tury, a gallery

in

hall.

It

Provence (a

the "El Transito"

was constructed

above the level of the

in

Carpentras [1396]

in the

14th cen-

purpose

for this

was not

until the

end of the 16th century, when the presence


the

woman

tance.

with

In this period synagogues were designed

accommodation

well-planned

The women's
galleries

borrow a type of building suitable

borrowed not from


secular

existing

naturally

this

The

tvpes.

to

its

for

women.

section in the form of a gallerv or

choice,

therefore,

on a type of building which was,

fell

on the one hand, a reasonable accommodation

bimah and which, on the

for a centrally-located

was

other,

as

arrangements

liturgical

and monastic
at

possible

as

little

in

reminiscent

church. Town-halls

hand. They were usually vaulted structures

consisting either of one

undivided chamber

synagogue

in

columns along the middle to carry

of pillars or

The method

the load of the vaults.

and

tion

structural

of construc-

forms were those prevalent

within the geographical domain of the medieval

groined or ribbed crossvaults, circular and

arts:

pointed,

Heme
and

four

plain

shapes

all

or

five-ribbed,

and many

varying according to time

place.

IV.

The Medieval Double-Nave Synagogue

The oldest
before
ber

it

building in

its

early original form

was destroyed by the Nazis

1938,

was

the

renowned

in

Novem-

Svnagogue

is

a late develop-

Amsterdam.

The Impact

of

Romanesque and Gothic

Architecture

In discussing the synagogues of the

and Gothic architectural period


distinguish

double-nave

chamber

Romanesque

in Central

two principal types:

synagogue,

and

2)

the

Europe,
1)

the

vaulted

or single-nave synagogue.

As already mentioned, the synagogue was not


regarded by the Jews solely as a sacred building.

Had

this

been

so,

they might well have chosen

the space form current in contemporary churches,


i.e.,

or,

sometimes, of a double-naved space with a row

ment, perhaps inspired by the famous Spanish

we must

of

were the nearest models

refectories

pitched over a row of columns, a form

usual at the end of the period,

III.

needs,

example but from the

of

synagogue became an accepted

in the

to
it

the women's section acquired impor-

that

fict,

the building. However,

the vaulted medieval basilica. This generally

had a nave and two


nouncedly

aisles.

longitudinal,

with

The plan
a

is

central

proSynagogue at Worms, ground-plan,


Men's synagogue; II. Women's synagogue;

102.

axis
I.

leading to the High Altar at the eastern end of

III.

Vestibule;

IV.

Rashi Chapel.

of

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

259

103;i.

Worms
in

in

the Rhineland.

Its

Synagogue

at

construction began

1034. but the structure underwent a funda-

mental change at the end of the 12th century,


a

period which saw

and
from

its

much

building in the citv

surroundings, and marking the transition

early

to

late

Romanesque.

The famous

Worms,

interior, east.

Cathedral
at

the

affinity

tural

260

Worms was under

of

same

time,

and

there

construction
is

between the two buildings

detail.

Column

capitals

a
in

marked
architec-

and characteristic

Romanesque door and window arch carvings


almost

identical.

The

interior

are

space-arrange-

SYNAGOGUE ARCH. OF THE MEDIEVAL AND PRE-EMANCIPATION PERIODS

261

Worms

103b.

ment

and

proper,
species:

earliest

Europe

section.

is
Romanesque
known example of a

synagogue

double-naved medieval

the

of Central

Women's

which

structure,

the

is

Synagogue.

262

(fig.

The building

102).

is

erected on a simple, almost rectangular ground


plan.

pair of

Romanesque columns with deco-

rated capitals supports along with the walls the


six

The columns and

groined cross-vaulted bays.

their capitals,

and apparentlv

also the

which shared with the columns

doorway,

details of carving

and decoration, were made by a Jewish artist,


whose work was commemorated in a Hebrew
800 years on one

inscription preserved for nearly

of

the

The

columns.

double-nave

resulting

emphasizes the centrality of the bimah placed

midway between

the

two columns.

(It

on

is

record that the original bimah and subsequent

replacements

were much

familiar to the last generation of

The adjacent women's


wall of the

than

larger

Jews

in

the

hall attached to the north

main building on the same

of nearly equal size

one

Worms.

and was

level

is

built in 1213, not

long after the completion of the second construction phase. This

with one

chamber has four vaulting bays

central

column,

and

altogether

is

unique arrangement.

The Worms Synagogue

104.

(fig.

103

a,

b) seems to

Synagogue
.in

at Regensburg (Ratisbon),
etching by A. Altdorfer, 1519.

interior;

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

263

Altneu synagogue, Prague, exterior.

105.

been

have
Gothic

In

remain.

gogue

prototype

synagogues

erected even
land.

the

in

over

all

the

of

and

double-nave

Central

Europe,

places remote from the Rhine-

Germany itself few traces


The interior and structure
porch

at

Ratisbon

of this tvpe
of the syna-

(Regensburg)

destroyed by order of the town-council after the


expulsion of 1519, are
ings

known from two engrav-

by the 16th century

artist

264

Albrecht Altdorfer

(fig.

104).

at the

late

end

The main

hall,

a double-nave, built

of the 13th century in a transitional

Romanesque-early Gothic, had three

in a central range, so that the vaulting

pillars

had four

bays in each nave. The entrance porch, built


the

14th century, was Gothic. In

its

in

elongated

form the Ratisbon Synagogue strongly resembled


a monastic refectory.
of two,

Having three

pillars instead

the building deviates from the normal

SYNAGOGUE ARCH. OF THE MEDIEVAL AND PRE-EMANCIPATION PERIODS

265

Altneu synagogue, Prague,

106.

formula, since
the

it

lacks centrality in the sense of

bimah arrangements.

The most famous


gogues
the

interior, east;

is

Central European syna-

of

the old building in Prague

"Altneuschul"

Synagogue"),

(fig.

"the

(literally:

The gloom

105).

from the narrow windows gives the

atmosphere
stories

congenial

woven about

the

to

that results
interior

traditional

building.

this

known as
Old-New

Most

an
folk

of the

"Altneuschul" was built at the end of the 14th


century,
its

and

is

unique

impressive exterior

pattern

of the

in

period

the Middle Ages for

different

(fig.

explained by the fact that

it

from the usual

from an

266

early 19th century engraving.

no fear of offending the feelings of a

hostile

environment. The architectural design

simple

and

clear:

rectangular double-nave and two-

pillared plan of three bavs in each


identical

in

is

principle

Worms, except

with

nave

the

(fig.

107)

Svnagogue

that here the building

is

cedly Gothic in structure and feeling, though restrained in decorative details because of
content.

The

ribs, five to
it

its

Jewish

vaults are pointed with pointed-arch

each vault. The

would seem,

fifth rib

to efface the cross

was intended,
formed by the

four diagonal ribs of the usual Gothic vault. Six

106). This can be

heavy external buttresses help the thick walls

was

transfer the lateral thrust

heart of a large Jewish quarter,

situated in the

where there was

of

pronoun-

and

ribs

push outward.

to

where the main arches


(See plan and section

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

267

107,

figs.

doorway

focal

Access

through

is

arched

an

in the south wall in the south-western

The

bay.

108.)

268

relationship

points

importance

in

between main entrance and

space

obviouslv

is

in all architectural design

primary

of

and

this

seemingly unrelated arrangement demands con-

Romanesque and Gothic

sideration. Also in other

synagogues the entrance

awn) nor

(opposite the
or south wall

is

not in the west wall

(opposite the bimah), but in the

sector furthest

from

at

(e.g.,

it

Spires,

was

tury

theoretical

decision

made on

the

question of the location of the entrance, following

Arukh

Rabbi Joseph Caro's Shulhan

many

although for

built with

still

The

1567;

doorways not directlv related

ceptible to place the


axon.

of

generations synagogues were

the interior shrines, a trend

interior

was henceforth

to

per-

main entrance opposite the


these

of

synagogues

later

cross-section

time

Worms,

Fuerth and elsewhere). Not until the 16th cen-

Altneu synagogue, Prague,


(after Krautheimer).

108.

in the center of the north

afterwards

low

as

auxiliary

structure.

Other extensions, including the porch, were

appended,

also

surrounding

visually impairing

its

and

building

the

The carving

exterior.

details

of the corbelled capitals over the pillars, the wall-

and the keystones

corbels
strained,

of the vaults are re-

and equal

sober,

awn

over the

the

to

The tympanon

best contemporary local work.

the pediment

standard

in

in

decorated with

is

vine foliage carvings; the details of the entrance

were executed

at a later period, evidently

on the

acquired, accordingly, a longitudinal feeling and

occasion of one of the reconstructions.

the ark acquired greater architectural importance.

ternal

measurements of the main building are

14X8

meters,

The

floor of the

"Altneu" Synagogue

is

well below

the surface of the street, this difference apparently


increasing in the course of years, being probably
at

first

purely

initially

expressing

a
its

interior

clear

is

The building was

symbolical.

single,

Worms; on

architectural

mass

volume.

The women's accommodation was added some

in

its

Romanesque
the

of

largest

predecessor.

Romanesque
is

or

end

at the

Gothic

the "Old" Syna-

built in the Jewish quarter of

Cracow

of

the other hand, this Gothic building

synagogues of Central Europe

gogue

ex-

somewhat smaller than those

higher than

The

The

Kazimierz

of the 14th century (accor-

ding to local tradition, in 1364). This synagogue


is

the last of the series of buildings of the medie-

val double-nave variety with a pair of pillars.

plan

is

identical with that of the

Worms and
a

Prague; the structure

The

synagogues
is

at

Gothic with

normal four-ribbed vault to the bay. The recon-

struction

and

the interior but

the

that
direct

There can be no doubt

was

building

inferior

alterations

16th century have impaired

little.

inspiration

though

Renaissance

external

carried out in the

of

to

it

constructed

the

"Altneu"

architecturally.

under the
Synagogue,
Notable

is

the beautiful bimah, of octagonal plan and enclosed by a 16th century- wrought-iron cage some-

times called keter

and

made
10/.

Altneu

synagogue.
(after

Prague,

Masak).

ground-plan,

inspiration
in other

(crown). This was a model

many crown-shaped bimot

for

synagogues, but few attained the

same slenderness of
expressed in metal

late

(fig.

Gothic motifs lightly

109).

SYNAGOGUE ARCH. OF THE MEDIEVAL AND PRE-EMANCIPATION PERIODS

269

109.

V.

'Old'

synagogue

in

Jewish quarter of Kazimierz (Cracow), interior, Rimah and Ark.

The Gothic Vaulted Single-Nave

structures such as in Spires

Synagogue

construction

The second type


Europe

in the

of

synagogue building

Middle Ages

is

270

in Central

the vaulted cham-

was alwavs

problem

of

and Erfurt. The main


these

moderate span.

uninterrupted bv supports. There were also, of

intermediate

supports,

course, unvaulted svnagogues

dom

one nave

with timber roof-

in

of

buildings

medium-sized

square or rectangular chamber, mostly


of a vault of

ber, a single-cell structure consisting of

stone

to devise a cover over a

in the

form

solution without

course,

assured free-

respect of functional arrangements, such

FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

JEWISH ART

271

Synagogue

110.

as the placing of the

Miltenberg-on-Main, cross-section

at

bimah and the

The

axon.

Krautheimer)

(after

emphasis

equal

272

to

all

four

and by the

walls

single-nave synagogues were built simultaneously

concentration of the directions of the ribs towards

with the double-nave ones and present no original

the middle

architectural contribution. Buildings of this type

were

character

of

repeating

bays.

built

throughout the Jewish Diaspora of

Central Europe, some of them well


elegant detail and
ture.

Among

down

the few that

World War

to

Miltenberg,

Schul"

Romanesque
II)

Leipnick,

built

well
in

for

(or existed

exist

were those

as

Prague

in

still

known

or Gothic struc-

as

the

Bamberg,

at

The synagogue

at

small

relatively

As

vaulting.

instead

of

in

the

of the rectangular

photograph of the

interior

former Bamberg Synagogue, built

110)

is

the

fifth

of
five

being

interior

by giving

13th

the

in

centurv, clearly shows the structure of the Gothic

ribbed

and conveys a notion

vaulting

teristic of structures of this class

(fig.

successively

its

emphasis of the central longitudinal

perpendicular to the gable wall; this stresses the


centrality

An

with

"Pinkas-

Gothic hall with two bays

four ribs,

vaulting

centurv.

"Altneu" Synagogue, there are


usual

the

the

Miltenberg-on-Main erected

the end of the 14th century

other buildings possess

13th

Others are known from records and drawings.

at

The

111).

(fig.

rather longitudinal feeling dependent on the

the

of

axis charac-

112).

(fig.

The

longitudinal axis

was

addition

women's accommodation along

the

of

northern

the

whose

of

entire

southern

or

the

of

rhythm

the

wall,

windows

small

length

strengthened by the

later

accompanied

the

Most

the

interior.

of

vaulted single-nave synagogues were built at the

end of the Middle Ages. The axon,


the long interior axis,

became

at the

visuallv

end

of

more im-

portant, sometimes leading to the addition of an

apse or niche to accommodate the Torah-shrine,


thus

stressing

the

bimah remained

longitudinal

character.

in its central position

The

and con-

tinued to dominate the space.

The Renaissance and Baroque Chamber

VI.

in

Bohemia and Galicia

Before dealing with


of Polish Jewrv,
11.

Synagogue

at Miltenberg,

(after

Krautheimer).

vault-plan

contribution

original
at

the close of

16th centurv, a reference should be

the
to

the

which evolved

number

of

buildings,

some

of

made

which are

SYNAGOGUE ARCH. OF THE MEDIEVAL AND PRE-EMANCIPATION PERIODS

273

gems even

architectural

they do not provide

if

These were born

a specific synagogue concept.

European architecture

of the

thus belong to

general

phenomenon. However, apart

historical

from

perhaps

which were

Poland and

Bohemia

later in

claim that they constitute a

to

synagogues,

square-formed

the

built in

middle of the 18th century,

in the

and

of the period

every way, exemplifying a

in

it

274

difficult

is

it

uniform

specific

morphological group.

The Meysel Synagogue

Prague was

in

built in

Empe-

1592, by a special license granted by the

Rudolph

ror

Jew"

the philanthropist and "court-

II to

whom

after

down completely

building was burnt

two vears

rebuilt

later.

wide

1689 and

in

nave

central

flanked on each side by a double-storeyed


It

The

the building was named.

is

aisle.

covered by a barrel vault intersected by

is

The

lunettes forming a clerestory.


rations are in the

The

ribs.

plaster deco-

form of a reticulation of Gothic

which

building, in

characteristic early

Synagogue

112.

Bamberg,

at

interior, west.

Renaissance elements struggle with the desire to


maintain Gothic forms,

decided deviation

is

we have

from the medieval synagogue type as

known
in

till

it

now. The "Klaus" Synagogue (also

Prague) which was built at the end of the 16th

the elegant solution of the division between the

women's

and

ly to

ornamentation in the local Renaissance fashion.

The
with
ly

hesitancy

stylistic

from

arises

the

these

of

persistent Gothic tradition

its

two examples

character

peculiar

Prague,

of

subsequent-

The
make

building
it

The
built

Isaac

in

1582,

vaulting, here,

architectural

tradition,

is

"monastic

intersecting

too,

lines

of

(fig.

113).
at

oldest of

Kazimierz

them was

vault."

It

is

covered by a

As with the

the vault

is

two half-cvlinders

at

1640 the synagogue named


wicz was

built.

Renaissance

It

idiom

as

churches and chapels.


Olivieri,
city,

was

(who

after Isaac Jakobo-

prominent example of

is

was

it

The

used

architect

in

small

Francesco

the designer of

many

a disciple of the

famous Carlo Maderna

also

worked

in

Cracow

structure

is

buildings in the

in

a western gallery used for the

The

while in

Isserles,

women's

barrel-vault

arcade and high lunettes on

all

1594-6).

with
sides.

It

has

section.
113.

lateral

Notable

is

Synagogue

at

R. Isaac Jakobowicz;

section

Kazimierz, named after


ground-plan and cross-

(after

Grotte).

cross-

formed by the

suburb of

built in the

1553 by Moses

in

Lwow,

Polish representative of the

vaulted halls were erected in the said fashion.

The

cross-

than the adjacent buildings

square vaulted-chamber type.


so-called

Renaissance

taller

Nachmanowicz Synagogue

In Cracow, also a city of a magnificent me-

and

gallery

15 meters high, apparent-

is

of the Jewish quarter

shared by an equally strong Baroque influence.

dieval

Under the

was the entrance lobby, vaulted by small


vaults.

and flower

and the nave by an arcade sup-

on Tuscan columns.

ported

century and altered in the 17th was barrel-vaulted


finished in stucco with plant-scroll

gallery

right

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

275

was long popular with Baroque


chamber, which

276

architects.

The

almost square and specifically

is

designed with an emphasis on centrality,

is

co-

vered by a "monastic vault" of eight parts as


described above
in pairs

each side and lend to the interior of the

appearance

the

vault

The axon and


The

of

normal

cross-vault.

the remaining detail, the corbels

windows,

of the vault, the


style.

114). High lunettes pierce

(fig.

etc.,

are in Renaissance

idea of a square plan for an undivided

inner space found

its

synagogues of Zamosc

continuation in the Polish


(fig.

115), Husiatyn

(fig.

116), and Szczebrzeszyn.


In

direct use
altars

Synagogue of R. Isaac Nachmanowicz at


Lwow; ground-plan and cross-section (after
11-1.

Grotte)

neighboring

the

was sometimes made

new

and

II.

Moravia

at this time of high

acquired from churches closed

Emperor Joseph

Bohemia

down by

They were adapted

to their

use with very slight changes. Here, too, the

type of square synagogue with monastic vaulting

but

angles,

the

enclosure

is

downward

and

shaped not unlike an inverted boat, resulting


a square

dome. This

is

bv arch-ribs which accompany the

cylindrical

a primarily Gothic construction

115.

is

which

Synagogue

at

many.

acceptance, later spreading to Ger-

These

Bohemia, are

sometimes strengthened

section, so that a six- or eight-partite vaulting

formed

in

now gained

more

buildings,
built

nounced Baroque

particularly

and decorated

taste of

in

the

in

pro-

South Germany and the

Austrian countries. In 1757, a fine synagogue of


the above description

Zamosc,

interior,

Bimah.

(fig.

117) was built

in

the

SYNAGOGUE ARCH. OF THE MEDIEVAL AND PRE-EMANCIPATION PERIODS

277

116.

town

Synagogue

at

Husiatyn, interior, east-wall.

of Kuttenplan, situated in the heart of the

Jewish "pale" of Western Bohemia. The floor here,


too,

is

below the

dictates.

1764
the

at

level of the street, as tradition

similar

synagogue

was erected

built

in

ferred to,

leading

to

lie

at the junctions of the

Bavaria;

hence

that similar synagogues

is

it

were

not

main roads
surprising

also built there.

in

Koenigswart and additional buildings of

same kind were

278

manv towns and

hamlets of that region. The Bohemian towns re-

VII.

The Four-Pillared Stone Synagogue

Shortly thereafter,
Central

and

Eastern

in

the

wake

Europe,

and

of the West,

particularly

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

279

Synagogue

117.

at

Kuttenplan;

Poland, experienced historical changes.

ginning of the 16th century sees the


of medieval civilization give

The

ments.

isolation

Jewry proceeds
in

is

to create

to

new

be-

traces

develop-

to

cross-section

emphasize the

(after

Grotte).

interior's

dome and

bimah beneath

their

some well-known

later

mentioned square

single-cell

the

Jews

from

focus

a conventional space-relationship,

now more strongly felt.


its own spiritual world

of

European environment

wav

The

last

ground-plan and

280

it,

by means
i.e.,

as in the case of

examples or the already


synagogue.

the midst of the Polish cultural milieu. Within

this

Jewish region an independent art emerges,

first

of a folk character, comprising various arts

and

crafts.

In the course of time a highly indi-

genous level for expressing one's own world of


thought and feeling

is

achieved.

There was a basic urge


of

way

of

builder's
stract

It

He

task

in

its

yet

had

it

the

master-

Jewish

faced an intellectual, abto

be executed and

The

material, physical terms.

cipal difficulty
stress

was

worship.

dilemma.

expressed

to fulfill the provision

cogent expression for the specific

suitable

was the bimah and the

central position

prin-

desire to

and overriding impor-

problem found an unequivocal

tance. This
tion

which

the

building's

rigidly

solu-

determined the connection of

shell

with

this

which

four-pillared

synagogue

independent

architectural

focal

point.

resulted

invention

is

The
an

and native
11K.

Jewish achievement.
to build

It

was, of course, possible

ithout supports in the center

and vet

Synagogue

at

groundRzeszow. Above
ground-plan and

plan of old synagogue; below


cross-section

of

of

between a

new synagogue.

SYNAGOGUE ARGH. OF THE MEDIEVAL AND PRE-EMANGIPATION PERIODS

281

282

Beyond doubt we are here confronted with

phenomenon

fascinating

tecture: a space invention following

Had

need.

an emotional

the historical conditions of

Jewry been

might have continued

different, this type

the history of archi-

in

to exist

and develop new forms following fresh methods


There were

construction.

of

synagogues with four


at

(cf.

Wolpa, or

many, where

it

pillars

also

surrounding a bimah

as far as in

Rothenburg, Ger-

was erected by an immigrant

Jewish community around 1720)

was used, since the


spans.

apparently

where timber construction

a superfluous support

large

some timber

can bridge relatively

latter

These examples prove the impor-

tance of the four-pillared type and illustrate

deeply rooted
tradition

as

it

had already become


expression

specific

of

how

in Jewish

monumen-

tality.

The
Synagogue

119.

at

Nowogrodek,

A much
however,

if

stronger

spatial

the structure

is

possible,

period.

upon

side

called

to

a material part in the sought-for space-rela-

ta'ze

tionship.

The very essence

of the physical life of

a medieval vaulted stone building

is

its

structural

system of carefully balanced forces and counterforces taking the shape

this

system, to

Many,

the

clearly

buildings

from

local conditions

of the architecture of the

especially those

city-walls,

were

built

which stood outas

expressed in the facades.

surrounded by a

possessed

fortified

arcaded

fortresses,

The

roof

attic

If

parapet

with crenellated cornices and small towers

in the

the

visibly integrated as a center into

become

its

emotional and physical

climax, the desire for a truly specific expression

would be

fulfilled.

Such an architectural invention

was actually produced.

It

finally

took the shape

masonry,

of a central vault-carrying pile of


into four pillars to include

split

between them a square

bimah, a defined space within space. Such was


the final

extreme

conclusion
type,

e.g.,

which produced the more


buildings

the

at

Rzeszow,

Maciejow, Pinsk, Wilno, Nowogrodek, Luck, and


other places
less

absolute

(fig.

type

118,
of

119). Simultaneously, a
building

which the four supporting

in

pillars define a central

bay (containing the bimah)


bays,

developed,

among

nine equal

which together constitute a square. The

synagogues in the suburb of

Lwow

and

kiew are most characteristic examples of


of hall with nine equal

bavs

(fig.

120).

at Z61-

this

tvpe

as

was

equipped with shooting loopholes and sometimes

of arches, pillars, buttresses

and other load- and thrust-bearing members.

bimah could be

these

and from the influence

impact

itself is

of

characteristics arising both

interior,

and Bimah.

central pillars

exterior

120.

plan

Synagogue at suburb of Lwow, groundannd cross-section of north wall (after


Grotte).

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

283

Synagogue

121.

at

Zolkiew, exterior, after

were

Polish Renaissance manner. These features

adopted,

would seem, bv

it

roval order for needs

of defense against Cossack or Tartar attacks (fig.

121).

contrast to these

In

synagogues

of

very

were

the unfortified

appearance

simple

whose

only outstanding characteristic was the roof


generally built in two

The

tiers,

one above the other.

structure of the synagogue in the suburb of

Lwow

cross-vaulted

is

in

vaulting bays and interdivided

4 pillars

in

the

all

synagogue
building

as the accepted
built in

at

equal

bv 12 arches, with

the corners of the center bay.

plan shows no external buttresses


arch-piers)

nine

The

(opposite the

usage required. The

1632 and an almost identical

Zoikiew

built

in

characteristic examples of this

nine equal bays and four

1690 are
form of

pillars.

The

highlv

hall

with

the

wood engraving.

four

pillars

instance,

(1705;
rally,

the

in

grouped together appears,

"New Synagogue"

vaults

of

such a

synagogue

four middle pillars join above the

bimah

existed at Lublin, Brody,

elsewhere

Mikulow, Ostrog, and

showing that although the home

country of these buildings

is

Galicia, they spread

throughout Poland and even reached eastward


Russia,

to

southwest to Moravia and Slovakia,

northward to Lithuania
to

(fig.

122), and westward

Germany.
In Palestine, synagogues of the four-pillar hall

interiors of

of

order to

fill

for reasons of security,

height.

The

began

at

in

emptv wall

window, which.
a considerable

other previously described type with

The
form

dome or vault. Beside the synagogues menmanv other examples are known to have

rative arcade (recalling the triforium of a Gothic


in

to

tioned,

type were introduced at an early

church), apparently

on

rest

buttresses.

these synagogues usually included a blank deco-

surface between the floor and the

for

Rzeszow

springing from the pillars to the walls,

which are reinforced outside by

at

118) with "monastic vaulting." Gene-

fig.

the

arches

284

them by Ashkenazi
and

settlers.

was

stage,

This type was

quickly

accepted

to other

communities which modified

further

understood best, sometimes adding a


the

central

bay.

The

four-pillar

most

on

passed
it

as they

dome

over

synagogues

in

SYNAGOGUE ARGH. OF THE MEDIEVAL AND PRE-EMANCIPATION PERIODS

285

synagogue of

War

II,

the "Ari" and the Sephardi synagogue of Isaac

were

relatively high,

Aboab
gogue

and

Hebron, and the Synagogue of Elijah

at

Synagogue

Istanbul

the

town

of Jerusalem. In the
a

"Avraham Avinu" Syna-

the

Safad,

at

Ashkenazi

the

include

Palestine

the

in

Tomar,

of

old

city

in Portugal,

medieval structure of the same type, apparentformer synagogue,

ly a

still

surrounding

the
of

scarcely

distinct

an

more

Even

phenomenon.

architectural

unique

the

timber

tions full of

be regarded

tics.

common

although the structural

ancient Slavic pattern

The timber synagogue

plain.

is

the best-known

is

twist

which

Polish

mood

the

gave the

(fig.

123).

quieter and

17th

the

in

century,

imaginative

movement and

stone
In

but the Jewish

theme,

become

the

combina-

the vividness of their

to these additive characteris-

Wall paintings, which

topic.

Poles frequently

and piled roof on roof

generally

owes much

rise

some measure

in

roof,

special

characteristics

have given

The

"festive"

but

restrained,

exterior

influence of a

upward

obviously

churches of North Russia and Scandinavia cannot


as parallels,

aware of

his

synagogues are

are

well

In a later period the forms

Timber Synagogues

The polish timber synagogues

may

used the steep double-eaved

in

The Architectural Vernacular:

The

landscape.

group

They

remains.

them dominating

of

recall Far-Eastern features.

eaves an
VIII.

some

to those particular lines

builder,

exists.

one

single

286

synagogues,

also

existed

constitute

in

the

separate

timber svnagogues, these form a

expression of a Jewish folk-art which developed

from the mid- 17th century under the influence


of the Polish vernacular art

and spread over the

entire Jewish settlement area of Eastern Europe.

Conjectures exist on their origin, relating them

temples (the

tc ancient Slavic

some remains

memory and even

which were preserved among

of

the local population)

or to the

Khazar tradition

by Polish Jewry. The truth is that


although there were structural links with the

inherited

ancient
sulted

this

development

re-

the local wood-

among

village craftsmen

working

and

prototype,

Slavic

quite naturally through

preserved

skill

Timber was widely used not only

artisans.

for cottages

and

inns,

but also for village churches

and even the manor houses of the landed gentry.


In spite of these influences, the timber synagogues
of Poland constitute a distinct, specific

mistakably

separate

group,

Jewish tradition only.

It

is

and un-

associated

with

on record that the

timber buildings were designed and executed bv


Jewish craftsmen-artists.
122.

17th century half of European Jewry

In the

was concentrated
prising

that

though

now,

in

the
after

Poland; hence
buildings

the

it

were

devastation

is

not sur-

numerous*
of

World

Synagogue

characteristic

design.

In

Some 1800

buildings are said to have been destroyed in


the Ukraine during the Cossack

in the 17th century.


until

1939.

About 100 buildings survived

cases

rich

of the interior

wood-carvings and

painting integratedly alternate

in

bright colors.

generally simple. Interior measure-

ments were normally about 15 metres square or

pogroms
in Poland

Druja, central pillars and Bima/i.

and inseparable part

many

The plan was


East Poland and

at

little

more. The women's section was sometimes

an annex and sometimes built

in as

an internal

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

287

'

*"

288

cAyT

^v^_.

*Sil3gfe.

r*<z~
'Jfrenc'jmcijr,

^impart &

ff.

%.
Synagogue

12.3.

gallery.

and

Unique

"winter room,"
cold weather.

Pogrzebyszcze,

at

was

characteristic

the

provided as a shelter for very

was generally plastered

It

to faci-

exterior

Berson).

(after

tradition swiftly spread

timber

westward and

was

synagogue

built

at

Kurnik near

Poznah. This synagogue has a quiet and restrained

and boasts a pair

of timber

columns

litate heating.

exterior

The oldest known timber building was at


Chodoiow near Lwow, erected in 1651 (fig. 124).

the classical Tuscan order, such as were

The
in

roof timbers are internally lined with planks

three

molded

barrel-vault

Israel

tiers,

The

the central

paintings

are

one forming
the

work

of

ben Mordecai and Isaac ben Judah Leib.

The same artists are credited with the drawings


in the Gwozdiec Synagogue (fig. 125), which
carries an octagonal wooden dome over the
square

octagon

square

to

provided by triangular squinches

at

center.
is

The

transition

the four corners, but the

from

suggests the original intention to build a barrelvault, like that at

Chodoiow. Most

wooden svnagogues were

of the Polish

built at the

in

end

the neighboring

verv

manor houses.

dome

interesting

slightly

in

common

Inside

was

reminiscent

a
of

and adorned with paintings and

stone-vaulting

wood carvings. The advent of timber synagogues


to Germany has been referred to above; the bestknown among them being at Rechhofen, Horb,
Kirchheim and Rothenburg.

IX.

shape of the rafters

1767 a

in

The Synagogues

Jewish life
gendered
fested

in

in

Eastern and Central Europe en-

specific

the

of Spain

art

conditions subsequently maniof

building.

The degree

of

of the

originality of this art was directly contingent on

The

these conditions and especially on the intellectu-

17th or the beginning of the 18th century.

SYNAGOGUE ARGH. OF THE MEDIEVAL AND PRE-EMANGIPATION PERIODS

289

al

and

religious

background. In Southern Europe

independent manifestations of

among

type occurred

this

the Jewry of Spain, which had by then

developed a tradition of

As a

result

its

own.

and usages, a

of local conditions

came

type of synagogue
nish

290

among Spa-

into being

Jewry which made an ultimate contribution

to the

points

problem of balance between the two focal


of the synagogue

the bimah, or to give

nish-Hebrew names

their

awn and

the

interior,

them

customary Spa-

the hekhal and the

This solution subsequently found

its

tevah.

most extreme

expression in Italy generations later.

As

far as cultural patterns

and

visual language

are concerned, the Jews here belong to the

world.

The synagogue buildings prove

even those built

in

Christian

Spain

Arab

this,

(the

for

only

ones that survived) are constructed in an Islamic


or

rather

Moorish idiom and reveal traces of

Western influence
mudejar

in

ornamental

few

details

manner

only, in the

which

combines

Synagogue

125.

interior of

Gwozdziec,

at

wooden dome.

Islamic with Gothic elements. Thus, for example,

order to adorn the walls of a synagogue, the

in

Spanish

Jews employed verses from the Bible

written in elegant scribal lettering very


their

Moslem

walls

of

their

who

neighbors

much

embellished

like

the

mosques with verses from the

Koran.

The two best-known synagogue buildings in


Spain are at Toledo. One built in the second half
of the I2th century

by Joseph Ibn Shushan was

confiscated at the beginning of the 15th century

and subsequently converted


"Santa Maria la-Blanca"

medieval synagogues,
unostentatious

into

(fig.

the church of

Like most

126).

this building

is

modest and

but splendid within.

outside,

Its

plan and structure are characteristically Moorish

and indeed resemble the famous mosque of Cordova. Four long horseshoe arcades which carry
a

trabeated ceiling divide the interior into five

aisles.

capitals

The

columns

octagonal

are

are richly carved.

and

their

The column-bases

in

the two central colonnades are also adorned with


"azulejos."* Small circular

windows

wall apparently belonged to the

which no longer
124.

Synagogue at Chodorow, ground-plan


and cross-section (after Grotte).

Glazed procelain

exists.
tiles.

in the

women's

Despite

the

western
section

building's

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

291

126.

relatively small size

seems

and

Toledo

is

(22X28

thanks

spacious,

arches

Synagogue of Joseph Ibn Shushan

to

it.

The plan

is

Jesuits,

of the hall,

clerestory, are screened with

ha-Levi

Several other medieval Spanish synagogues have

later

been only partly preserved, including those

took

Cordova,

of a longish

that

The windows

generosity of the donor.

which form an upper

interior.

alabaster grilles admitting a diffused soft light.

who
by

rectangular hall (9/2X23 meters ), covered

Toledo (Santa Maria la-Blanca),

in

1356 and

about the year

built

the

of

Don Samuel

renamed "El Transito" bv the


possession of

rhythm

the

The second building

columns.

the Svnagogue of

Abulafia,

meters), the interior

in

292

a flat

which resembled the one

just

described in

and other

decorations, inscriptions,

timber ceiling with carvings. The walls are de-

at

Segovia and another at Toledo,

Seville,

its

details.

This description of the synagogues at Toledo

corated with carved foliage in the mudejar idiom.

has not touched on functional needs.

Lines of verses from the Psalms alternating with

nating east wall and the proportions of the hall

decorative

patterns

lettering belongs

specimens

The
by

off

of

important

record

The
Hebrew

walls.

women's

aesthetically

and

is

initially

inscriptions

the ejection

the

made
on

each

bimah,

little

the

of the building

phardi
screened

letter-

At

of the nave hint

The form
is

first,

at

a longi-

of the tevah,

the Se-

known
it

from

compromise was obtained between

of

and the

its

place near the western end of the hall opposite

wall.

side

century

importance. Ultimately, the tevah found

the

Torah-

13th

seems to have possessed

Most

eastern
for

trend.

alabaster

gallery,

perforated

and the direction


tudinal

miniatures.

decorated with ornamental

The niche was

it

the

all

from the Song of Miriam).

(verses

scrolls,

the

delicately-carved

slabs, are also

ing

adorn

the most beautiful

127).

(fig.

walls

to

The domi-

hekhal

(Sephardi term for awn).

Thus

a longitudinal

design and the two foci of the synagogue placed


opposite each other along the axis.
of

1492 put an end

to

The

expulsion

any further evolution

in

SYNAGOGUE ARCH. OF THE MEDIEVAL AND PRE-EMANCIPATION PERIODS

293
Spain

itself

but

tinued to exist

in

this

concept of balance con-

the diaspora of the Spanish

countries as the south of France,

Holland, and

England. In those countries there

was no evolu-

of the Spanish

tion

exiles.

Two

model described above.

synagogues survive as monuments of the

vanished Jewry of Provence


X.

The Synagogues

in

the

Spanish

Diaspora
of medieval origin

and Oriental Countries

An account
Italian

of

and

one

at Carpentras,

18th cen-

rebuilt in the

tury, the other at Cavaillon. In the latter

the characteristic plan

of

the

synagogue which undoubtedly constitutes

a specific Jewish artistic achievement, concludes

294

small

synagogue erected over the gate of the

"Carriere"

18th

the

town, a

(the local ghetto)

century in Rococo

was remodeled
style.

It

in

was the

survey of the synagogue architecture of the

Provencal practice to build two niches in the

Middle Ages and the pre-emancipation period.

eastern wall on each side of the ark, one for the

this

de-

palm-branch on the Feast of Tabernacles, and

in the

the other for the "chair of the Prophet Elijah."

European Diaspora, more particularly

Marrano refugees from Spain, founding new

we must

But, for the sake of completeness,


scribe briefly the history of the
rest of the

synagogue

that of post-expulsion of Spanish

Jewry

vxnxT? TftTnaa

in

such

communities

in

Holland and England

r rnianqy' Train rmrrin "vmm

ty II W,WH4iWJ^^

^mhdi^W^-b P^MiM\Lumh^,i^^'.
'

127.

in the 17th

Synagogue of Don Samuel ha-Levi Abulafia

in

Toledo (El Transito), wall decoration.

295

JEWISH ART

128.

FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

The

Bevis

Marks Synagogue, London, interior, east-wal


Mendes Belistrio).

(painting by Isaac

129.

The Great Synagogue

of the Portuguese community in Amsterdam:


Torah-shrine (engraving by B. Picart).

interior,

296

297

SYNAGOGUE ARCH. OF THE MEDIEVAL AND PRE-EMANCIPATION PERIODS

130.

introduced

century,

Having severed
nish

past,

munity,

in

religious

at

practices.

their connection with their Spa-

they had

and

novel

Touro Synagogue

their

to

reconstruct

synagogue

their

building

comthe

of the new environment was strongly


The Great Synagogue of the Portuguese

influence
felt.

community
1671-75

at

(fig.

tecture of the

Amsterdam,

built

in

the

years

Newport, U.S.A..

in

London

sembles

of the time.
set

English

The

into general use.

built

Protestant

On

1700-1,

in

re-

meeting-houses

pattern of a women's gallery

end with the

aisle

leaving

ark, later

Many New World

that of the Sephardi

e.g.,

West

Spanish and Portuguese Bevis Marks Synagogue

128),

(fig.

clear only the east

Dutch churches,

famous

interior.

on columns on three sides of the

129), was influenced by the archijust as the

the

298

community

came

synagogues,
in

Curacao,

Indies, built in 1732, followed these models.

the other hand, the synagogue at Newport,

Rhode

Island,

(fig.

130)

erected in

1763

after

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

299

gogue

at Fostat

(Old Cairo)

300

a former Coptic

is

Damascus

the 9th century. At

basilica

built

there

a vaulted synagogue, the only one in the

is

in

with

Orient

model

and

nave

svnagogues

for

two

was provided by the ancient mosques


where the court

world

of Cairo,

surrounded by a columned

is

on the side of the mihrab the roofed

portico;

portion

Another

aisles.

in this part of the

is

wider, thus forming a shaded open hall,

and a fountain marks the middle

of the court-

yard. In the conditions of a hot climate, such an

arrangement meets
131.

Aleppo synagogue (Syria); inner


courtvard with Bimah.

of a synagogue,

the design of Peter Harrison, owes

thing

to

any

prototype

American colonial

countries

is

origin.

adapting

The Grand Synagogue

the Orient and in

solutions
of

mihrab,

of

of

Baghdad

alien
is

de-

131

principle

Cochin,

the twelfth century as a building which apparenthall

opening onto a

Moslem mosque
and magnificently adorned with Hebrew texts
like the Spanish synagogues. The famous synacourtyard not unlike that of a

surrounding

the

are

that

on

this

mention

east,

"White Jews" Synagogue

of the

South India, built

in

(fig.

and

built

Farther

recorded.

the

for

portico

at Irbid

no others

Galilee,

in

mav be made
in

comprised a columned

by

provided

is

Apart from the synagogue

Meron,

at

shade

while

worshippers

scribed by the traveler Benjamin of Tudela in

ly

in

where the reading-

the center of the courtyard and the ark supplants

was shaped by the need

architectural

pronouncedly

conducting public worship in a traditional form,


while

one was erected

at least

Aleppo

at

platform occupies the place of the fountain in

if

the
in

and

the functional requirements

any-

little

in style.

Synagogue architecture

Moslem

and

form

this

all

in

at

1564 and extended

1664, which impressed a visitor shortly after

the latter date as being very similar to European

On

svnagogues.

the other hand, the synagogue

Kai Feng Fu,

at

mandarin

in

in

China, built by a Jewish

1652, and

known

to us only from

who

the drawing of a Jesuit missionary


it

hundred years

pagoda

later,

was

visited

characteristic

structure, with a succession of courtyards

surrounded bv communal

gogue proper

offices,

with the syna-

the end of the axial line

at

(fig.

132).

XI.

The Synagogues

of Italy

In the account of the Spanish synagogues a new

arrangement was mentioned, based on a careful

between the reading-platform and the

balance
ark.

In

Italv

had lived

in

Italy

Christian era and

Synagogue

at Kai-Feng-Fu, China; perspective


view facing west (after Domenge).

from the beginning of the

had preserved an ancient


had

Italy

Jews, and

after the expulsion of 1492, a

tions

also

from Spain bringing

arrived.

It

was, therefore,

their

local

Ashkenazi

absorbed

tradition.

of refugees
132.

development continued. Jews

this

number

own

clear

tradi-

that

the

evolution of synagogue architecture in Italy de-

301

SYNAGOGUE ARCH. OF THE MEDIEVAL AND PRE-EMANCIPATION PERIODS

133.

134.

Synagogue
(after

at Ferrara,

Synagogue

ground-plan

Pinkerfeld).

at Pesaro, interior,

135.

302

Bimah.

Canton family synagogue

at

Venice, ground-plan

(after Pinkerfeld).

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

303

136.

pended on

variety

of

Italian

synagogue

The "bipolar"
whereby the ark and

factors.

interior plan devised here,

the platform were placed opposite one another


in

a position of harmonious reciprocity,

important

achievement

synagogue

interiors,

that

it

was

in large

but

in
it

the

was an

development

of

must be emphasized

measure a concept of

interior

space rather than of building and structure. In


Italy,

as in the other

medieval Diaspora centers,

the synagogues generally lack external distinction

at

Padua,

interior,

304

Bimah.

nor was anything novel introduced in the


structure.

The popular methods

way

of

of construction

and covering were the "monastic vaults"

as

in

the "Scuola Tedesca" (Ashkenazi Synagogue) at

Padua, resembling those

later

mian square-hall synagogues

used in the Bohe-

of the 18th century;

barrel-vaulting of various types with or without


lunettes;

coffer ceilings

struction currently
of the Renaissance

and other forms

employed
and

of con-

in the architecture

later of the

Italian

Ba-

SYNAGOGUE ARGH. OF THE MEDIEVAL AND PRE-EMANGIPATION PERIODS

305

Sephardi synagogue

137.

from

adopted

periods,

The

hall

final

of the

but

fill

the

of

wall and

synagogues

Italian

shape until the 16th and 17th

seem

centuries; established types

previously,

and

(without figural representation).

"bipolar"

did not take

forms

function

the

ornamentation being to cover and to


ceiling surfaces

on

Baroque,

Renaissance,

the

Rococo building

drew

treatment

Decorative

roque.

we know

little

was the unique contribution


synagogue design. There are

have existed

to

at

Venice, interior. Ark.

main

intersection of the

bule

134).

(fig.

The

reciprocal spatial relations

are admirablv coordinated


in

most of the

solution

generally

drastically

as

is

(fig.

many

local

built

over a crypt).

gave

full

Italy.

Italian

One

placing of the platform against the wall was not

referred

and

satisfactory,

above.

to

it

was introduced

In places

solution

synagogue

such as

built

is

The

altars,

on columns
(in this

re-

which are

"bipolar" arrangement

generally

ascended

in

into a niche

of

two arms

to

the

variety of designs in

In the "Italian"
stance,

Baroque idiom.

Synagogue

at

Padua, for

ing-platform and the ark

(fig.

136). This build-

and west walls are the long ones;

in other

(or Sephardi)

at Ferrara, built in the

17th century; here the platform

is

middle of the
placed

in the

in-

a barrel-vault ceiling connects the read-

most beautiful examples of the


the Levantine

lofty

Reading-platform provided an opportunity for a

which the

all

at

which

stairs

ing belongs to a special type in

and was accepted

the

"Canton" Synagogue

The need

135).

(fig.

Frequently,

over

satisfaction

of the

church

Pesaro

to

slight variations in

almost one storey above floor level

sembling

the

Jewry

of Italian

is

in

though

interior,

133) and Ancona, the bimah (which

against the western wall)

as

it,

It

like the ark, e.g., in the

Pesaro

placed the platform

about them.

Venice

building practice.

But

disciplined.

and elevated

against the western wall

not

and

Italian cities, chiefly in the north,

evolved which

aron and bimah, stemming from regional custom


local

(opposite the ark)

axis

with the axis of entrance leading from the vesti-

the space arrangements and relationship between

and

306

the interior

is

designed on a lateral

The most important


of worship

is

of the

North

east

words,

axis.

Italian houses

the Sephardi synagogue at Venice

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

307

(fig.

137).

Its

erection began in the early years

the finest contemporary Italian work. Arks from

now

it

was redesigned and

Italy

rebuilt not long afterwards

by the famous Bal-

Italian

of the 16th century, but

The

dassare Longhena.

building, designed in the

typical fashion of the period, has a

and a splendid
terior the

interior.

women's

modest

section

is

built as

an

elliptical

work

gallery surrounding the hall. This brilliant


of Venetian

Baroque outshines

all

in-

the other syna-

grace various museums, while some

communities on the verge of dissolution

have transferred synagogue furnishings

The

exterior

Within the rectangular

308

singular

of

tradition

interiors persisted

to Israel.

synagogue

Italian

even after the advent of the

had pro-

external concomitants of Emancipation

duced a wave

of

mosques.

however,

This,

imitations

churches

of

marks the end

and
of

gogues of the Venetian ghetto: the "Levantine"

chapter in Jewish architectural history extending

Synagogue, the "Italian" Synagogue, the "Great

over

Ashkenazi" Synagogue, the "Canton" Synagogue

interest

and the

with

rest.

Most

of these synagogues

in the first half of the

were

built

17th century, though the

last-mentioned dates back a hundred years earlier,


to the period of the establishment of the

Venetian

Ghetto.

Apart
Italian
fine

the

bipolar

space

concept,

synagogues bequeathed to Jewish


of

skilled

the

art

craftsmanship and fur-

The adornments and decorations in the


Baroque manner were of a standard equalling

of

the

countries

the

and continents. The

period

experiments

described
in

is

special

concerned

architectural

original

expression crowned by the genesis

of indepen-

dent and original architectural inventions. These

achievements
validity

from

tradition

nishing.

many

in

the

down

own

retained

to this day.

Emancipation

buildings,

our

have

and remain

sweeping

their

They were unparalleled

period,

with

its

eclectic

so in the architecture of

day, both in Israel and the Diaspora,

which has not yet found the way


expression to the synagogue and

to give specific

its

values.

RITUAL ART
CECIL

by

ROTH

characteristic recommendation of the Talmud

and proves the antiquity of the

justifies

of the Jewish

synagogue and home. Rabbis make

comment about

this

God, and

XV, 2
mance

the Biblical verse "This

will glorify

[lit.

'adorn']

my

is

him" (Exodus,

Him

"Adorn thyself before

ritual art

in the perfor-

commandments. Make before Him

of the

and goodly

a goodly succah,

lulab,

and a goodly

or nothing

Little

been preserved

to the present time, our evidence

being indirect. The primary reason for

presumably the vicissitudes of Jewish

communities were driven into

ex-

laged;
pressly

made

forbidden to

take

ners or succor refugees.

we

adornments hung

learn of the

and

in the succah,

of the gold

used to bind up the lulab, and more than

fillets

once of the wrappings for the sacred books. But


there

no evidence that

is

at this time

any of these

appurtenances had any uniformity or were ex-

made

pressly

for

specific

With the

purpose.

exception of a few eight-burnered clay lamps pre-

sumably intended
kah, there

is

made Jewish
of

ritual

Temple,

the

for use

on the

feast of

Hanuk-

barely any evidence of specifically-

adornments, other than those

until

the

close

the

of

first

millennium.
It

must have been about

this

period that their

such

objects

as

we

commonplace. Thus

read

in

anything

similar

ransom

in order to

As a

priso-

recurrent crises, as well as normal

quary's point of view disastrous)

by the new, Jewish

old

medieval

ritual art of the

period has disappeared almost entirely. Hardly

more than
sixteenth

a handful of specimens anterior to the

now traceable. This gebe sure, may perhaps need quali-

century

neralization, to

are

due course.

fication in

spection could be

and expert

careful

If

made

and even modern synagogues, especially


East,

the-

study of ancient manuscripts,

improbable that some memorable

However

that

might even

may

it

objects

ritual

now be

discovered.

be, the fact remains that

gogue

in Fostat

extant are virtually

scheduled

silver,

and three

of silver,
silk,

1186-7,

pairs of finials

out of

(rimmonim) made

and twenty-two Torah-covers made of

some

of

them brocaded with

Presumably, domestic

made

in

at

much

Rabbi Meir of
Jewish ritual art

gold,"

ritual objects

and so

began

to

Jewish ritual

assume

its

be

The name of
Rothenburg, the great German
as we know it now had begun to
the

same

time.

frequently in connection with our literary


dences, and

on.

evi-

may be assumed that by his day


art as we know it now had begun to

it

form.

all

not

is

we find

drown up

the

in

with the same care as has been devoted

of great antiquity

an

in-

of the property of ancient

the objects of Jewish ritual art which are

(Cairo),

anti-

to replace the

inventory of the property of the Palestinian Syna-

"Two Torah-crowns made

sell

result of all these

wear and the natural tendency (from the

to

manufacture began, for not long after


of

and

exile,

with them

of precious material: synagogues could

then sacred treasures

goodly wrappings." Elsewhere,

Syna-

life.

pil-

and a goodly Sepher Torah... and bind

up with

was

this

gogues everywhere were sacked, burned, and

shophar, and goodly fringes for your garments,


it

however, has

date,

of this

now

of the post-medieval per-

iod. After a trickle of the sixteenth century, there


is

great mass of material of the seventeenth

and eighteenth, some

of

unduly large proportion

it

is

very

flecting the religious enthusiasm,

being and good taste of the

Perhaps an

fine.

German

in origin, re-

economic well-

new groupings

in

those countries, especially the newly-arisen class


of

Court Jews.

domestic

religious

abundance

side

the synagogue.
the

It

objects

may be remarked
adornments

that here

figure

in

great

by side with those intended

The

taste

and charm

then manufactured

in

of

some

for

of

Poland and

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

311

placed at his disposal

312

house of one of the

in the

and that no work should be done on

local Jews,

Sabbaths or Jewish holv days.

On

anonymous work
tainable

Jewish

know,

Abraham

which

of this type

craftsmen

d'Oliveira

(d.

mentioned elsewhere

some

reputation.
silversmith

who

has been

1750),

work

in this

with his work as an artist-engraver,


Germany,

Detail of a binder for Torah-scroll,

138.

1756, (Formerly in Hessenlandes

Museum,

Kassel).

Eastern Europe belies the general impression of


the economic misery and unaesthetic outlook of
the Jewish communities in this area.

On

and fashions

To be

thev were manufactured.

was one

the

of

which

in

some

sure,

Jewish

It is

modern

until the

believed that

Jews

era,

in

Eastern countries were responsible for the

the

But

manufacture of most of these objects.

Western
to

silver-

characteristic

occupations in most countries.

from early times

in

were Jews. Gold and

cases the craftsmen

smitherv

and periods

of the countries

with

Europe,

tendency

growing

the

in

exclude the Jews from handicrafts after the

period

Moreover,

Crusades,

the

of

in

this

was

in connection

who

designed

and executed a good deal

of

London

eighteenth century;

and

in the first half of the

younger

his

( 1723-94 )

first

New

Guild of

the whole, these objects reflect the tastes

ascer-

London

of

for example, of the

Myer

contemporary

President

York,

who

of

silver

ritual

the

it

Myers

carried out

some

distin-

guished work for synagogues (as well as churches)


in

America.
Certain decorative features became very com-

mon

in,

ritual

and almost

art

Peter's in

of the

Rome

characteristic of, the Jewish

post-medieval
there

is

period.

a spirally fluted

column, the colonna santa, late Classical


it is

Jewish
facture;
it

that

ritual
in

may

in origin;

in Jerusalem,

where Jesus leaned against

while disputing with the rabbis.

From

the Re-

naissance period, two twisted columns, apparently

different.

was neces-

mark

much

that

manu-

of non-Jewish

is

and

Holland

of the Gentile

manufac-

sometimes well-known masters of

e.g. the prolific

burg,

c.

Main,

c.

dler,

Hester

1700),

and

Bateman

ornaments

for

the other from

that the

am

We

for

William

Grundy

know

at

of

least

the manufacture of

the Torah,

made between

craftsmen and the leaders of the local

Jewish communities

instance,

(Frankfurt

1700), and John Ruslen, Frederick Kan-

two medieval contracts

Gentile

their

Matthews Wolff (Augus-

Jeremiah Zobel

(London, 18th century).

silver

certain

is

it

Germany

England,

often bears the

turers,

craft

be,

metal-work

one from Aries (1439),

Avignon (1477). In the former

silversmith

Robin

commission was

to

Tissard

be executed

undertook
in a

room

St.

bronze

legendary said to have been brought from the

Temple
it

In

sarv to have recourse to the local silversmiths.

However

in

Silversmith's

remote communities where a Jewish

craftsman might not be available,

of

falls into this

was carried out by

category, a good deal

We

amount

the other hand, besides the vast

139.

Breastplate for

Breslau,

Torah

scroll.

1720 (Jewish Museum,

Silver repousse,

New

York).

RITUAL ART

313

and inevitably

copied from the colonna santa,

with

identified

Hebrew books

the engraved title-pages of

175).

fig.

was from there

It

Kings

of

to figure as a typical feature

began

VII, 21,

Boaz

and

Jakhin

was copied on various objects

on

(see

feature

that this

of

314

European Jewish

the end of the eighteenth century.

ritual art until

Other symbols which are commonly found

in-

clude the lion, representing the Lion of the Tribe of

Judah (Genesis XLIX, 9) which, ae we have seen,


was one of the most common symbols found in
Jewish

from

art

V,

as

a deer to

The

23)

fulfill

as

an

be bold

should

and

eagle

fleet

as

the will of his Father in Heaven.

and

eagle

man

that

light

lion,

illus-

(Ethics of the

trated also the Rabbinic dictum

Fathers,

This

antiquity.

classical

deer

though

figure,

also

less

The two Tablets of Stone


bearing the Ten Commandments, in the shape
which had become conventional in the Middle
Ages (among the Christians perhaps earlier
is
found very frethan among the Jews)
commonly

138).

(fig.

(fig.

ancient

Temple

and

of

table

such

furniture,

shew-bread,

already

tradition

we

139). Sometimes, too,

quently

found

in

as

see other

the

altar

perpetuating

medieval

the

manuCase for Torah scroll, with finials. Silver,


140.
embossed and hammered. Nablus (Palestine),

scripts.

presented

gift

bear

by

representation

in the priestlv

of

hands

by members

in laving the priest's hands.

the

the

often

ex-Marrano

of that tribe

In Italv

communities)

(and

other

later

family

badges and armorial bearings were not unusual.

The whole would be commonlv surmounted by


a crown, symbolizing the traditional Crown of
the

Law: sometimes by

a triple crown, in refe-

rence to the Rabbinic dictum (Ethics of the Fathers,

IV,

17)

that there are three

that of the Torah, of

hood "and that

18th century

(Museum

joined

of

Hebrew Union

College,

Cincinnati)

benediction, of a Levite that of

the ewer and basin used

in

Cohen would

of a

crowns

Monarchy, and of

Good Name

Priest-

surpasses

them

upon two

when

staves.

is

impossible to determine

ornament of precious metal. Probably, however,


it

was

relatively late.

The Talmud (Baba Bathra

14a) speaks of the Pentateuch deposited by Moses


in the
this

Tabernacle as being on

imitated,
interiors

and

representations

in

and on Holv

(gold glasses, etc.)


is

silver rollers,

but

legendary model does not seem to have been

of

Scrolls

in

in

synagogue

various media

the classical period there

in

no trace of anything

The account

all."

It

the practice arose of covering this by an

in

the

way

the sack of the

of ornament.

Synagogue

of

Minorca in 438 speaks of the synagogical ornaments

and

silver,

without

giving

any further

II

details.

The ritual

art of the

svnagogue naturally cen-

tered on the Scroll of the Pentateuch or Sepher

Torah, used in the Biblical readings, and

wound

The same

is

true

of the

sacred appur-

tenances which Pope Gregory the Great ordered


to

be restored to the Svnagogue of Palermo

599.

in

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

315

316

pair of such cases in silver, with polygonal

site

opening on hinges and

sections

handles and

fluted

spirally

was executed

finials,

1766-7 b)

in

Gentile master craftsman for "Dr." Samuel de

Shem

Falk, the so-called Baal

The

practice

crowns of precious

placing

of

of London.

metal on the Sepher Torah

on such

at least

special occasions as the feast of the Rejoicing of

Law

the

seems also to have been established

Iraq as earlv as the tenth century (Shaare Se-

in

mahot,p. 117). TheFostat contract of 1186-7

among

"Two

other objects

lists

made

Sepfoer-Crowns

out of silver." This form of ornament was natural-

suggested by the Rabbinic dictum cited above

ly

which

dignity of learning as "the

refers to the

Crown

Law"

of the

a phrase inscribed innu-

merable times on such objects and others connected with the synagogue

These

ritual.

which became known generally

objects,

were

as atarah,

at

the outset especially associated with Southern Europe.

Aaron of Lunel

how

hig

make

Sepher haMan-

1203 he persuaded some community

in

which he

tells in his

visited, in

a silver

Southern France or Spain, to

crown (atarah)

rah instead of decorating

it

Sepher To-

for the

with miscellaneous

female adornments. The contract already referred

March

of

to

1439 between the Avignonese

12,

silversmith Robin Tissard


141.

and

Crown
cast,

Torah

tor

scroll.

Silver

parcel-guilt,

with semi-precious stones. Poland.


(Jewish Museum, New York).

18th

century.

Law

entirely in a case (tik)

which was

placed upright on the reading desk and opened

sum

of fifty florins, of an atarah for the

"scroll of the Jews,"

was

to

each corner the top

the general practice in Iraq and the neighboring

a fortress,

countries as early as the 10th century, and has

tion of masonry.

our

own daw These

cases

were

with

worked

and

engraved,

of gold. In the former metal, a

and
few

sometimes

fine

examples

are extant; none, however, which are anterior to

the seventeenth century


tik

(fig.

was commonly used only

munities, cases

times

also

well-to-do

in

were made

140).
in

Though

Eastern

for the scrolls

comsome-

Western countries, especially

householders,,

who wished

portable Torali-scrolls on their travels.

to

An

the

for

have
exqui-

super-

at

and the surface

lions'

to

to

be

six

towers

crenellated like

be engraved

in imita-

Chains and columns decorated

heads were also to be part of the

design.

The 1477

plied in metal, but were occasionally of silver,


finely

in shape,

be provided. There were

out for reading the prescribed portion. This was

usually of wood, frequently with inscriptions ap-

hexagonal

imposed on a copper drum with which Tissard

one

remained to

and the baylons of the

Jewish community of Aries was for manufacture,


for a total

communities, the Scroll of the

In Oriental

was enclosed

repousse

contract

at

manufacture of a crown

Avignon was

for

the

for the scroll of the law,

called "Hatarah," in accordance with a

model with

which the Gentile silversmith was

to

nished;

Hebrew

it

was

to

be adorned with

lettering. Unfortunately,

of so early a date

small,

be

fur-

and with

no such objects

have been preserved. Later on,

the Torah-crowns

be

reliefs

shaped

of

the Sephardim tended to

like

roval

coronets,

superimposed on top of the Torah-scroll.

closelv

RITUAL ART

317

Among

the Ashkenazim, in Eastern Europe par-

was

ticularly, there

and more from

to

fit

sometimes

rising

wooden

over the

and the keter torah

tops

lions,

griffins,

141).

It is

or

finials

the

or

Europe

rimmonim

(for

in

lying loosely around,

neighboring

and kept

other ornaments. Occasionally

provided,

(ob-

churches)

in place

by the

surmounting each

stave

of

the

further

placed above these two, symbolizing the

is

proverbial

Crowns

of Kingship,

Priesthood and

More

usual in Europe than the Torah-crown


of finials.

The

wooden

form

original

many seems to have been


later made removable so that
over the

Some Oriental

a
it

silver

in

Ger-

plating,

could be placed

staves: an account of the Rhine-

preserve this type almost

finials still

unchanged, while

in others

and those who followed

it

may be

discerned

rimmonim (now

however

historians of

the Sephardim

form

drastically their

was subsequently modified.

We

how

have seen above

the

architectural

form was adopted for the Torah-crown

in Pro-

vence as early as the 15th century. Already


period

it

was

Torah-finials. It

the

of

of

at this

also applied very effectively to the

used, in fact, in the oldest ex-

is

these

objects

fourteenth

or

the Treasury of the

known

to

be extant,

century,

fifteenth

now

Cathedral of Palma

in

(Ma-

According to an inscription, they be-

jorca)."

longed originally to the Jewish

Camarata

in

Sicilv,

sion of 1492.

They

community

where we know

synagogue was pillaged

Rabbi Meir of Ro-

among

Jewish art) became usual

land massacres of 1096 speaks of the pillaging of

was around the winding-staves."

by

generally used

for these objects,

term

his phraseology, the

"the silver which

Similarly, in the 13th century,

Maimonides,

under an incrustation of ornament. Moreover, per-

amples

Learning.

was the use

have been

to

(cf.

cal reminiscence (cf. Ex: 28:34, Jer. 52:22, etc.).

two crowns were

while in one superb example a

scroll,

crown

one

an early date

at

haps owing to the great authority of Maimonides


finials

viously modelled sometimes on the crowns of the

common

modelled on the pomegranate seems

Hilkhot Sepher Torah, X. iv), possibly as a Bibli-

were used together, the cylindrical keter

Madonna

more elaborate form

and

synagogues, crown and

Italian

considered to him as a special glory." In the

Orient, however, a slightly

deer, etc.,

which see below) on ordinary Sabbaths.


In

this

should have

atarah...

introduced

said that in Eastern

simpler

the

festivals,

Sepher Torah or remove the

of the

tier,

former practice was to use the crown on

the

tappuhim

that "whosoever shall steal the

above

by an eagle

the whole sometimes surmounted


(fig.

stave-

great weight

of very

fantastically in tier

each supported bv

dove

more

it

regal prototype, interior hol-

its

made

ders being

a tendency to divorce

318

just

that

of

the

before the expul-

are fashioned architecturally

the form of square towers, with pointed tur-

in

thenburg (Responsa, ed. Prague, 879) referred to

rets

and twin mauresque embrasures on each

"plating of gold" on the Torah-staves. This pre-

side.

At each corner, both above and below the

sumably explains why

to the present

Etz Hayyim or "Tree of Life"

(cf.

day the term

Prov.

III.

18)

is

turrets,

hang small

bells.

These were

feature of the Torah finials

to

become

(as well as crowns)

applied by the Ashkenazi Jews both to the staves

everywhere, inspiring the

and

rally given to these objects in the English-speak-

to their

metal ornaments. Ultimately, these

became somewhat more elaborate and


course removable.

We

bulbous Torah-finials quite clearly


both extremities of the staves

at

e.g., in

generally
(cf.

some me-

in

the

form

of

apples,

joy of the

in his satire

("bells")

gene-

Their music symbolizes both the

Torah and the

to the Bible

bells

which according

(Exodus XXVIII, 35-5) were

to

be

attached to the robe of the High Priest.

The

interiors,

Spain these ornaments were

in

ing countries.

architectural

designs based on
to

it,

form of the rimmonim, or


later

became

so

be characteristic of the type used

common
in

as

Northern

(tappuhim)
The extreme

Tur: Hilkhot Sepher Torah, 282). Solomon

Bonfed
(c.

in

Vatican MS. Heb. 324 (14th century).

seems that

It

due

apparently

showing synagogue

dieval manuscripts

in

can see representations of

name

on the notables of Saragossa,

1400), sneeringly alleges that they had agreed

rarity

of older specimens of these and

may be due in part to


order of the Castilian cortes of 1480, forbidding the
Jews to place silver or gold on their Totalis.

similar objects of Jewish ritual art

the

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE ACES TO THE EMANCIPATION

319

320

m^ktrT*

H2.
of

and Western

the

Europe.

for

Finials

Jewish

Torah

Historical

Different

scroll.

Thus the

Italian tvpe of the 17th

of

and

countries,

even different towns, developed their own


tion.

Silver.

Society

tradi-

and 18th

centuries took the form of a three-tiered steeple,

Venice.

18th century.

England.

University

hung on long chains below the


head-piece

(fig.

pierced

which supported

of

shew-bread,

menorah,

etc.);

in

142).

decoration,

inscription.

of

level

A common

model was a bulbous shape of

ing the conventional symbols of the Jewish cult


table

were usually

these, as in Italv generally, the bells

with scrolled buttresses and balustrades enclos-

(altar,

(Tuck Collection
London).

College,

Nuernberg

silver gilt,

topped by a

lion

cartouche for a

the

with a

rampant

dedicatory

RITUAL ART

321

The tvpe which prevailed

322

Hol-

in

land after the settlement of the Jews


there in the beginning of the seven-

was

teenth centurv

form of a

in the

baroque turret obviouslv inspired by


the local church steeples: sometimes

many

with as

ed by a crown

143). This form

(fig.

was subsequently taken


and

be found

to

is

London synagogical
eighteenth

the

surmount-

as four tiers,

England

to

the earliest

in

Early

silver.

centurv

the

in

turret

form changed here into a composi-

pierced with

three)

and

tions,

knobs

bulbous

of

tion

(generally

composi-

floral

form composed

later into a

open bowl with a bracketed

of an

canopy. In the middle of the century


the

form

turret

followed by urn-shaped
neo-Classical
in the

of

be

finials in

the

and culminating

style,

Regency period with

individual

the

of

reaction

number

compositions of dimi-

nishing crowns,
vival

to

reappears,

and a

obelisks,

open-bowl form.
the

against

re-

This

architectural

form found expression independently


in

rimmonim

the

produced

about

1750-1770 by Myer Myers, the

American Jewish silversmith of

first

colo-

nial times.

Some

commun-

povertv-stricken

143.
ities,

unable to afford precious metal,

made

their

materials

cade, the

objects

ritual

of

the Torah-crowns

of painted

folk-art thus

emerged.

for the

another adornment

Sepher Torah became popular

communities beginning

Many

scrolls

were kept

in

Ashkena-

in the sixteenth centurv.

in

the Torah-shrine, of

which sometimes one, sometimes two, sometimes


three

were used

in

the prescribed readings. In

order to avoid confusion,

hang around the


highly

ornamental

scroll

it

became customary

to

what was ultimately a

plaque

Silver.

Dutch,

18th century

Museum. Amsterdam).

for the prescribed reading to

adjusted

containing

an

inter-

changeable panel which indicated the occasion

("New Moon,"

144),

(in English

which the

"Passover,"

and so on). This was known


(fig.

finials,

scroll.

other

rimmonim more frequentlv

In addition to the

Torah

(Jewish Historical

sometimes of bro-

wood. Some interesting examples of

zi

Finials for

text

was

"Hanukkah"

as the tas ("plate")

generally and

somewhat

unfortunately rendered as the "breast-plate"). In

due course, the container became more and more


elaborate, the inscribed panels less

and

less

con-

spicuous, until in the end thev disappeared entirelv.

Now,

the ornamental "breast-plate" alone re-

mained, without any functional

sometimes

Europe

attained

justification.

great splendor

of the eighteenth century.

in

These

Central

A common tvpe,

apparently originating in Breslau, embodied the


figures of

Moses and Aaron, supporting the Ten

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

323

324

iiiiisii
*v

Breastplate for Torah scroll, with indicator-plaque. Silver, parcel-gilt.


Vugsburg, 18th century. Master: Markus (Matthews) Wolff. (Jewish Museum,

1-44.

New

Commandments on
(see

fig.

the

indicator-panel

central

139). Often, in imitation of the priestly

breast-plate, the central decoration

High

Priest's

reproduced the

hoshen (Exodus XXVIII, 15-21),

se-

mi-precious stones representing the Twelve Tribes.


Finally, so as to obviate the touching

possible obliteration of the sacred text

York).

Owing

to the small bulk of the pointer,

sometimes possible to devote

to

its

it

was

manufacture

special pains

and indeed expense, and

possible

to

describe

assumed

(fig.

it is

hardly

innumerable forms

the

it

145).

and the

by the hand,
Ill

the Sepher Torah was provided with a pointer.


In most countries, however, the form ultimatelv

developed of a rod terminating

and

outstretched

forefinger

whatever

form, termed

too,

its

was made

in

hand with

was accordingly,

it

ijad.

Generally, this,

of silver, or even gold, sometimes

with precious stones

(e.g., in

a miniature ring).

The use

of decorative textile material for wrap-

ping the Holy Books

is

attested

already in the Talmudic period

by

literary sources

(cf.

Sabbath 133b,

Kelim XXVIII, 4). Evidence of the use of frag-

ments goes back possibly

Hasmoneans, as indicated

to

the period of the

in the earliest

Dead Sea

RITUAL ART

325
*' -v-

145.

^ '*-'

i i:

Torah

Pointers of

Scrolls in 1947. It was,

scroll, Italy,

however, only

--; "i

Germany,

in the

Middle

Ages that brocades were specially prepared


these purposes.

persecutions in

that the wrappings

Memorbuch

were

add the

The

pillaged.

but from the context

the reference

We

is

to

congre-

is

possible that

warm garments

for the poor.

it

however, from the customs of Rabbi

learn,

Meir of Rothenburg that


for a

earliest

who among

(12th century?)

other things left three "cloaks" to the


gation;

detail

Nuernberg records the genero-

woman

of a

sity

of

for

The accounts of the Rhineland


1096, when they speak of the

desecration of the Siphre Torah,

in his

day

it

was usual

bridegroom to vow a wrapping (mappah)

for the Scroll of the

marriage.

Law

on the occasion of

From approximatelv

this

period

etc.,

18th century. (Feinberg Collection, Detroit).

century,

However

that

may

made

for his domestic

synagogue a cur-

Law, both decorated with

his crest, at a cost of

hundred ducats.

five
It

scroll of the

was on the curtain

for the Torah-shrine

the most prominent feature in the synagogue


that the greatest attention

the case especially

among

was

lavished. This

where

we have

seen

antiquity the

movable ark was secluded

end

synagogue behind long

whether

was

the Ashkenazim: con-

practice,

be, at least from the close

ceivably a remote echo of the ancient Palestinian

his

Middle Ages, brocades constituted no small

or unimportant part of Jewish ritual art,

in the early 16th

living in

tain for the ark and a mantle for the

This

of the

Padua

German' banker

the

for the glorv of the Torah.

so

in

many Jewish communities. We are told, for example, how Naphtali Herz Wertheim, a wealthy

women who made

wraps

or of the

expert embroiderers who were common

east

cloaks or

women

they were the work of pious

formulas for benediction in the Italian synagogues


called for blessings on those

326

of the

feature

sanctuarv
wilderness
parokhet.

as

was

curtain

(Exodus

The

generallv
of

the

XXVI.,

classical

in

known,

curtains.
after

tabernacle
31,

at the

etc.)

the

in

the

as

the

materials used were of the finest:

an examination of those manufactured

in

Moravia

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

327

32S

**.~"

Valance of ark-curtain: red velvet, with applique embroidery. Prague, 1764.


(Jewish Museum, New York).

146.

and now preserved

Prague Jewish

in the

Museum

This valance was sometimes

known as
XXV,

has revealed fabrics dating back as far as the 14th

or "mercy-seat" (see Exodus,

century and including specimens of the Italian

other reason but that the term

Renaissance, Spanish Baroque and French Rococo.

in

Obviously, these were not necessarily of Jewish

khet.

manufacture and displayed


Jewish

motifs,

by the

lavish

Hebrew

lettering, either

Apposite

the

use

Biblical

in

specific

patterns no

provided

quality

superbly

the

of

their

decorative

embroidered or applied.

verses

were incorporated,

or

lengthy inscriptions commemorating the generoof the donors.

sity

To

these votive decorations

were often added conventional svmbols, such

as

and

the

In

ark-curtain

by

enclosing

or

the

of

light

for

e.g.,

special

New

for

special

there

occasions

circumcision ceremonv or for the

the

Sabbaths throughout the year.

On

the

Dav of Atonement it was usual,


among the Ashkenazim, for the curtain

Year and

especially
(as

Sometimes,

religion.

well

as

the other svnagogical brocades)

be white and

to

to

be embroidered with penitential

very

name

Elkanah

is

In due course, a stereotvped pattern emerged,


in

Central Europe especially, for the Torah cur-

tains.

the

Over the top was

valance

(fig.

146)

containing representations in heavy gold thread


of the traditional

Temple appurtenances

menorah, table of shew-bread,

altar,

and

the

so on.

(fig.

two

of

18th

the

of

(Elkone) of Naumberg, whose

be found on some memorable work

to

and Jakob Kopel Gans,

There are
for

work

the

in

artist-embroiderers

gifted

century

inscription

of these objects reached

high pitch of perfection

of

Hochstadt

from 1726 onward.

also extant

Torah-scroll

some impressive mantles

made, sometimes en

suite

by these same craftsmen. Among the Sephardim


be simp-

and

Italians, these objects, too,

ler,

reiving for their aesthetic values mainly on

tended

to

the exquisiteness of the materials, though some-

times embodying a brief inscription.

Among

the

Ashkenazim, on the other hand, they were far

more

texts.

most prominent

itself,

dedicatory

The manufacture

147).
a

in Bavaria, active

were special curtains

found

were the two twisted columns

characteristic

Crown
lizing

so often

is

no

framing the central panel, generally surmounted

of 1713-24,

Lamp symbo-

for

17)

the Pentateuch in conjunction with the paro-

the twisted columns, or the Lion of Judah, or the


of Torah, or the Perpetual

the kaporet

ornate, being encrusted with lettering

svmbolism,
stones.

made

and

Some
in

sometimes

communities.
in

gold

were

in the early years of the eigh-

teenth century for both the

orphrevs

semi-precious

of the finest examples extant

England

Ashkenazi

with

and

and

Sephardi and the

These
silver

have

thread,

elaborate

sometimes

RITUAL ART

329

Ark

147.

much

raised

stump-work,

in

curtain,

with symbols of

made by Leah

with

silk

the

manner

of

festivals

within

what

is

termed

which comprise the usual Jewish

plastic

its

shrine), the

model.

Some

outcome resembling
Central

Needlework

Ottolenghi. N. Italy, 1699. (Jewish

cult-symbols (including even a miniature Torahscroll

etc.

330

European

on

canvas,

Museum.

seldom had a

tions,

embroidered
York).

New

specific design or decoration.

Before the mantle was placed on the Sepher


Torah, the scroll was fastened together with a

long

strip

of

material,

or

"binder"

(mappah)

which, being lighter and simpler, was generally

mantles bear the ever-popular figures of Moses

of domestic manufacture.

and Aaron. The cover

embroidered with verses or the name of the pious

received

much

for the reading-desk also

attention, but save for the inscrip-

donor:

in

the

New

These were

York Jewish

also often

Museum

is

one

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

331

332

word "marriage-canopy" (huppah) was


sentation

and

a repre-

wedding ceremony, with bride

of

bridegroom

under

standing

canopv

the

Manx

before the rabbi, a wine-cup in his hand.

hundreds of such Wimpeln were formerly preserved by some

German communities such

Worms.

they

of

degree of

Occasionally,

attained

as that

high

artistic merit.

IV
Besides the fine specimens of craftsmanship in
precious metal intended for use in the synagogue,
especially in relation to the Torah-scroll, Jewish

demanded the use

ritual

of a large variety of

objects in connection with the

We may

home

ceremonials.

take as an example the hanging Sab-

bath lamp, which in Germany, and other Euro-

pean countries developed a

We may

form.

the

trace

specific

star-shaped

development of

this

type in the domestic scenes depicted in various

Middle Ages. The

illuminated haggadot of the

one traceable, going back to the fourteenth

earliest

century, has six points. Another very old specimen


is

in the

Cathedral Treasury at Erfurt, but though

the shaft probably dates back to the 11th century,


Sabbath lamp, silver. London. 1730.
Master: Abraham Lopes d'Oliveira. (Jewish
148.

much

Museum, London).

as

Italian

was only

cords,

needle-work,

six

these

Jewish

girl

who, as she

re-

years old. As specimens of

sometimes

are

exquisite

of

Germany, an

interesting tradition developed.

Here the piece of linen used on the occasion


a boy's circumcision

mother

into

the synagogue on his

typed formula

in

for

the

termed

scroll,

in

the child presented to

first visit.

This bore a stereo-

bold characters, usually

large,

embroidered, later sometimes painted:


,

of

was cut up and made by the

a binder

German "Wimpel," which

of

born of good on

Mav

"

son

....

the Almightv

permit him to grow up to the study of the Law,


the marriage-canopy and good deeds."

tomary

to

at

It

was

cus-

decorate the inscription with various

conventional
birth

in the official

from the early sixteenth century onwards.

on

Later

was termed

it

the

Sephardim

of

Northern

(Amsterdam and London) developed

quality.

In

registered as having manufac-

is

tured a Judenstern (as


register)

s\-mbols;

thus

above the date

was the corresponding sign

of

of the zodiac,

the end, after or above the mention of the

variant form, with a deep

Some superb specimens


ver:

some

of the

own

their

bowl and blunt

spouts.

are extant of both of these

of

18th

the

sil-

work by the London Sephardi

Abraham

silversmith,

part

Europe

Sephardi and Ashkenazi, executed in

types,

as

500 years younger. More than one Frank-

furt silversmith

made bv an

may be

(with twelve spouts)

the oil vessel

d'Oliveira

century

(fig.

in

the

148).

early

the

In

seventeenth and eighteenth centuries a number


of Ashkenazi

impressive
figures

Sabbath lamps of very

which

design,

representing

the

made in
and Western Germany
vances, were

In

due course,

was displaced

in

various

Alsace
(

intricate

sometimes

and

embodied

Jewish

obser-

(Metz, Forbach)

Frankfurt

am Main

the traditional Sabbath

lamp

most of Europe by candles.

Occasionally, candlesticks with symbolic designs

RITUAL ART

333

Kiddush beakers,

149.

were

specifically

manufactured

silver,

for

Central Europe, 18th century. (Feinberg Collection, Detroit).

Jewish use,

this was not very usual.


The Sabbath, ushered in by the kindling

of the

England

shaped

Germany,

Biblical

verses,

specific hexagonal-

engraved with appropriate

silver goblets,

were

manufactured

great

in

profusion in the 17th and 18th centuries in Augs-

burg and elsewhere


cial

goblets,

sensations,

(fig.

149). Sometimes, spe-

bearing apparently svmbolic repre-

were made

for the individual festivals,

in particular the Passover, or for

cumcision

made
and

ceremony.

Special

"Cup

to serve as the

as the ceremonial

were

cup

the

in

one

and the

One such beaker

the Cathedral Treasury of Trent

is

in

(North Italy)

the property seized from the local Jews at

the time of the ritual

when

form of
into

fitting

another, the one being for ordinary use

among

also

for the circumcision.

hooped beakers

other the ceremonial cup.

cir-

of Elijah" for the Seder,

These were sometimes shaped


barrel-shaped

use in the

goblets

it

is

said to

murder accusation

have been used

of 1475.

in the tragic

Passover celebration. Of course, the kiddash cup


could

be

made

cious metal.

of

materials

Thus one

of

other

engraved

than

glass,

presented

to

Solomon

pre-

appro-

in 1802.

As the Sabbath began, so

lamp, was subsequently "sanctified" over a brimof wine. In

was

inscribed,

priately

Hirschell on his appointment as Chief Rabbi of

'hough

ming cup

334

it

ended with a

pic-

turesque ceremony over the wine, to the light of

and

a taper

to the

accompaniment of aromatic

herbs, symbolizing the sweetness of the

had ended. Spices are now used


in

Western

when

in

for this

purpose

the Middle Ages,

these were intolerably expensive, a sprig

myrtle

of

but

countries,

day that

(in

Hebrew hadas)

aromatic herb was used, as

and the

Italy

Orient.

This

is

or

some other

still

the case in

was

replaced

by

dried leaves, which would naturally be kept in a


container.

Thus we see the term hadas generally

applied even

now

in

many

parts of

Europe

to the

"spice-box" used on Saturday night in the cere-

mony

of havdalah or "separation."

ben Isaac of Regensburg


have objected
insisting

mitzvah;

that

to

(d.

Rabbi Ephraim

1175)

is

recorded to

the use of drv myrtle leaves,

only

spices

were proper

he had a special

glass

for

the

container

for

them. More often, however, these were

made

of

metal, especially silver.

One
are

of the earliest literary references to these

probably

those

in

the

15th-century

ritual

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

335

336

property of the Messianic dreamer, David

Reubeni

we

1530),

(c.

silver

havdalahs

musk

to

smell;"

read of the "two

was

of silver, wherein

all

we

are not told of their

form.

Germany, towards the end

In

the

of

Middle Ages, an innovation was introduced

making the spice-container

of

the form

in

A number

of a tower or steeple.

of refe-

rences to the manufacture of the "hedes"

"hedisch" are contained in the order-

or

book

the Frankfurt silversmiths'

of

this

was

work

that

from 1532 onwards. In one case

accompanied by

a sketch of the

guild

had been commissioned from Master Heinrich Heidelberger:

it

was

made

object should be

specified that the

similar to the one

which had been owned bv the father

who

the person

ordered

back the history of


generation at

came

original inspiration

possibly from the Christian monstran-

ces in

which the Host was exhibited and

which often bore a

On

thus throwing

type for another

this

The

least.

it,

similar architectural form.

one occasion, indeed, in 1550, one of the

Frankfurt silversmiths contracted to


a

of

Monstranz" and

"Juden
imagine

to

what

it

could

else

is

make

difficult

been

have

intended.

This tower-form became immensely popular. Occasionally,


local

it

was imitated from a

tower building; often,

it

would be a

surmounted by a

veritable church-steeple,

pennant and even furnished with a clockface on


of the
150.

Spice containers, silver filigree,

Europe,

17th

18th

centuries.

Central

etc.

Bezalel

Museum,

which the hour

Sabbath could be indicated. There

and Eastern
is

Jerusalem.

extant one such spice container

Frankfurt

compendium Leket Yosher,


of

Rabbi

Israel Isserlein, of

relating

whom

counts, "I recall that his hadas


in

which

presumably
served
for the

in

had

he
in

form,

floral

was made

The

usages

his pupil re-

of silver

original

type,

been

pre-

has

very large numbers of spice-containers

made in Central and


our own day. They are

havdalah ceremony

Eastern Europe

shaped

spices."

the

down

to

like flowers or fruit,

ate clusters

(fig,

150).

sometimes

of the conclusion

in elabor-

In the inventory of the

though
a

am Main

(c.

1550)

was restored and somewhat

it

hundred years

later.

The

made

at

151),

(fig.

altered

material used

was

generally silver, sometimes engraved to resemble

masonry;
filigree

later on, especially in

was used
example,
it

coarser and coarser as time


for

tower lent

Eastern Europe,

the purpose

itself

human

representing

to

(see

150).

further embellishments:

figures could

the

fig.

went on

various

prepared to begin their work

The
for

be placed around
synagogue

officials

the rabbi with

Ceremonial Objects, collection


Torah
in

Scroll, Persia,

background

at the Bezalel National

Museum, Jerusalem:

1799; Silver Breastplate, Poland; Torah Crown, Poland;


Torah wrapper and mantle, silver embroidery, Italy

RITUAL ART

331

sermon, the shohet with his knife, the hazan

his

holding a beaker of wine, and so on. While the

German

the form of a

spice-boxes are usually in

tower with a central spire surrounded by four


corner-spires,

those from

Bohemia often

bulbous

bell-towers

of

the

imitate

Baroque

the

rural

churches in that country.

was

taper-holder,

thus combining the two adjuncts of the havdalah

Western Germany

in

in

also associated with the

obviously deriving in some in-

stances from local buildings; in one case, for ex-

ample, there

is

Church

of the

a distinct similarity to the facade


of "II Redentore" in Venice.

arms of noble patrons

of

sixteenth-century

Hanukkah lamps

contained in a drawer under the taper, which

their distinctive hats

senting the synagogue

home, perhaps

the most important object,

was the eighth

ninth)

light

oil

are

adorned

ratively

on either

whose cords descend deco-

The Baroque style of the


Hanukkah lamp merged into

side.

the Rococo, which continued to prevail generallv

the spice-con-

after

(or with the master-light,

Hanukkah

the

for

festival,

celebrating the victory of the Maccabees. Later,

grew up of making these objects

the practice
metal;
of

only

metal

in

in

example recorded that Rabbi Meir

for

it is

Rothenburg would

light the

(not

Hanukkah

lamp

clay)

lights

(Tur Orah

Hayim 673).
The type

of

generally of a
wall,

lamp that now developed consisted


back-plate, to

flat

with the eight

not yet in use)

hang against the


(candles were

burners

oil

affixed

below

it

at right angles;

was

the master-light (called shamrnash or beadle)

generally

appended

dle or on the left

at the top, either in the

hand

side. It

back that the maker's

of the

specimen extant

oldest

is

of arches

"rose

and a

window"

is

The

centered.

of a Gothic type, be-

lieved to be of the fourteenth century

here the back-piece

mid-

was on the design


art

(fig.

152):

pierced with a colonnade

circular design almost like the

of

was followed widely

Gothic church.

This type

at the close of the

Middle

Ages.
In sixteenth-century Italy,

tention

began

would be

to

be paid

cast in

more and more

to the back-piece,

at-

which

copper or bronze or brass, and

decorated with cherubs, tritons, cornucopiae, urns,


masks, and so on in the fullest Renaissance

Not infrequently, they embody

style.

Biblical or apo-

cryphal scenes such as the annunciation of the


birth

of

Isaac,

Holophernes

or Judith

carrying the head of

an episode which

in

Jewish folk-

on

Catholic Church, over which putti hold

16th-century Italian

officials.

In the ritual art of the Jewish

tainer,

figures repre-

figure

with the armorial bearings of cardinals of the Holy

Roman

was sometimes supported by

also

The

occasion: thus, an entire series of splendid bronze

the eighteenth century: in this, the spices were

also

Hanukkah period

153). Occasionally, the back has an archi-

(fig.

tectural pattern,

coats

cum

Another form, of spice-box

ceremony, was evolved

lore

338

container for Havdalah ceremony.


engraved, cut-out and cast. Frankfurt am
Main, about 1550. restored 1651. (Jewish Museum,
151.

Spice

Silver,

New

York).

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

339

Hanukkah lamp,

152.

cast bronze,

14th century.

there until the end of the

with arm for master light.


(Roth Collection, Oxford).

ghetto period, with

some notable exceptions.

French or

Italian,

Wrought-brass lamps, with two master-lights (for


use on Sabbath eve), emerged in the 18th cen-

In Holland, the tradition developed of a


brass back-piece, in

S.

340

flat

which decorations or symbols

tury in Poland.

Candelabrum types seem

been manufactured originally only

few examples preserved

synagogue

for

were engraved or embossed. In the seventeenth

use, a

and eighteenth centuries

back as the Renaissance period. In the

into silver

and

this tradition, translated

by the eminent craftsmen

later in

London, was

to

mely noteworthy examples.

was a great multiplicity


complicated, but

was

cially there

of the

mon
new
scale

human

it

Amsterdam

in

produce some

extre-

Germany

there

In

of styles,

some highly

noteworthy that here

is

figure, as for

example

in the

scenes of Judith and Holphernes.

type of standing

began

to

espe-.

objection to representations

little

Hanukkah lamp on a

be produced

com-

rations, these

well

both

as

menorah and
the

began

to

from as far
last

gene-

be made for the home as

vague reminiscences of the Temple

for the utilitarian

room with

for us

have

to

candles.

The

nukkah lamp remains one

purpose of lighting

lighting of the

of the

Ha-

most popular

Jewish domestic observances, and very large numbers of

delicate

merit,

smaller

Israel.

new

types,

some

of considerable artistic

continue to be produced,

especially

in

in the course of the

eighteenth century in great numbers, with small


variations, at Frankfurt,
in

Augsburg and elsewhere

Germany. Some splendid examples, many

of

were made

in

them imitating these


Northern

Europe

of

of

silver,

pewter

at

this

period.

A further

opportunity for Jewish ritual art was

given bv the domestic "Seder" service on Passover


eve,

which included

number

of svmbolic food

RITUAL ART

341

342

prophets and kings

(Moses, Aaron,

David, Solomon). The cavetto

is

in-

scribed with the text of one of the

prayers in the ritual (Kiddush or Ha-

lahma)

some

in

cases supplemented

or even substituted

by the

traditional

catchwords giving the order of the

The manufacturer

service.

signed

the

adding

his distictive

these

centurv,

imitated

made

plates

on

the

reverse,

mark. In the

last

were exactly

plates

embossed

in

generally

silver

dishes

Germany.

in

In Northern Europe, great use was

made

Seder plates

of

in

engraved

pewter, often bearing representations


of the Seder scene or features of the

haggadah, with the catchwords of the

and

service

The

personal

inscriptions.

oldest of these are of the middle

of the

16th century, but the

specimens

date

Pewter was

made

to

also

carry

from

finest

later

era.

used for Purim plates


the traditional

gifts,

or circumcisional plates usually bear153.

preparations.

some

Hanukkah lamp,

bronze. Italy, about 1600.


(Formerly Howitt Collection, London),

These had

sort of container,

to

and

be placed

in Italy

it

be-

manufacture

special

Several

to

sil-

in

majolica holders for the purpose.

customary

Isaac: the latter are extant also in

towards

the close of the Renaissance period

came

ing a representation of the sacrifice of

makers of these platters and similar dishes


are recorded, mainly belonging to the families of
cially in

early

Cohen and

Azulai, working espe-

Pesaro and Ancona in the 17th and

18th centuries.
of the

The Passover

same type

dishes

154). They

are

all

are

approximately 17 inches in diameter,

(fig.

with a wide flange border, relief-decorated

with a

floral

design in color. Within this

are four large oval cartouches, those at the

top and bottom enclosing Biblical or festal


scenes, those at the side with floral or architectural

decorations.

These were probably

intended for the bitter herbs and other ritual


commodities. The larger cartouches are

di-

vided by smaller panels with figures of the

154.

Cohen
Museum, New York).

Passover dish, majolica, by Isaac

(Jewish

I,

Pesaro, 1614.

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

343

344

ver, mostly

however, nineteenth century archaistic

versions. In

Germanv,

at the

end

of the eighteenth

century, ingenious three-tiered Seder dishes were

made

of

unleavened

made

for the inci-

to contain the three cakes

bread, special containers being

dental commodities. For the haroseth (a mixture

chopped apple and

of

which the

tar

made

often

in

one of the

figure to represent

various countries for

Purim

for

havdalah

the

Egvpt) there was

slaves used in

bondsmen. Porcelain dishes were pro-

Israelite

poses

mor-

a miniature wheelbarrow, sometimes

pushed by a human

duced

nuts, symbolic of the

(fig.

many

155), for

ceremony,

other pur-

weddings, for

sometimes

or

with

purely ornamental and complimentary object.


In addition to the kiddush-cups for the domes155.

Purim

platter,

showing triumph of Mor


(Cluny

decai. Porcelain. Strassburg, 18th century.

Museum,

(including the Passover) ritual, wine beakers

tic

were

sometimes

manufactured

Germany,

in

Paris).

especially for the use of congregational fraterniat their

annual banquets or for similar pur-

poses; these

were sometimes covered with medal-

ties

on which were inscribed the names and

lions

wardens

family

badges

of

surers.

Among

the most characteristic of these

successive

or

trea-

were the beakers or jugs used by the burial


societies

for

banquet

annual

their

These were made sometimes of

156).

(fig.

glass or porcelain,

and were not infrequently decorated with scenes


showing the members engaged
(fig

in their

on porcelain

which might be

jugs, the lids of

mounted bv some

detail

pious work

were depicted

157). Sometimes, similar scenes

sur-

of the burial-scene in

silver.

Of

great importance in Jewish ritual art in the

medieval

and post-medieval periods were the

betrothal rings

(fig.

158). These were sometimes

of great magnificence,

and

it

is

said that they

were the property of the Jewish communities,


being "given" to the bridegroom in order to per-

form the ceremony, and were afterwards returned


to the

synagogue treasurv. Their form was com-

pletely characteristic,

Jewish, even

if

and they are recognizablv

they do not bear any inscription.

They may be divided roughly

silver,

Beaker of Burial Society of Worms, 1712,


chased. Master: Johann Conrad Weiss.
(Jewish Museum, New York).

two

the one, the

band (which

wide)

and decorated, sometimes

is flat,

with words of good


156.

into

in

in either case

omen (mazal

some exceptional but very

representations

types. In

in

tov,

is

very

enamel,
etc.)

fine instances

or

with

such as the High Priest Aaron,

RITUAL ART

345

346

ing back, revealed the words mazal tov, or some-

times the names of bride and bridegroom. In the

Renaissance

period and throughout

seven-

the

teenth century, these rings, with their superb gold


filigree

decorated with

enamel, sometimes

finest

attained great magnificence. In the seventeenth-

eighteenth centuries, silver rings of a somewhat


similar

design, but sometimes far

cated in construction, were used


rope.

the

more compli-

in

Central Eu-

These very often bear representations of


Sabbath

accompanied

candlesticks

appropriate benediction;

worn by the brides

it

is

said that they

were

when

they

years

later

in

by the

kindled the Sabbath light on Friday evenings.

VI

The foregoing pages have by no means

exhaus-

ted the categories of ritual art on which the Jews


in

bvgone days lavished

their

devotion.

There

were large numbers of other objects connected


Beaker of Burial Society of Prague, 1712,
Enamelled glass. (Bezalel Museum, Jerusalem).
157.

with the various observances which would


ceive loving treatment, though the tradition

the

or

band

is

not perhaps so constant as in the instances which

Sometimes, the

have been described above. In medieval Spain,

highly decorated in filigree with raised

according to literary sources (Rosh, V.ii) special

else

peace-maker between

the story of Eve.

bosses or rosettes.
teristic,

On

the finest and most charac-

however, there

is

superimposed a minia-

ture building, presumably intended to represent

the

Temple

in

Jerusalem,

so

as

with the Psalmist's injunction (Psalm


to "set

of the

was

man and

traditional

wife,

re-

Jerusalem above

my

chiefest

to

comply

CXXXVII, 6
joy." The roof

"Temple" was sometimes hinged and, swing-

158.

Betrothal

rings, gold

and enamel.

(Jewish

carpets

were made

walls, in the

Moslem

to

hang on the synagogue

fashion.

One specimen

dat-

ing to the fourteenth century which bears stylized


representations of the Torah-shrine, has been preserved.

The handle

for the circumcisional knife

(and sometimes the blade as well) would be ador-

ned with a circumcisional scene,

Italy

(probably Venice),

Museum, London).

17th century.

or a representa-

'

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

347

*fl*fc

'.

348

****'*

./aM&--

mm
"\3?

~^ca "wprw ctnto nj^rnnx? n^ tmrnjn

al"%n \"a

tro m jrom cam T#fjfiPHffljirttf

,l

itjk? D'Hso

a*w znf

,t

gd.i )p grtirTy *ntg{

w>c p'jpjn rwrro rmpfn "f^TOin/wo

Sr1 "Cn3

""zy

159.

NoS VT'

^tr ft*!"

p tj stj*^ *p* 2'3y^

N*!"'

"'t

'o.", ^a^*"'

Scroll of Esther in silver case,

Germany.

7th

embossed with vignettes showing scenes from the


(Jewish Museum, London).

century.

Most synagogues had

special "Chairs of Elijah" for use during the cere-

seat on

rfcTDTW O

-'

tion of the sacrifice of Isaac.

mony

story.

3 ? -is^s* TO^njrl yfcg ii^g rsry rcto ?


b"0^^0Nr 3T^3^3TOyaeTfln3^1 nNj
&VtVty& KP31 Tf NTU3W KTlbXJKrnK?tl|
on ve'vx >n^7 bt^n i'tw i!snsrrnfew\J

foj

',!-

double among the Ashkenazim

(one

which the infant was placed, the other

Occasionally, a householder might commission a

miniature ark, perhaps of


tic

Torah-scroll.

illuminated, as

The

we

silver, to

hold his domes-

Scroll of Esther
shall

was not only

see later, but

was

also

reserved for the invisible Prophet), single in Italy

often placed in an ornate cylindrical container of

and elsewhere. The cushion

precious metal, which might carry on the decora-

for this chair

was

also

sometimes splendidly embroidered. Special ewers

tive

and basins were provided,

work scenes

for

the

priests before thev blessed the people.

use

of

the

motifs of the

Ashkenazim

scroll

in the storv
in

or
(fig.

depict in repousse

159).

Among

the

Central and Eastern Europe, the

RITUAL ART

349

Bookbindings,

160.

silver.

Holland,

Italy,

etc.,

Collection,

hammer with which


knocked on the

the beadle or Schulklopfer

when he aroused

street-doors,

the faithful for early-morning worship,

was some-

made and finely carved with Hebrew inscriptions. The bread on Sabbath eve would

times specially

have

cover, a specialtv of the

its

household, bearing

Hebrew

women

and sym-

inscriptions

The shophar (horn) sounded on

bols.

of the

the

New

350

18th

17th

surmounted by a knight's helm. In the East, on the


other hand, the amulet

on

engraved

finely

silver at great length: the so-called

The

avzam (arm)

gift

bridal couple often received as a

a prayer-book in

(fig.

an ornamental

wedding

silver

binding

160), sometimes (especially in Italy) bearing

a representation of a Biblical scene relating to his

name, or the coat of arms of the two

or her

sometimes was

families.

etched with Biblical texts

was often

amulets of Persia are especially common.

Year Feast was normally impressive plain, but


finely

(Formerly Howitt

centuries.

London).

In

Germany

the bridegroom wore the

of

given him

by

bearing on the observance. In Eastern European

bridal

synagogues there was placed before the reader's

the clasp sometimes symbolically fashioned and

pulpit a tablet artistically inscribed with the Bib-

suitably inscribed.

lical verse: "I

have

set the

Lord always before me"

belt

silver

his

bride,

special silver girdle, dividing

the baser from the purer parts of the

body was

(Psalm XVI, 8) which was sometimes engraved or

used by householders to fasten their white prayer-

embossed

robe on the

in silver.

The mezuzah

sometimes

ioned

The
of

wood,

of

case for the

Tabernacles

citron

might

ornamented with the

of

ivory.

on the Feast

silver

some-

sometimes as a box

fruit,

ritual

or

silver

(etrog)

be

times in the form of the

box

symbols.

The

alms-

at the

synagogue door would occasionally be

specifically

manufactured and bear an opposite

design.

Italy

In

especially,

beautiful

with the word Shaddai were

one very

The study

for the door-post, containing the

prescribed Biblical verses, would be finely fash-

common

made

containers

for amulets,

17th and 18th-century type of

Baroque shape bearing the normal

ritual

svmbols,

Day

its

infancy.

little

of

Atonement.

of Jewish ritual art

Up

was paid

attention

decades, a

number

have been

built

accumulation

is

is,

however,

in

to a couple of generations ago,


to

it.

Within the

last

of important public collections

up.

At present, the labor of

being succeeded by study and

investigation. Jewish ritual art has, at last


to take its place in cultural history. It

is

begun

of parti-

cular significance as that branch of art in

which

Jewish warmth and devotion found in times gone

by

its

most spontaneous and genuine expression,

and which
lopment.

is

still

receiving a

memorable deve-

WORLD

JEWISH ART IN THE MOSLEM


LEO ARY MAYER

by

Modern
tion to

na-

produce everything he needs, from

ato-

mic research

The

man wants

own

nationalistic

to clothing,

from

his

fine arts to food.

true Oriental, on the other hand, never enter-

tained such ideas as cultural self-sufficiencv. His

was divided

societv

occupations

into classes,

considered

some devoted

honorable

and,

to

conse-

quently, privileged and coveted, and others, no

matter

how

garded

as castes of slaves or, at best, as second-

grade

important to society as a whole,

re-

of the

Umayyad

or Abbasid

resi-

dences from Cordova to Samaria appreciated art


as

much

ropean.

161.

tapestries

and

rugs,

which

filled

retain their appeal even

of

He saw

beauty.

limits of his

armor,

were

all

means

pen-boxes,

his

works of

like the ancient

he thought
painters as

to

that

it

lamps

his

art in their

of

little

members

craftsmen,

of his

own

and braziers

architects

society. It

is

sums on them, but

it

was the work of

art that

mattered, not the maker of a masterpiece.

immediate

modern man. the medieval Arab

162.

and
true

Maecenas lavished considerable

devised beautifullv-built and taste-

Aviv.

the

own way. However,

any ancient Greek or medieval Eu-

Tel

within

Greek or the medieval European,

as

collection.

his clothes, his arms, his

He

Yemenite jewelry. Gridi

them with

today, even to people with a very different sense

that sometimes a

citizens.

The Arab

fully-appointed houses, and he

result of this attitude

Yemenite jewelry.

was

The

that, unlike

or Persian felt

Gridi collection, Tel

Aviv.

JEWISH ART IN THE MOSLEM

353

WORLD

354

monopoly

of

all

metal work.

we

If

see a dagger, or a ring, or a silver box

and are sure that

or a platter

made
sure

it

was

Yemen, we can be equally

in

that

was made by

it

Jew.

This was the case a thousand years


ago, and

was true

it

until the recent

exodus of Jews from Yemen.


In a way, Yemenite art

work

Essentially the
consists

it

eternal.

is

of silversmiths,

most simple geo-

of the

metrical patterns carried out in simple

techniques, such as granulation and

work.

filigree

It

is

the kind of style

that has baffled historians of Oriental


art

faced with jewelry

made

in

such

and periods

a varietv of regions

as

Byzantine Europe, medieval Egypt,

and even modern Timbuctoo. Yet the


one thing certain about the objects
163.

Hanukkah lamp from North-west

Museum, London.

Africa. Jewish

no frustration when his buildings or works of

art

shown here

(figs.

they are

Jewish and

monopoly

groups other than his own, or even bv foreigners

Among

imported for the purpose.

which have survived

Consequently, for generations


states

artisans

of

even

the

professing Jews

long

for

Moslem

if

in a

the

is,

either

made

in

virtual

North-west Africa.

is

the numerous ritual objects from this area

mainly modern

deserve at least cursory attention

There are more examples of

handiwork

in

wood than

in

(fig.

few

163).

definitely Jewish

any other material.

of

Starting with the splendid Fatimid piece, at pre-

therefore,

no

sent in the Louvre, called

else

given country, say Yemen, where

old standards of class differences

where

certain

work

of metal

that

men

and Christians or
It

in

were

world

Jewish or Christian outlook.

wonder

(and

centuries),

all

is

Yemen. Another region where Jews had a

were created bv members of religious or national

Moslem

all

161, 162)

still

prevail,

and

given trade, say that of the smith,

is

dune

niche

century

(fig.

bv Migeon "montant

de priere" and dated


164),

we

find

10th

11th

two hitherto unpub-

lished examples from Egypt, one in a private col-

and another

Museum

singled out as particularly despicable, the Jews

lection (fig. 165),

should have had even

Islamic Art, Cairo, which are almost contempo-

in

164.

modern times

a virtual

Carved wooden panel with Hebrew inscription. Louvre, Paris

in

the

of

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

355

rary with the one in the Louvre.

reconstructed

(now

in

York)

may

ark

Museum, New

the Jewish

date in part from as early

as the 13th century


finest

example

Mordecai

a cenotaph in the

is

photograph

can

taken as long as

it

be

considered

bv Jews and Moslems

sacrilege

be

possibly

in situ; while

is

would

removal

its

167); un-

(fig.

placed that no

so

is

it

and

of Esther

Hamadan

in

fortunately

The

166).

(fig.

mausoleum

traditional

good

of

The

synagogue

alike.

but

literate,

different

in

Having learned

356

script.

as children to write

had

a script other than Arabic, they

spoiled their

hand

when

for Arabic

as adults they tried to imitate deco-

naskhi lettering. In

Mameluk

no Moslem

and verv

rative

Syria

artisan,

few Christians, were acquainted with


any

other

none

mastery of glass work.

and

Arabic,

was known

these

of

but

script

for

his

Onlv Jews,

have been respons-

therefore, could

making and writing on these

ible for

lamps.

We

II

Apart from metal work, the most


commonly mentioned Jewish craft in
was the making

the Middle Ages


glass.

We

later,

period,

when

it

the Ottoman
Damascene master in

during
a

1694 produced a lamp, (now

of

Museum
very much

Jewish

have numerous references


171)

to

are on safe ground only cen-

turies

in the

London)

in

(fig.

after the fashion of

from Jewish and Gentile sources,


those used in mosques, covered with

yet not a single specimen of medieval


glass,
tries,

There

made

Mohammedan

in

coun-

can definitely be called Jewish.

Hebrew
Later

and

still

Near) Eastern
(e.g.,

one

in

Jewish.

lettering.

Middle (not

Eumorfopoulos

the

168), which

(fig.

The main

the group

Col-

perhaps

characteristic

Whereas

script.

is its

is

in origin are various

for-

of

in all

other respects the lamps are identical

opaque

glass,

of

which

remain several specimens

in

public

of

bottles,

lection)

clearly

however, one glass of Syro-

is,

Egyptian glass-lamps
merly

with an upper

inscriptions,

bowl decorated with Arabic

and private

collections.

most important are

in

Among

the

the Victoria

and Albert Museum, London

(fig.

170), and in the Feinberg Collection

with products of the Aleppo workin

Detroit

(fig.

169).

shops of the fourteenth centurv, their


script

stands

out

once.

at

Studied

against the background of the magnificent

specimens of Arabic calligraphy

on Mameluk glass and bronze vessels,


the inscriptions on these lamps look
extraordinarily clumsy.

much

Orientalists copying

Of Jewish textiles made under Mohammedan rule, almost all the surviving examples are very late.

monumental Ara-

them belong

venture to suggest

(very tentatively, and with


that

these

all

orbit

Fustat.
I.

who were

wooden beam
Collection

fireen.

present treatment.

Three very notable exceptions are an


early

now

Moslem turban

of fine material

Museum

of Islamic Art,

in the

Cairo,
Inscribed

of the

proper

lamps mav

be the work of craftsmen

from

and

European

infuence, not falling, therefore, with

we

16"".

to the 19th century

are already strongly under

the
reservations)

Most of

so

attempts of European

like first

bic script that

Thev look

Ill

of

Samaritan hanging

still

in

the possession of the Samaritan com-

munitv

at

Nablus and a Turkish rug

JEWISH ART IN THE MOSLEM

357

166.

Reconstructed Torah-shrine of synagogue


Fustat. Jewish Museum, New York.

WORLD

358

at

167.

Cenotaph

in

the

Esther and Mordecai in


M. Mostafawi, Director

mausoleum
traditional
Hamadan. (Courtesy of
of

Antiquities

Department

of Iran).

169.

168.

Jewish lamp.

(Formerly

in

Eumorfopoulos Collection).

Glass bottle with

Hebrew

inscription.

Feinberg Collection, Detroit.

of

Dr.

359

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION


170.

Glass bottle with Hebrew inscription.


and Albert Museum, Loudon

Victoria

brW

171.

rew

172.
1

lamp with HebDamascus, 1694.


Jewish Museum. London.
glass

inscription.

woven Hebrew inscription,


Museum, Washington, D.C.

Turkish rug, with

8th century. Textile

Hanging

360

JEWISH ART IN THE MOSLEM

361

173.

Museum, Washington, D.C. The


172) is of court manufacture, made either

the Textile

in

rug
in

(fig.

Istanbul or Brussa, and

century. As a whole,
lar

Samaritan Torah-curtain, dated

Moslem

it

is

obviouslv of the 18th

follows the pattern of simi-

WORLD

362

1509, Samaritan Synagogue, Nablus.

usual

mosque

columns,

mosques
unique.

the

tvpe. This

bases

of

is

flanked bv two double

which look

a detail, to the best of

The Hebrew

inscription

like

domed

our knowledge,

on the upper

mihrab

re-

it

has a few note-

gister of the spandrel of the

The main

part looks like a

from Psalm 118:20, to be found over innumerable

prayer-rugs, but

worthy

peculiarities.

Moslem

prayer-niche, with a big cup in the center

on which are displayed nine hanging lamps of the

entrance doors to synagogues

The appearance

of a

Hebrew

all

is

a quotation

over the world.

text

on a Turkish

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

363

174.

Page from decorated MS. of the

Bible,

written at Cairo,

(State Library, Leningrad. After Giinzburg

carpet

is

unique. Although there

prove that the rug as such was


indeed, the clumsy character of

is

nothing to

made bv Jews
the Hebrew letter-

ing might even suggest the opposite

the rug was

1010.

and Stassof).

traditionally

connected with the Temple,

seven-branched candlestick,

and the
found

Aaron. The theme

staff of

manuscripts and ritual objects

modern times

serve as a hanging in front of the Torah-shrine:


has. consequently, a right to

Of
(fig.

special interest

is

it

be mentioned here.

the Samaritan

silk

hanging

173) embroidered with silver bv Joseph ben

Sadaqa

in

1509-

-0,

probably in Damascus.

It

represents the Tei. nle and a variety of objects

often

to

be

Hebrew
almost down to

in Samaritan, as well as ordinary

and designed

the spirit of Jewish tradition, to

like the

incense-burner,

the

without any doubt woven to Jewish specification


in

364

Jewish tradition;

how thoroughly

shows the strong current of

its

execution proves once more

the

Samaritans,

as

well

as

the Rabbinites and Karaites living in the Mos-

lem
tic

East,

assimilated

the

expression of the nations

lived.

language

of

artis-

among whom they

5*
3

175.

Page from decorated MS. of the Bible, dated


(State Library, Leningrad. After Giinzburg and Stassof).

051, perhaps from Jerusalem.

176.

Page from MS. of Pentateuch from Yemen,


in minuscular writing, dated 1469.
(British Museum, London, MS.:OR. 2348).

with decoration

177.
Page from decorated MS. of Pentateuch from
Yemen, dated 1409. (British Museum, MS.:OR. 2350),

178.

Page from decorated MS. of Later Prophets from


(British Museum, MS.
OIL 2211).

Yemen, dated 1475.

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

361

368

well

framed with

bed

in

bands

inscri-

Arabic characters.

Jewish illuminated manuscripts

from Moslem countries are many,

and cover the whole period

(figs.

174180). The

finest

belong

to

group

and

oldest

acquired

in

the

Near East

the

19th century by the Karaite

the middle of

in

Abraham

scholar,

Firkovitch.

He

brought them to Russia long be-

he ruined

fore

his

repuation by

indulging in forgeries and deliberately

falsifying

genuine objects,

order to prove both the anti-

in

quity and the non-Jewishness of


the Karaite

mea.

community

first

treasure

in

the Cri-

skimming from

was published

tury ago, and

some

this

half a cen-

of the plates

have been reproduced repeatedly


ever since, judged on internal evidence, they are Syro-Egyptian of
the 9th
*

from

page

Illuminated

179.

MS.

of

Pentateuch,

showing the

Sanctuary and its vessels, written in Cairo, 930. (State


Leningrad. After Giinzburg and Stassof).

centuries.

That the Arabic

The

sub-

does not inproved by


the Karaite Biblical manuscripts written in
Hebrew, but in Arabic characters, the bestknown specimens of which are in the
dicate a

Library,

15th

British

Moslem

script

scribe

is

best

Museum.

IV

Although Jewish book production


times and in
effort

countries

all

was concentrated on

by

excelled at

offering a correct text,

rather than on turning a manuscript into a


of

Perhaps

art.

that the Torah-scrolls

reading
nated.

which

the

in

used

in the

field

fact

synagogues for

weekly lessons were never

But even the

work

was influenced bv the

this

illumi-

of the script proper,

the sphere of Arabic lettering

one of the greatest achievements of Moslem

is

art-

throughout the ages, was neglected bv Jewish

ists

scribes in Islamic countries. It

that

Abraham ben

biblophile

who

may be

Joseph, a Jewish Maecenas and

15th cent ry in San'a, had

at least

two

Biblic;

which more

significant

flourished during the second half

of the

all

high standard,

its

Islu

in

his library

manuscripts with frontispieces


ico

served as an ex-libris as

Decorated page of Bible MS., 13th 14th cenFormerly in the Karaite Synagogue, Cairo.
Leningrad. After Giinzburg and
Library,
(State

180.

turies.

Stassof).

JEWISH ART IN THE MOSLEM

369

WORLD

370

Marriage Contract from Meknes, Morocco, 1814.

ject-matter of these miniatures

is

once used in the Temple

ly objects

or else to

be seen

The

fleur-de-lis in the center of the panel in the

in Jerusalem,

first

row

The ornaments

formed from the Hebrew

It

is

heraldic

emblem and

Egypt during the

consequently not surprising to find quite

hand

of

ing

objects

(figs.

(fig.

174, 175) side by side with

179)

and vignettes which

script of that period

and

region. In a

way, the

most interesting designs are those reproduced here


180). They belong

to a manuscript, today

early

Mameluk

period

of

its

second row shows the Maghribi

master.

columns and a hang-

might have adorned any Arabic Moslem manu-

(fig.

the

in

pages depicting the mihrah, com-

mosque-lamp

Temple

letter

localizes the manuscripts in

(13th to 14th century); and the very significant


panel

plete with a pair of flanking

a well-known Saracenic

Syria or

samekh.

number

is

private

at

Moslem, with the one notable exception of some


vignettes

to the right

are entirely

synagogues or

in

religious ceremonies.

main-

Jewish

One
a

class of manuscript documents soon became

most popular object

for decoration,

i.e.,

marri-

age contracts. Although thev were never as


illuminated

shly

as

ance, they stand out

the

Jewish

those

among

communities

lavi-

European proven-

of
all

other products of

from one end of the

colophon, showing

Islamic world to the other. Different as they are,

geometrical ornaments of the most commonplace

the Moroccan with their strong black and white

unfortunately deprived of

sort.

Yet

its

its

subject can be located and dated.

effect

(fig.

181), those from

Meshed with

their

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

371

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|p

v nj3 $#$
pHwP
^Vyo VW~~~^^

JL

delicate colors

but more vigorous and with

horror vacni
that

each community could

marked

minating Persian epics.

it

them accompanies

it

is

offer

in

this

illu-

outstanding example

Jewish religious architecture.

to

significant that in lands of

Blanca

in

Moslem

rule

oldest

Toledo (see page 290 and

bv

What then
Moslem

fig.

may

science, medicine or philosophy,

when

applied to the

field of art:

first,

be done

region where a Jewish

most conserva-

poor appearance, or by their modern

date. This applies especiallv to secular architec-

specimens of which are works of

the 19th century. As an earlier example

we

can

mention, however, the ceilings of the house of a

Aleppo,

which one

where the Jewish

community flourished greatlv under the benevo-

must remain open


for the scope of

and with the very limited means

posal, this cannot

in

in

the Jewish con-

Jewish art under Moslem rule must be established

Christian recon-

to

after

Jewish patrician

first

say can be answered easily in the field of

either ruled out

ture, the best

the

in

of Jewish art in

And what was

Most other buildings are

their

Rejeb Pasha

was the standing

countries ?

according
already
the

126) was erected


tive dating

quest.

Mehmed

tribution to Islamic art? This question,

this chapter.

of the rightly-famous Spanish svnagogues, Santa


la

of

field.

Moslem miniatures

An

was never properly developed. Even the

Maria

rule

stand the Judaeo-Persian

In this short survey, appropriate space ought to

But

lent

half of the eighteenth centurv (fig. 184).

VI

own

miniatures, imitations of

have been given

182), thev represent the best

(fig.

In a class of their

of

^^m ^

183) and those from Herat,

(fig.

Portion of marriage contract, Herat, 1812.


(Hebrew University Library, lerusalem).

182.

similar,

'j'Ha^^^?

^^^~~~~-

372

there

is little

Moslem

unless

it

at our dis-

at present.

Although
date and

difficulty in establishing the

work

of art

was produced

country, the sad fact remains that

bears a

Hebrew

inscription, or

kind used exclusively for Jewish worship,


not be identified as Jewish.
not applv to Jews only.

It

Of course

would be

is
it

this

of a

can-

does

just as diffi-

cult to apportion the role of

Armenians or Copts

made

in Islamic countries.

in

secular works of

art

Unless the signature of a craftsman reveals his

n
JEWISH ART IN THE MOSLEM

37:

mm~

WORLD

374

in

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;_

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183.

184.

"/

TIT+13T* ->%jt

ourj
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jp? o-jy

Portion of marriage contract, Meshed, 1834.

Part of ceiling decoration in a Jewish house in Aleppo.

First half of 18th century.

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

375

ethnical

unless

origin,

an inscription

in

a non-

Arabic script or a religious invocation proves that

he

member

not a

is

there are no

means

of the

of

Moslem community,

knowing whether he be-

longs to a minority group, and,

This

is

not the only occurrence in the long

history of the Jewish people in

had no idiom

artist

difference

which the Jewish

own. But there

much

he was completely assimilated

vironment.

was

as

But from

time

time,

to

Hellenistic

private

as

Syrian

any

capital,

or

Empire, or a

and

incorporate in

house,

It

was the

inarticulate cry of a

testing his identity, powerless to

do

it

sculptors,

artisticalh

felt

the need to assert their Jewishness. At

such moments

and

isolated

either

and

cases these

were

moments they painted Jewish

some scene out

of Jewish history or

who happened

simply a few Jews

Up

many

in

to a point, this

was

to

as inefficient

be nearby.

and

inarti-

But

a seven-

branched candlestick, or some other Jewish symbol.

and

something

lintel of his
it

painters

Jewish

culate a cry as that of their Hellenized forefathers.

sarcophagus as

in the

but

less.

to his en-

would shake him; and he would carve a purely

Roman

time

life:

a son of his age as any other master. Artis-

tically,

too,

rare

the Hellenistic period, the Jewish artist

During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries,

is

the idiom of artistic form

protesting none the

which characterizes the ages. During

of his

assimilated to their surroundings, from time to

to which.

if so,

language

376

mute proin his

own

it

We

was heard.
have no means of knowing

artist in

secular

Moslem
work

is

the Jewish

countries ever felt this way. His


as

he

left

nymous donor

Artistically,

if

Moslem

as

it

no signature.

can possible be.

He was

and he made sure

anonymity would not be betrayed


historians of Oriental art.

an anothat

his

to inquisitive

THE ILLUMINATION OF HEBREW MANUSCRIPTS


IN THE MIDDLE AGES AND RENAISSANCE
FRANZ

by

So far

ceremonial objects and

architecture,

as

mural paintings are concerned, medieval Jewish


art has to a large extent

been

lost.

That Jewish

book-illuminations have been preserved in rela-

numbers

tively great
in

all

is

the more remarkable

many wanderings and

view of the

Jews during those centuries.

of the

It

sufferings

would

ex-

ceed the space here available even to classify


these illuminated manuscripts. It

is

all

only possible

ND

13

pagan

RGER

have been

its

inventors. It

aroused opposition. But

assume that

in private

not unreasonable to

is

only to the Torah-scrolls

and not

to scrolls

may even have

hands, some of which

which have been found on the walls and


been

have

made

demonstrate

and

early Christian book-art elements

About the beginning


tion

of this art,

scanty indeed. Nothing

is

is

our informa-

floors

of synagogues of late antiquity. Indeed, various

attempts

development.

and codices

illustrations of the Bible story similar to those

to give a general idea of this "art of the book,"

to outline its

may even

true that the practice

is

it

this referred

for synagogical use,

had

Jews

literature of the period, the

from

to derive

this earlier

to

in

which appear

Jewish tradition.

preserved, and

die literary sources, too, are sparse.

The

fictitious
II

"Letter of Aristeas"

centurv b.c.e.)

Ptolemy
ed

II

written perhaps in the second


that the Egyptian ruler,

relates

Philadelphia (285-247 b.c.e.) wish-

to incorporate into his library at Alexandria

and that

a translation of the Five Books of Moses,

him

the special copy brought to

from Palestine was written

we

Elsewhere, too,

name

of

God was

writes the

lettering.

written in golden script.

(Sabbath

of the

Lord

"If

in

the past-Talmudic tractate Sopherim

we

all

written in gold.

before the sages,

The
then

strated:

the

and

who

classical

as

"One does

it

is

God

The matter was brought

ordered

it

existence of gold script

in

read

once happened that

Alexandrians the names of

in a scroll of the

were

It

one

in gold, the scrolls

thus written must be set aside." Again,

not write a scroll with gold.

The

103b), however,

unfavorably:

this practice

names

gold

in

read of codices in which the

Babylonian Talmud

comments on

purpose

for this

period

is

to

be

among

set aside."

the Jews

clearly

nowhere mentioned

demonin

the

Yet these

illuminated

Hebrew

first

centuries of the Christian era,

are

lost.

Nothing

century:

tenth

codices
if

the

of

they existed,

preserved earlier than the

is

and from

this

period,

only

too,

single pages,

from Egvpt, Palestine, and Yemen

have thus

been made available

far

to the student.

Here, too, gold plays a dominant part. Further-

more, the gold


also

for

objects.

eleventh-century

174)

We

Oriental

but

for letters

have, for instance,

manuscript

in

(see

an
fig.

a fantasticallv-shaped portal that closes in

a semi-circle

This

used not onlv

is

design

and
is

is

supported by a central

composed

of

minuscular

comprising various Biblical quotations.

pillar.

letters

We

have

here an ancient usage. Already from heathen antiquity

we know

of

Carmina Figurata, that

is

poems

the letters of which formed an egg, a flute, the

wing

of a cupid, etc. In Jewish book-illumination,

this

custom

Ages.

It

was

continued

throughout

the

Middle

especially popular in the writing of

the Masorah, the marginal notes that guarantee


the correctness of the traditional text of the Bible.
Cf.

for

all

this

chapter

VI.

They were written

in the

form of abstract pat-

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

379

380

<<-'

'V
V.

*.. *<4AiK.\ *v*X^

IKS.

>

Design of lion

in

minuscular

German MS.

terns, but in the later

Middle Ages

of the

assumed

also

the shape of plants, animals, grotesques,

letters.

and even

human figures (fig. 185).


To return to our oldest preserved codices,
there are among them, besides the micrographic
figures
nial

and marginal decorations, those ceremo-

objects

which were

in

the Tabernacle and

Temple. The representation, however,

One

of

the

fol

is

in

famous

is

(Beginning of Masorah

13th century.

curious.

tenth-centurv

to

Book

of Ezekiel),

(National Library, Vienna).

manuscript,

probablv Egyptian

shows the Tabernacle not


but laid completely

by

side, like cards.

flat,

its

in

(see

three

that

is

dimensions,

Above the Tabernacle stands

visible

tablets in the middle,


is

179),

five walls lying side

the seven-branched candelabrum,

Above

fig.

golden

two wings

also
strip

laid

flat.

with two

at the side. This

presumably the ark with the two tablets of the

Law; onlv these

tablets are not inside

the ark,

THE ILLUMINATION OF HEBREW MANUSCRIPTS

381

as related in the Bible, but

above

ly

it

placed perpendicular-

make them

to

The wings

visible.

out of

some supplementary

some

decorated

show the complete

we

Among

figure of

the smaller objects

can distinguish two columns, apparently the

columns that stood before Solomon's

Temple.

382

these,

in

moreover, of divorcing the decoration from the


text,

hesitation to

The convention prevailed

life.

denote the cherubim, for apparently there was

such holy creatures.

THE MIDDLE AGES

IN

the

filling

while the Bible text

(or

first

and

first

was

itself

very lavishly

treatise

pages,

last)

or nearly

left plain,

In these codices, the only attempt at relating

so.

text

and decoration was the

num-

inclusion, in a

Here we have then a representation of what the

ber of cases, of a conventional representation of

Jew has

lost,

the vessels of the sanctuary which, as

hopes

Messianic times.

that

and

in

made

we

It is

the Messianic hope

the subject of this folio so popular,

come

shall repeatedly

centuries.

dle

but for the rebuilding of which he

There

is little

Ages beyond

obedience to the

advance

across

in later

it

in the early

this representation,

Mid-

probably

commandment which

in

prohibited

up with some

seen, links

Farhi

called

Bible

who was

Crescas,

Sassoon

the

in

in point

first

the so-

is

Collection,

illuminator as well as scribe.

decorated from beginning to end in the

This

most profuse

is

one of the

plements.

memorable case

achieved in 1366-1382 by Elisha ben Abraham

resentation of ceremonial buildings

their im-

of the earliest extant

book-illuminations towards the end of the

millenium.

the imitation of natural objects, but not the rep-

and

we have

style,

many

of the pages reminding

Moslem

finest

and

carpets

tapestries,

with the lavish decorative use of verses in majuscule

letters

Ill

In order to follow up the further development


of the art of illumination,

where the Jews

we must

lived, partly

under Moorish, part-

under Christian domination. Their book

ly

minations were influenced

now from

that.

now from

and now reflected


Christianity,

side,

it

utilize

pictures,

back on the mother-faith.

another daughter of Judaism, had

early freed itself


rial

this

illu-

Islam had at one time taken over

from Judaism the hesitancy to

its

turn to Spain,

from the prohibition of

representation,

and

this

picto-

departure, too, had

influence on the Jews.

The former,

non-pictorial

tendency

is

repre-

some

of

them very magnificent, decorated

rather than illuminated, there being

no correlation

between the embellishments and the text, nor


any attempt to delineate the human form or scenes

One

the standard Jewish works of reference repage from an elaborately illuminated MS. (a
commentary on the Book of Psalms) purporting to have
been executed in 1158 by one Abraham Hispanus(l). If
authentic, this would obviously change the entire perspective of the subject. But the MS. (in the Palatine Library,
Parma) is clearly not earlier than the Hth century; 1158
of

not the date of copying but of the original composition;


and Abraham Hispanus is not the scribe or illuminator but
the twelfth-century author, the famous Abraham ben Meir
ibn Ezra, called Ha-Sephardi (editor's note).

is

vessels

and

pages,

final

which magnificently indited verses from the

Psalms
a

The

spread over several

illuminations of the preliminary


in

surround

an

ornamental

panel,

central

lexicographical treatise figuring in minuscular

hand
here

The

the margins.

in

186)

(fig.

example shown

first

typical Islamic style with

in

is

bands that interweave with each other into knots.

The

area

is

not

and the

filled,

lines

shoot, like

lightning, towards the four corners, lending the

pattern

human

when one would most


artist

tells

Throughout

excitement.

strange

figure

expect

avoided,

is
it.

this

even

Thus where the

of the return of the spies from the

Holy Land (Numeri, Chapter XIII) he shows a

huge grape-cluster suspended from

wooden

frame: there are no spies.

As an example
Jewish book-art

produces

gold.

in

But more important than these are the

pages.

manuscript the

sented significantly and artistically by a series of


Bibles,

heightened

the sanctuary are here

of

of the other tendency in Spanish

we may

take the fourteenth cen-

tury "Sarajevo Haggadah," so-called because

today in the

the

of Passover

illumination

peal to
rity,

museum

ritual for the

of that city.

because of

women and

The haggadah

domestic service on the Eve

was always

and the very

it is

a favorite subject for

small

its

children,

fact that

it

its

bulk,

its

ap-

great popula-

was not taken

into

the synagogue, where severer standards prevailed.

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

383

384

not portrayed. After representing the

days of creation, the

six

someone
that

pret
of

God

To

in a state of rest.

figure

Here

incorrect.

is

whom

but man, to

inter-

representation

as

shows

artist

God

not

is

henceforth

is

as-

signed the duty of abstaining from

work on the seventh day. Where,

in

the picture of Jacob's dream, the artist

cover

But

with their wings.

faces

their

makes them

he

angels,

represents

what

in spite of these limitations,

power

of expression there

scenes

Sea

is

in these

The passage through the Red


indeed, pictured somewhat

is,

But how vivid

clumsilv.

Miriam

below:

the scene

is

the

beats

timbrel,

while the maidens hold their hands in

dance

French

The

189).

(fig.

art

$w;:;

look

strength

rv^-'^P

is

here:

Gothic

of

church

Remarkable

similar.

manifested in the Giving

Law

of the
artist

front

in

portals,

of

Wise and Foolish

the statues of the


Virgins,

marked

strongly

is

influence

on

Sinai,

to

which the

has devoted a whole page

(fig.

190), whereas usually he places one

Haggadah

merges

the decoration preced-

ing the text consists of sixtv-two Biblical scenes,


not,

however, exclusivelv related to the subject-

matter of the volume.

On

the contrary, the artist

begins with the creation of the world and only


gradually works his

whom

wav up

he accompanies

to

Moses

(fig.

There follows a picture of the Temple, and


end, the miniaturist takes us to the

He shows

time.

shrine open

tures

in

and the distribution

is still

its

life

at the

of his

own

us a synagogue with the Torah-

unleavened bread before the


All this

187),

in his career until his death.

of

festival

dough and
(fig.

188).

related to the oldest Jewish minia-

emphasis on the

flat

plane, so that

the figures, at times, appear as against a carpetlike

backdrop

(figs.

With regard
imposes on

to

content,

too,

in

from which only one

wide horizontal layer

figure,

apparently Joshua,

stands out somewhat. Contrasted with this


tall

figure of Moses,

the folio

is

the

surrounded by flames. Above,

contained by another horizontal line

is

formed by a layer of cloud, out of which emerges


the ram's horn (shophar)

where the awe-inspir-

ing blasts accompanied the revelation.


Similar dignity

is

conveyed by the page show-

ing the distribution of

bread (see

fig.

dough and

188). Here

we have

occurrence but recurrent events;


ture,

of unleavened

it is

not a single
a genre pic-

but a genre picture with religious content.

added

There

is

other

genre theme.

regularly

Spanish manuscript

to the

haggadah yet an-

Another fourteenth-centurv
(British

Museum, MS.

Or.

2884) shows the Seder evening, the family and

178-190).

himself certain

The crowd

other.

waiting at the foot of the mountain

England.

In the Sarajevo

above the

scene

Decorative introductory page of the Farhi Bible by Elisha


1382. Sassoon Collection,
Crescas. Spain or Provence, 1366
186.

the

artist

limitations:

still

God

is

guests joining in the festive meal. At the top of


the table

sits

the master of the house, clad in white.

187.

The

Fifth

murrain.

Plague:

Miniature in

Spanish MS. of the 14th century. (National

the

Museum,

Sarajevo

Haggadah.

Sarajevo, Jugoslavia).

188.

The

bread.

189.

Miriam

hands

in

beats the timbrel, while the

dance.

190.

Miniature

The Giving

Sarajevo

in

the

maidens hold then


Haggadah.

Sarajevo

Law. Full page miniature in the


Spanish MS. of the 14th century.
(National Museum. Sarajevo. Yugoslavia).
of the

Haggadah.

distribution

Full

of

dough (above) and

page miniature

in

the Sarajevo

of

Passover

Haggadah.

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

387

191.

The Passover meal.

Full page miniature in a Spanish

(The

the

Haggadah

in front of him.

At

British

haggadah of

38S

the 14th century.

Museum. London).

his side sits a

meal

in a British

Museum

manuscript of Spanish

shown

boy; next are his wife and daughter, and lastly

origin of the 14th century

two other members

here appears in a miniature set in a finely deco-

of the familv or guests. It

is

is

rated page

suspended from the

the cup;" the dog, expelled as

the table. Ye'

and two dogs under

mother representation of the Seder

191).

It

embodying the phrase "Here they drink

comfortable Gothic chamber; with three lamps


ceiling

(fig.

miniature, contently

gnaws

his

it

were from the

bone

just

below

it.

THE ILLUMINATION OK HEBREW MANUSCRIPTS

389

THE MIDDLE AGES

IN

390

At the foot of the page, the master of the house


assisted to lave his hands,

shown being

is

being the next stage in the

this

ritual.

Yet another motif recurs in these manuscripts:

MM Wn-M'

I-WW rv>iv:>

v^-**-!

*lli

the initial letters are sometimes distinguished from

and

the others in size

which

color,

preferably

is

gold. In this process, these letters are frequently


filled

with abstract ornaments,

even

animals,

here

on

laid

specially-colored

which shows patterned

ground
whole

and

finally closed

is

by

unknown

which

arches. This enlarged

to the Orient. It

pean product which the Christian

had used

The

traceries.

a broad border,

crowned with Gothic

is

initial is

designs, or

floral

is

the Euro-

art of the

which seems

for centuries, but

iSiro

West

to

fjp$p3Q$*

-TOraofrtrn pte a*

have

penetrated into Jewish art only in the thirteenth


century, to remain there throughout the Middle

ffap nj?w* iktt pram

Ages, often in conjunction with tendrils or rib-

bons framing the rest of the

text.

One

should

note, too, the small twigs with tender leaves shoot-

ing from them; on

some

perched. This, too,

is

of

them

tiny birds are

accordance with Gothic

in

which, coming from France, penetrated to

art

Spain, to Jews as well as to Christians.

We

will select

one more of the numerous

ntt*'iinaiiTnaimn.'vr

illu-

minated manuscripts from the Iberian peninsula,


192.

written in 1476.

It

is

generally called, after an

eighteenth-century scholar, the Kennicott Bible,

and

is

today one of the treasures of the Bodleian

King David. Marginal miniature

Kings

to

I.

Chapter

I.

Kennicott Bible, illustrated by Joseph ibn Hayyim in


La Corunna (N. Spain), 1476. (Bodleian Library, Oxford).
in the

earlier

In

date.

the

we

Kennicott Bible

again

Library in Oxford. In accordance with the con-

find the abstract ornaments familiar to us from

vention mentioned above, this splendid Bible

the Farhi Bible, the beauty of which here con-

is

preceded and followed by a grammatical work,


Kimhi's Sepher Mikhlol. Here,
the sanctity of the

gave free rein to his


written

in

Biblical
artistic

two columns,

unencumbered bv

contents, the

imagination.
is

binations,

the

conveyed

in

in

the

ally

also

incorporating

but occasion-

sometimes hu-

animals,

morously. At the lower edge of one page, for

example, there
at

scribe's

on leaves, and,

a hare feasting

monkey swinging

the top, a

The

is

colophon,

in

composed

the tendrils.
of

"anthropo-

morphic" figures ingeniously incorporating human


forms,

is

refinements

of

black-and-white.

interplav of the

which cannot be
But,

whereas the

Farhi Bible illustrates Biblical scenes without the

human figure, the artist


now and then overcomes
instance,

upon
in

shows David

his head,

holding

of the

Jewish book
naturalistic,

then,

Kennicott Bible

mighty king, a crown

in his right

both

and, for

this limitation,

as a

the shape of a huge club

manuscript,

hand

(fig.

192). In this

tendencies

illumination,

a scepter

of

Spanish-

the abstract and the

have been reconciled.

something of a tour de force. This should

IV

be compared with the not dissimilar conception,


less successful,
in

new

but also in the inexhaustible color com-

text,

center and at the sides with borders consisting


of architectural designs or tendrils

lines,

not only in the always

artist

The

ornamented

sists

however,

the text of a Spanish

in execution, to

haggadah

of a

be found

Turning now from Spain

somewhat

emphasized

to France,

it

must be

at the outset that culturally,

and

to

ART FROM THE MIDDLE ACES TO THE EMANCIPATION

|E\VISH

391

392

dominating

responding to the vertical tendency

Gothic
It

art.

probable

is

French Jewry produced

that

of the finest achievements in the realm of

some

Hebrew manuscript

the illuminated

Middle

of the

Unfortunately, the wholesale burning of

Ages.

Hebrew books here in 1240 and afterwards must


have destroyed many memorable specimens of
such work, while the expulsions of the Jews

century ended the tradition at pre-

fourteenth

when elsewhere

time

cisely the

upon

in the

was entering

it

most fecund period. Nevertheless, there

its

have survived a few medieval Franco-Jewish specimens of manuscript illumination which are of

The most remarkable, probably,

rare merit.

manuscript of 1277-78, today

seum (Add. MS. 116/39).


prising the Pentateuch,

Aaron kindles

(The

British

of the Bible, together with selected

and a number

From a French MS.


Museum).

an

800

in the first

some

lacks

the region of Provence in

socially,

or

initial,

an

illustration.

than to the French orbit, and the Provencal

This

minated Hebrew manuscripts are hardly to be


scope and style from those of

was distinguished

Spain. This region indeed


its

achievement

Nathan haYarhi,
century,

in

at the

Jewish communities

ence

in

beginning of the thirteenth


all

other

the smoothing out of parch-

purple dyeing. This cultural

its

for

Abraham ben

sphere.

us that Avignon surpassed

tells

ment and

this

influ-

discernible particularly as regards Bible

is

manuscripts, where, too, there was the tradition of


divorcing the illuminations from the text and

among them

corporating
as has

been the practice

in Spain.

of the
in

characteristic

is

in

sanctuary vessels,

the Orient and

example

is

later

a manuscript

Perpignan (a similar one, written

in

the

cod. hebr. 2).


across

in

in-

Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, written

1299

1301,

the

Roval Library

in

in

Copenhagen,

where these implements are spread

two pages. The choice

of objects

is

above

deeply

ture

all

and

in this codex.

human

penetrates

into

figure.

this

style

Now

the Jewish

inclination

In

consi-

this fea-

and

field,

art,

becomes apparent

slender figures which rise

of the

hitherto

here, in the land of origin of Gothic


of

193).

(fig.

illustrations

implements

its

lacked the

also

fluence

Here and

twice, suggesting

seven-branched candelabrum

Tabernacle
dered

Forty-one full-page

had a hand

be recalled that the

will

none of which
a coat of arms,

the case, for instance, with Aaron kind-

is

ling the
It

artist

it

to the Bible.

same subject occurs

there, the

that more than one

illu-

leaves, almost

devoted

southern France belonged to the Spanish rather

distinguished in

of other writings.

treatment, be

artistic

illustrations are

some extent

miscellanea, com-

It is a

liturgical texts

the candelabrum.

of 1278.

and other parts

all

193

is

Mu-

the Prophetical Lessons

Just as varied are the artistic illustrations,

ysv VV* V**i **V*J *'

jvnvs

in the British

the inthe

in

upward with

a light

of the body.

the tenth-centurv Egyptian miniature dis-

cussed above

(fig.

179), onlv the wings of the

cherubim on the Ark


In the Sarajevo

of the

Haggadah,

Covenant were
in

visible.

the scene picturing

Jacob's dream, the angels had, indeed,

assumed

human

shape, but

wings.

Our French manuscript has overcome

hesitation

to

their faces

represent

them.

were covered with

In

fact,

there

all
is

hardly a more graceful representation than that


one,

where the cherubim guard the Tree of

Life.

rooted in m< dieval pictorial tradition. In this case,

Youthful figures with lifted wings, they hold slen-

the elongate

der spears in their hands. Here, too,

proportions should be noted; cor-

we

find this

393

THE ILLUMINATION OF HEBREW MANUSCRIPTS

194.

The Gates

of Mercy. Page

from the

Worms Mahzor

of 1272.

IN

THE MIDDLE AGES

(The National Library, Jerusalem).

394

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

395

limitation

the

to

plane.

flat

stead of surrounding the


fashion, are placed

The cherubim,

tree

in

in-

protective

above one another, the upper

protests in his Sepher

such

We

levities.

Hasidim

39(i

709) against

(p.

show, as an example of

cultivated especially in

Germany,

this art,

page not from

ones smaller than those below, as no more space

the twelfth but from the thirteenth century. It

was

from a codex containing the Prophets and Hagio-

available.

grapha

(see

The animal represented

185).

fig.

book of Ezekiel,

here, introducing the

is

is

a lion,

evidently with reference to the prophet's vision.

Rich and enduring was the


Jews

medieval Germany. Here,

in

book among

art of the
it

true,

is

were expelled and massacred, but only

Jews

at specific

The most

interesting

work

German-Jewish

of

manuscript art of the thirteenth century


two- volume

prayerbook

referred

1272,

of

the

is

to

times and in specific regions, so that in the Middle

above, formerly preserved in the Synagogue of

Ages German

Worms, and now

of

territory

Jews or of Jewish
In

there

the

literature

is

sometimes

twelfth-century

was never wholly devoid

artistic

about

achievement.

Hebrew manuscripts

mentioned

commentary

to

this

is

have begun

that

time.

first

Hebrew

volume of

the Worms Mahzor we illustrate


may be interpreted as the Gates

the

Pentateuch

tioned in the earlv morning prayer on the

Hebrew manuscripts must


at

the

illuminated

based on a confusion. However, the

decoration of

From

an

which was owned by the Synagogue of Worms:


but

the library of the

in

University of Jerusalem.

There were

already
at

least

masoretic notes in the shape of animals, for already

Atonement.

of

Their

columns

194) what

(fig.

Mercy, men-

of

on

rest

symbolizing the victory of good over

evil.

Dav

wolves,

Above

the round arch appears a multi-colored city, pro-

bably of Messianic import

the longed-for

Jeru-

salem.

Rabbi Judah the Pious of Regensburg (died 1217)

human

In the representation of the


is

figure there

greater hesitation here than in the above-men-

tioned French manuscript, no doubt because of a


lingering tie with tradition.

A hymn

for the

second

day of Pentecost begins with the words "A loving


hind," and the artist draws

195) two deer

(fig.

pursued bv dogs. Behind them comes the hunter,


but he, too,

is

given the head of a dog. This device

of evading the stern prohibition of the

Ten Com-

mandments by depicting men with animal

common

bird-heads was fairly

man Jewish
striking,

manuscripts, with results sometimes

sometimes merely bizarre.

ous example

po-roarmwi
pre

rwntm^-^TCRi

bition

is

Museum

Bezalel

of Jews; non-Jews,

S3W83tia>vwaaare
*=

*3

to

I'awtrtwTwa
"Oj< 9tf r**;

other
later

liturgical

in

date,

on the other hand, are shown,

manuscript,
in

From

ational

the

Worms Mahzor

Library, Jerusalem).

of 1272.

is

the Giving of the


principal

the

the representations

with their prothe


an-

probably somewhat

the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

Here a portal somewhat similar

hunt.

in

In this, the inhi-

in the self-same scene,

have described
(The

curi-

human heads. In the same tradition as


Worms Mahzor, though less well-executed, is
*

The Dec

most

per

rnjj;itbin'>yp"

8<

195.

haggadah manuscript

in Jerusalem.

was applied only

sometimes

or

medieval Ger-

in

to that

which we

surmounted by a delineation of

Law

characters,

at Sinai, in

which

though wearing the

all

the

tradi-

THE ILLUMINATION OF HEBREW MANUSCRIPTS

397

The Giving

196.

of the

Law and

Whereas
still

pointed hat are given birds' heads

rounded

Romanesque
appear

in

Worms Mahzor

at the top, in

style

later

of

was

accordance with the

architecture,

German

the gate

those which

miniatures are topped

with a pointed arch, demonstrating the triumph


of the Gothic tradition.

One

manuscripts in this style


nides'

1295-96
levi.

in the

is

of the

most beautiful

a codex of

Maimo-

Code, the Mishneh Torah, completed

398

13th-century

(Bodleian Library, Oxford).

196).

(fig.

THE MIDDLE AGES

the defection of the Israelites. Page of a

German Mahzor.
tional Jewish

IN

in

in

Cologne b\ Nathan ben Simeon Ha-

(Academy

of

Codex

Budapest;

Sciences,

Kaufmann 77), (fig. 197). The surfaces of the


letters making up the initial words are decorated
with ornaments and at the same time set off
against a background of stars

Out

of this

background

and

and

little

resemblance to the Sarajevo Haggadah

narrow bands which frame the

squares.

in this there is a

text.

Where

bands again become horizontal, below the

flow
these
text,

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

399

Only
Ml

$03

figures

How

become broader and


develop not only

short

figures of

Sea,

as

(Parma,

height but

in

and massive,

Moses and

century

in

are

Festival

Liturgy
written

of the fifteenth

northern Italy, but by a

German artist.
The most important work

in

this

style

famous Darmstadt Haggadah, preserved


Landesbibliothek of that place.
reproduction of this codex

made

it

much
else

thev increase in

thickness.

illu-

its

conception

symbolism.

drawn the

Jewish

in

but

sacrificial knife,

In

spite
is

in

times hardlv any room


the example which

left for

we show

(fig.

to

a Gothic conception. Like other

in

illustration,

text.

It

originated from sheer

here even illustration of the

naked body (color plate).

The
tinued

graceful
in

style

teuch of about 1300,


rary,

of

now

is

the only one illuminated

medallions,

con-

Penta-

the Schocken Lib-

in

Jerusalem (color plate).

forty-six

manuscript

this

later books, as for instance in a

On

it

page

its first

mahzor, written
Library, Viei

on

ground

spiders'

webs

in

encircling

1347,

now

Biblical

in

the

scenes

198).

National

(cod. hebr. 163) has initial


insisting of lines,

has no fewer than

from the Creation to the story of Balaam.

words

and delicate

as

198.

is

some-

the text which, in

here

of the

is

little

their initials

and animals. There

decorating the manuscript, this one has

no relation to the
joy

which enchant us with


of plants

great deli-

cacy in the slender body of the Patriarch, as

not so

but eagerly read the haggadah, but in the

Abraham has

dramatic impulse of the story, there

scenes

lies

who do

stopped bv an

is

angel descending from heaven.

be expected

remarkable beauty. This

in the figures of individuals,

art-lovers

all

we

example

the

In

Sacrifice of Isaac, a basic

the

complete color

Budapest).

show thev enclose the

in

one of the most familiar of Hebrew

entire pages

Sciences.

the

has

and designs
Moses constrains the people. Marginal miniature from
197.
Mishneh-Torah of Maimonides, written and illuminated by
Nathan ben Simeon Halevi, Cologne, 1296. (Academy of

is

(Leipzig, 1927)

minated manuscripts, and enables


to enjov

the

Rossi 653)

in

Palatina, cod.

probably

breadth.

in

instance,

for

and

and the

people crossing the Red

his

thev are shown


Ribl.

initials

heavier,

and illuminated about the middle

vrqjM

\TP3

do

the fifteenth centurj

in

runners

400

Page of a GeimanMakzor, 134"


National Library, Vienna.

200),

is

>-fLX*

f*

Scenes from Biblical history. First page of a Pentateuch.


Franco-German school. About 1300. (The Schocken Library)

THE ILLUMINATION OF HEBREW MANUSCRIPTS

401

limited to three or four lines. Everything else

THE MIDDLE AGES

IN

402

is

filled with borders or decorations encircling the


initial

word and the

Mishneh Torah

how

clear

it

text.

comparison with the

mentioned

just

Haggadah

the Darmstadt

the lightness and elegance of Gothic

and more

replaces

by a heavier

The manuscript was

solid style.

and illuminated by a certain


of Heidelberg, who,

first

written

ben Meir

Israel

from the

to judge

work, lived in the

his

197) makes

(fig.

style of

half of the fifteenth

century.
Interestingly

enough, a manuscript has been

preserved by the son of this Israel ben Meir,

named Meir

who

Jaffe,

lived in the second half

of the fifteenth century. This


in

the Library

College,

The son took over from his father


for beautiful initials and ornaments;

Cincinnati.

the talent

each page here

framed with an ever-varying

is

border. However, his interest in scenes with


ures

is

more

strongly developed than

One need

with Israel ben Meir.


"Seder Meal"
mot-ier

(fig.

and son

Compared with

only look at his

Haggadah depicted above (fig.


Haggadah has gained in

How much

alone in the table with

symbolic dishes on
where, the

it

its

depth

golden

the

Else-

(fig.

202),

Worms Mahzor
Haggadah

195). However, in the Cincinnati

has another meaning.

there

cloth!

shows us a chase

artist

recalling the hunting scene of the

is

platter,

hidden by a

The sequence

of bless-

be recited when the Seder night coincides

with the termination of the Sabbath forms, with

the

initial letters,

its

slight

alteration

mnemonic

"Jagt

(and

number

of manuscripts of

some printed

trated with a hare-hunt.


nati

was made

Haggadah,

to

form the

den Has" ("chase the hare"), and

later in

in a large

gin

word "Yaknehaz." With but

this

The

in contrast to

artist of

the

German
was

texts)

trees.

Here,

jump, the hare

The

approximately

in its

several

surpasses the Cincinnati

to

illustrations

page,

the

Hag-

Four pages, with

delight of genre.

illustrate

the

preparation of unleavened bread from the mo-

ment when the


to

grain

is

brought to the mills up

Our

the baking of the matzah.

tion

from

shows a

this (fig.

man

and next

to

first

carrying a sack of flour on his back

him

second

man opening

row above, again from the


the housewife filling her bowl with

In the

sack.

one sees

illustra-

203). beginning bottom right,

the

right,
flour.

In the adjoining scene, she kneads the dough, a

boy adding the water. To the

stands the baker,

left

dividing the dough. In the top row a

man draws

carry a trough of water on a stick. Very charm-

hounds

ing,

on the following page,

adults

Second

These

books.

is

the scene where

and children are gathered around a table

to decorate the

matzah with

lightly-sketched

that time, used

escape.

contemporary

gadah

Schocken Li-

water from an ornamental well, while two others

the Cincin-

the

brary, Jerusalem)

in the

ori-

Worms Mahzor,

the hunter runs,

tries to

Nuernberg Haggadah (now

illus-

places this chase in a real landscape with bushes

and

Jonah under the tree. From a 14th century German


Mahzor. (Academy of Sciences, Budapest).

199

family.

little

Cincinnati

the

ings to

father,

participate; they are possibly

space and dimension.

(fig.

the Seder meal of the fourteenth-

century Spanish

it

fig-

the case

is

201). Three persons

the portraits of the patron and his

191),

,-,

haggadah now

Hebrew Union

the

of

is

Even

if

stars, flowers, etc.

illustrations

by German Jews

were,

at

also for secular

book decorations were principally

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

403

Page of Darmstadt Haggadah. (W. Germany, about 1430).

2(J0.

used for religious writings, there was no dearth


of

unhesitating entry of scenes of daily

other, the linear treatment of the subject, placed

For instance, the animal-fables known

on the parchment without a background (often

Meshal ha-Kadmoni ("Ancient Parable") by

at the

the Spaniard Isaac ben Solomon ibn Sahula were,

almost

as

on the

life,

works of a profane nature deemed worthy of

illustration.

as

404

we

are informed,

illustrated

thirteenth-century author;

and

by the

his

original

(fig.

margin of the page), so that the picture


appears

to

as

evidenced by copies

in

example was

Oxford, Milan,

added casually

been

199).

VI

not infrequently followed by later copywriters in

Germany,

have

The art

of Jewish book-illumination reached

and Munich. From the last-mentioned a typical


pen-drawing is here reproduced. We see a shepherd who, while pasturing his flock, light-hear-

art

tedly plays his flute. All

a land of immigration for persecuted Jews,

realism

(fig.

is

executed with powerful

204).

Nuernberg Haggadah were doubtlessly influenced


by contemporary German

main

at that

art

which began

ime.

It

especially

by the

to flourish in Ger-

taught, on the one hand, the

is

to

be anticipated,

in

Italy.

its

In this

country conditions were complicated as far as the


of the

in the

This scene, as well as those in the Second

art of engraving,

zenith, as

ly,

book was concerned.

Italy

and

fourteenth and fifteenth centuries especial-

many "Ashkenazi" Jews who

fled to that coun-

try maintained to a great extent their


tions.

was long

own

tradi-

Those German immigrants, who worked

miniaturists,

have

mixed kind

as

of style, halfway

between German-Jewish and Italian-Jewish

art.

THE ILLUMINATION OF HEBREW MANUSCRIPTS

405

THE MIDDLE AGES

we have some

Nevertheless

begun

IN

manuscripts, perhaps

Spain and completed

in

406

in

or else

Italy,

executed in collaboration between Italians and


Spaniards, the pages of which

and partly

nish

case in point

show

partly Spa-

memorable

Italian influences.

Codex

the Bible

is

in the Library

of the University of Aberdeen, completed in

by a Spanish

1494

probably in Naples. This

scribe,

perpetuates the former Spanish tradition, the Bible


text

being preceded by a number of sumptuously

without, however, any human

decorated pages

figures

grouped around an extraneous

(fig.

206). Memorable, too,

15)

in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris.

parently

brought from Spain to Italy


flight.

Our example

made

in

Italy,

a Bible (cod. hebr.

manuscript,

unfinished

this

is

text

Ap-

was

too,

in the course of the

207), almost certainly

(fig.

shows remnants of Moorish

still

art in the intricate pattern of the right-hand bor-

der.

on

In the main, the Italian style predominates

shows the front of a portal

this folio. It

mal perspective, with those

classic

which earned

name

for this style the

word

first

of the

Passover meal. Illustration from a

201.

Meir Yaffe.

by

Germany,

15th

century.

Haggadah written
(Hebrew Union

College, Cincinnati).

Among

these, to

Simeon,

now

one

creator
in the

Library of Congress, Washington

tration to a verse
straits I called

We

see a

my

man pray-

with folded hands, in his dungeon in a tur-

ing,

where, as so often in the Middle Ages, pri-

soners were confined.

The

city adjoining the

shows decidedly Italian features


broad
in

illus-

from the Psalms, "Out of

upon the Lord."

city hall

and

its

above

tower

it

of

How

determine.

The

imbued

deeply

long

its

tradition
it

is

of

impos-

examples

oldest extant

date no older than to the fourteenth century, but

one

may assume

that

Hebrew

were illuminated long before

codices in Italy
date.

this

As

in

fifteenth

century, a

of book-illumination than did the

was

alreadv

torial art

more

liberally

that

is

to say, to avoid

only the representation of God, but to abstain from

new

immigrants swept into Italy from the

manuscripts

and

Europe,

in

was

Italy

in

fashion to interpret the Biblical prohibition of pic-

wave, partly because, at that time, the

minated

settlement

manuscript illumination dates back,


to

also

book illuminations.

Jewish

with Italian culture.

sible

and

northern Europe, there alternately developed the

Iberian Peninsula. This left fewer marks in the


field

oldest

pervaded

folio is

Italian art,

the

all,

as an independent edifice.

At the close of the

wave

the

native

all

tower which does not, as

Germany, surmount the building, but stands

adjacent to

The

of the portal bearing gar-

typical of

of Italian-Jewish

haggadot including

205). Let us look, for example, at the

(fig.

ret

several

of Joshua written on

manner the whole

lands. In this

by a harmony

mention only one, was Joel ben


of

on the arch

sit

Book

by naked cherubs. Other che-

a small tablet held

rubs

Renaissance,

rounded arch appears

re-birth of antiquity. In the

the

in for-

decorations

German

nothing

nature was at that time no longer


least

of

all

in

books.

Hence, plants, animals and even people are

now

pictured with increasing enjoyment.

art of illu-

declining.

else; for

an object of reverence,

is

supremely charming work,

in

this

respect,

an Italian miscellanv of the late fifteenth or

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

407

202.

The hare-hunt from a Haggadah written by Meir Yaffe. Germany, 15th


(Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati).

ins

century.

Museum

early sixteenth century, in the Bezalel


in

Jerusalem (formerly owned by the Rothschild

family). It

is

greatly to be regretted that here

only one of

its

numerous delightful small pictures

can be shown. This

(fig.

illustrates the be-

208)

ginning of the Psalms, and

we

seated on a red cushion playing his harp.


in a

garden which loses

by the sounds
forest

and

itself in

without

He

This lovely scene

fear.

is

surrounded by a

is

wholly characteristic of Italian-Jewish book

mination,
If,

its

gilt

sits

woods. Attracted

emerge from the

of music, deer

listen

David

see King

framework, and

this again
illu-

joy in creating a picture-like effect.

in fifteenth-century

Germany, there had been

an influence from engravings, with their linear


emphasis, in Italy

it

came from

easel pictures

with their golden frames, decorated churches and


palaces.

This

tendency

towards

even more pronounced


nides'

now

Unfortunately,
.

Prepara

Nuernberg

tor the Passover.

idah.

(Schocken

From

valuable

the

Library,

l:>th

century

Jerusalem).

picture-like

enough

in private

is

Frankfurt-am-

in

hands

in

New

York.

only the second volume of this

manuscript
L
to

effect

manuscript of Maimo-

Mishneh Torah, formerly

Main, but

203.

in a

is

preserved,

prove the eminent

artistic

but

this

is

abilities of

THE ILLUMINATION OF HEBREW MANUSCRIPTS

409

IN

THE MIDDLE AGES

410

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'*>jh>

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jphh.1 l>t

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'fK

The Shepherd. Miniature in the Meshal ha-Kadmoni of Isaac ibn


German MS. of the 15th century, following traditional pattern.

204.

Sahula.

National and University Library, Munich.

Each book begins with an

the illuminator.

word

in

burnished gold

Jewish book-art

is

same time,

initial

this

initial

which

a technique with

But

well acquainted.

word

is

at

the

placed against a

picture illustrating the contents of the tractate.


In this, as in

many

other instances, the

initials

pictures arise not only from an artistic

simultaneously

serve

practical

facilitate the finding of the

section.

Our example

section dealing with


is

(fig.

and

need but

purpose:

thev

introduces the

The Temple

an echo of the Mosque of

picture

which

many

Omar
a

in

Jerusalem,

fifteenth-centurv

brought back with him as a

an

ox,

while a priest pre-

and

left.

Behind the

the undulating countryside with

lies

trees in the distance. All this

in accurate perspective,

is

hills

not presented

but nevertheless achieves

an illusion of depth.

Such a degree

209)

here shown as an octagonal structure, obvious-

of

Temple

possible.

ly

traveler to Palestine

right a youth sacrifices

mastered,

service.

flank the Temple; on the

altars

pares the burnt-offering on the

desired paragraph or

Temple

Two

memento.

more
Thus,

successful
of a

of technical skill having

ambitious

achievements

were

for example,

we have

very

attempt

synagogue

ben Asher's

been

at

in a

representing

the

interior

superb manuscript of Jacob

ritual code, the

Arba'ah Turim, co-

pied for a wealthy Jewish banker in Mantua in


1436, and

now

in

the Vatican Library

(Codex

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

411

112

positions are frequently illustrated. Avicenna, the

great

Arab physician of the eleventh century, was

work ("Canon")

the author of a comprehensive

on medicine, which had become a standard work

in its

Hebrew

that

some wealthy

translation. It was, therefore, natural

fifteenth-century Italian Jew,

probably a physician, commissioned a magnifi-

many

cent copy of this classic; after


the volume

core"*

'HDfi

vicissitudes

today in the University Library

is

of Bologna. Here, too, the books are introduced

bv fully-illuminated pages. The one reproduced


here,

(fig.

210) greatly reduced

in size, introduces

the chapter dealing with the cure of diseases in

we see

general. So

wr tertian

the physician's consulting room,

where the patients wait

their

doctor

hand extended

is

company

seated, his right


instructions

he

Only the

turn.

to ac-

The top and


embody the signs

giving.

is

left-hand margins of this folio

of the zodiac, for astrological considerations


of superior importance in medieval medicine.

were

The

function of the musician depicted at the bottom


is

less

easy to understand.

About the middle


began

serious rival

of the fifteenth

to threaten the hand-written

and hand-illuminated book: the


Page from Haggudah illuminated by Joel ben Simeon,
N. Italy, 15th century.
Library of Congress, Washington, D. C.

205.

555

Rossi

The

interior

the

of

thrown open and permits us

to

synagogue

is

take part in a

Jewish religious service as held in fifteenth-century


Italy.

On

the extreme right

is

noble piece of Gothic carving.

surrounding him

enwrapped

human

in their

figures are

is

in

gracefully intertwined in the

memorable codex there are


composed

similar

in an identical

from contemporary

ner, depicting scenes

fact

man-

life

a court justice, a butcher's shop and a delightful

illustrated

by an

early

der meal

New

211). Now, the participants wear

(fig.

Renaissance

York, from which

the page depicting the familiar Se-

known

to us

costumes of the High

from the pictures of Ti-

tian or Veronese; the table, too,

heavy with foods,

testifies

to the

abundance

Even

in the

seventeenth centurv the art of the

of that time.

written and hand-painted book did not cease, and


in the

will

eighteenth century

be treated elsewhere

other author.

it

had a

in this

revival. This

volume by an-

**

representation of a Jewish marriage of the period.

The

is

the ample and splendid

At the beginning of the three other main sec-

illuminated pages,

This

sixteenth-century Italian haggadah in the Jewish

A dignified old man.

prayer-vestments. Plants and

Illuminated manuscripts yielded to this rival only


gradually.

we reproduce

the congregation devoutly

of printing

together with illustrations

Theological Seminary in

surrounding framework (color plate).

tions of this

letters,

art

the form of woodcuts, and later of engravings.

the Torah-shrine, a

the draped scroll in his hands, stands in front of


it;

with movable

century a

VII

fashionable clothing indicates the prosperity

with which the Italian Jews of that dav were

We

blessed.

Jewish manuscript art on the countries and times

is

Even more

tl

abandoned

at

in in

Germany, the

imes

in

Italv,

religious field

and secular com-

**

have repeatedly

See chapter XII.


See chapter XI.

stressed the

dependence

of

THE ILLUMINATION OF HEBREW MANUSCRIPTS

413

206.

in

which

it

originated. This involves the question

ap-

to

the text sometimes provide us with

conclusive evidence.
scripts

To be

sure,

not

all

manu-

have colophons, and those which have

them usually

tell

THE MIDDLE AGES

414

Introductory page of Bible MS. completed in


1494 in Italy (probably Naples).
University Library, Aberdeen.

whether these works, certainly written by


Jews,
were illustrated by non-Jews? The colophons

pended

IN

of the

work

of the scribe, not of

the illustrator. Nevertheless, there are exceptions,

and these include some manuscripts


tic merit.

To mention

close

the

of

written

in

the most important: at the

thirteenth-century

Germany

of high artis-

(fig.

Mishneh Torah

197),

Simeon Halevi thanks God that


"worthy to write, to complete and

Nathan

ben

He made him
to finish

with

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

415

information

can

be based onlv on

certainly

personal experience. His work

but written in

he

that

is

Hebrew

416

in

is

Portuguese,

which proves

script,

addressing not the general population,

but his co-religionists.


This documentary evidence

many such

reinforced by

would make

various arguments which


that

is

it

likelv

manuscripts, though thev do

not mention the fact, were actually illustrated

by Jews. The Sarajevo Haggadah and the


of the

memorable

Spa-

series of 14th-century

nish haggadot have no colophons.

rest

However, we

often find here several scenes assembled on one

page; for instance, the creation of Eve, the


Fall,

the expulsion from Paradise and the

human

first

couple at work. Christian art would

picture these happenings from left to right.

Here, however, the


right

first

scene starts on the

and continues towards the

direction of

Hebrew

script,

artist-scribe naturally set

left.

Opening page
Spain or

Bible.

of the

Italy,

Book

about

of Joshua in an illuminated

1500.

Bibliotheque

artist of

is

the

and apparently the

down

the sequence of

his scenes in this order. Again:


207.

This

the Christian

the Middle Ages, illustrating the Old

Nationale,

Testament, depended mainlv on the text as

Paris.

painted pictures the book of

Ibn Maimon." The fourteenthcentury Farhi Bible

186)

(fig.

was written and illuminated b\


Elisha

ben Abraham Crescas,

and the Kennicott Bible

(fig.

192), by Joseph Havvim. Here

we have
tion

the interesting situathe

that

illuminator

scribe

are

and the
per-

different

demand for illustrated


manuscripts among Jews in
sons: the

Spain was apparently so great


that

division

of

was

labor

desirable.

We

even know a tractate on

the art of illumination

(Libro

de como se facem as cores)

composed b\

a Portuguese

Jew

by the name of Abraham ben


Judah ibn Havvim. The

trac-

King David. Introductory miniature to the Book of Psalm in miscellany


volume executed in N. Italy, late 15th century. Rothschild MS. in the Bezalel

208.

tate de;ils with the preparation

of colors,

tbove

all

gold.

Such

Museum,

Jerusalem.

Prayer.

From an

illuminated manuscript of Jacob Ben Asher.

Mantua,

Italy,

1436

417

THE ILLUMINATION OF HEBREW MANUSCRIPTS

209.

The Temple. Page from an illuminated MS.


Italy,

The Jewish medieval


on the other hand, knew a large number

he found
artist,

of legends

Bible and

We

in

it

the Bible.

which had been woven around the

made ample

use of them.

see, for instance, in

how Abraham

is

of the

15th century. Private collection.

haggadah manuscripts,

locked into the burning oven

but

Jethro

fully

Pharaoh bathes

in the

Nile

by the Egyptians;

blood of

Israelite children

Maimonides.

Moses

his

is

imprisoned by

daughter,

her. This

Zipporah,

wedding

(illus-

Second Nuernberg Haggadah)

faith-

shows other characteristic features drawn

from dailv

former,

the

by

freed

trated in the

under a

into

of

418

York.

whereupon he marries

body

cast

Mishneh-Torah

New

to rid himself of disease;

by Nimrod, but emerges unharmed; Joseph's dead


is

THE MIDDLE AGES

IN

life.

Thus, bride and bridegroom stand


the

tallit,

and the

to the latter.

mother being next

rabbi,

winecup

in

to

the

hand, next

miniature in the Cologne Mishneh

|EWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

419

which these foods are consumed

German

a
.^t*_^t-**-'-

fir*'

420
portrayed in

is

Bible of the thirteenth century, pre-

Ambrosian Library

in the

served

Milan (cod.

in

hebr. 30-32).

In

spite

humor

the

of

seriousness

of

these

scenes,

occasionally gains the upper hand. In the

Washington Haggadah, we see the

arrival

of

Elijah

who

mount

are also seated no fewer than four children,

riding on a donkey,

is

some on the

and on the same

In the same haggadah the three

tail!

symbolic dishes are reproduced which are essential

to the observance of the Seder service: the

lamb,

paschal

bitter herbs.

unleavened

the

and the

bread

The unleavened bread

is

held aloft

by a monkey, while a man holds up the


herbs, at the

hand

at

his

same time pointing with

bitter

his free

wife! This and similar pleasantries

are repeated also in other haggadot.

Jewish book illuminations, moreover, show, at

which are manifestly Jewish by

times, illustrations

reason of their fidelity to the actual words of the

Hebrew
The

210.

Aviccnna.

Physician. Illuminated page of the

"Canon"

15th century. University Library, Bologna.

Italy,

text.

There

is,

for instance, the sentence

of

occurring in the haggadah:

"Go

forth

and learn

Torah of 1295/96, already mentioned, reinforces

Moses with the Tablets

the point.

men and women

of

illustrates the

Law

of the

stands in front of a rock, from which a

crowd

This apparently

look out.

tells

how

God

turned the mountain over them, saying: "If

as the Israelites reached

you accept the Torah,


mountain

jipB j-cife:" raw

it

is

mount

the

artists,

of

Temple and

Nor

is

it

are

also

Elijah,
its

Messianic

the
or

appearance

the

*"
'

'

"'

':

*J^

of

implements.

onlv the haggadah that exploits these

^filTO.# &

The French miscellany of the thirteenth


century, now in the British Museum, displays on

the

Yakhani or Ziz (a gigantic bird, here shaped

like

separate pages three mythical creatures

an ostrich) the Leviathan (a colossal sea

and the

aurochs

of buffalo with an
is

v\-

scenes,

topics.

mal)

iv<

well; otherwise, this

and therefore presumably painted by

coming

the

sr

Sinai,

-V'.

Jewish

f.-'-v ** \B'9>f.ioi

be vour grave." Completely Jewish

will

in feeling,

well-known Talmudic legend which

(shor

enormous

ha-bar)

tail.

mam-

}0r\ rvv d'jt

137

^7

w*! *ty orp rt$ o*^

kind

Messianic hope

legendarily linked with these animals, which

were

211.

to furnish the food for the righteous in the

Messianic

Kingdom.

Even the

festive

meal

at

The Passover meal. Page from 15th-century

haggadah attributed

Italian

Giovane. Adler Collection


in the Jewish Theological Seminary, New York.
to

Bonifazio

il

THE ILLUMINATION OF HEBREW MANUSCRIPTS

421

what Laban, the Aramean, designed


father"

Jacob).

The

artist

this

by a young wanderer

walking across a

and a book

hand

"Go

rates the phrase,

is

found

(fig.

connection with the "four

in

who have

their different

towards the miraculous happenings of

attitudes

narrative.

"Thou

haggadah

to ask questions," the


shalt

open up

Many

for him."

an

however, deliberately ignoring the true

illustrator,

meaning

"who

As regards the youngest

knows not how


advises:

212); thus, he sepa-

independently. Similar

it

sons" of the haggadah,

the

of the Cincinnati

and learn" from the

forth

context and illustrates

treatment

422

a lance over his shoulder

field,

in his

THE MIDDLE AGES

do to thy

to

illustrates

(i.e.,

Haggadah

IN

of the phrase, puts a

who opens up

companion next

to

mouth. Such peculiar-

this

son

ities

could hardly have been painted by non-Jews.

his

From all this, it is manifest that the number of


Hebrew manuscripts illustrated by Jewish artists
is

handful thus designated

far greater than the

in the

colophons.

From

the Jewish point of view, there were no

objections to calling in non-Jewish assistance in

masters of graphic

art.

Such outside aid can be

traced through the whole history of Jewish

art,

212.

and could

also

have been

making books. In
trast to, for

utilized for the art of

however

this field,

example, architecture

No

favored the Jew.

everything

was

a Jewish scribe

dispensable to a congregation.

The need

of

in con-

matter to what occupations

the majority belonged

The Wayfarer. Marginal illumination to Haggadah


ben Simeon. Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati.

Joel

for

in-

Torah

ments through personal inhibitions (by the pro-

outward

hibition of

making images)

restrictions

(by not being accepted into guilds),

or through

they found the art of book-making in

many

cases

prayer-books, codices of the Talmud, the

the only channel for their artistic urge. For this

works of the great religious sages, marriage con-

reason medieval illuminations are of such great

scrolls,

tracts

and

bills

of divorce

was

sufficient to give

him, at least in a larger community, a full-time

occupation

and

at

the

same time an assured

livelihood.

Torah

scrolls

were concerned, had

it

follows that

some

as far

meet not

to

only ritual but also aesthetic requirements.


this

peoples, the art of illumination

From

of these scribes felt im-

pelled to decorate their manuscripts,

with

illustrations.

Barred from other

initials,

where

ornaments

permissible,

it

was

and even

artistic

achieve-

is

only one aspect,

and not even the most important one,


the art of the book
activity.

All

talent

of their

For medieval Jews, however,

artistic productivity.

Such writing required great care and,


as

Among other

significance for Jewish art in general.

is

is

the center of

all

directed toward

artistic

it.

Here,

the rich storehouse of Jewish thought and imagination,


find

of Jewish

pictorial

solemnity and Jewish humor,

expression.

And

here,

finally,

we

have the clearest evidence of the fact that the


Jews of the Middle Ages enjoyed form and

color.

THE ILLUMINATION OF HEBREW MANUSCRIPTS


AFTER THE INVENTION OF PRINTING
ERNEST

by

With the

invention of printing the role played

by miniatures and illuminations

came

in

an end. Calligraphy was

to

European

art

to eke out a

precarious existence in the chancelleries;

do-

its

main would no longer be the book but the manudocuments and diplomas, and

facture of

would be exposed
the printed

From

in

its

too,

it,

turn to the influence of

M.

NAMENYI

the sopherim

were able

printing at the

art,

The miniaturists
long tradition, had acquired

aspiration

artistic

which thev

outside of their

principal vocation. Thus, for example, scrolls of

the Book of Esther

hanced with

artistic

for the creative

were often en-

(megilloth)

work

Another

decorations.

field

of scribes, in the countries

where Sephardic culture predominated, was the


preparation

letter.

the point of view of

an

to satisfy fully only

And

of

or marriage

ketuboth,

contracts.

in the eighteenth century there re-

finally,

and prayer-books

outset led to an impoverishment.

appear haggadoth

and illuminators

with miniatures, as well as communal registers

an unusual
Rich

page.

of

facility

the

in

were

patrons

art

of

decorating

accustomed

to

this

magnificence and regarded printed books as the

product of a craftsman, not of an


in

order

conceal

to

incunabula

were

entrusted

to

Indeed,

artist.

the

plainness,

their

miniaturists

and

designs.

was

This

the

case,

and subsidiary

charities

organizations.

The forms

of

European

art applied in all these

We

fields of artistic activity.

will revert to

them

first

one by one. Baroque and rococo became a uni-

in

versal language, culminating in the classicism of

order to be embellished bv hand with ornamental


letters

and those of synagogue

illustrated

for

the end of the 18th century. Nothing contributed

more

to the dissemination of these forms of ex-

example, in various copies of the earliest edi-

pression than the spread of the art of engraving.

Hebrew Bible. But such survivals


were exceptional. The ornamentation of printed
books took before long a new direction in accord-

Through

men and

ance with the techniques of printing and the

inspiration from

tions

of the

number

ever-increasing

which poured

of copies

this

means, the sopherim,

artists,

of art of all

became

like all crafts-

familiar with the works

Europe. They were thus able to draw

illustration of

it

for decorative motifs

books and

and the

scrolls.

from the press.


Nevertheless, in Jewish book art, printing did
II

not completely eliminate miniature


as late

as the

and even

17th and 18th centuries, Jewish

The outward form

found one of

contract,

artistic creation
istic

art,

expressions

in

its

most character-

illuminated

books.

The

is

of the ketubah, or marriage

not fixed by any religious prescrip-

tion; only its contents are

determined by rabbinic

sopherim (or scribes) never disappeared from the

rules.

scene of Jewish

proved by documents dating from the 10th cen-

to

copy Torah

life,

scrolls

texts for use in the

governed

this

because

and

it

was

their

duty

certain other religious

synagogue. Strict regulations

type of work,

all

artistic

fantasy

being exclv ded. The constant desire to give a


perfect form

their calligraphv preserved

among

tury.

the

The custom

of

illuminating

ketuboth

is

Thus, one marriage contract discovered in


Cairo Genizah has

its

text

encircled

by

colored architectural decoration in micrographic


writing;

while some of the text

The custom

is

to decorate ketuboth

in

color.

seems

to

have

213.

been widespread

Illuminated

later

on,

marriage-contract

for

the

first

{k,etubah)

known

medieval specimen after the one referred to above,


is

426

THE ILLUMINATION OF HEBREW MANUSCRIPTS

425

of

German

(Austria).

It

origin,

Padua 1670. Museo Correr. Venice.

these works of art prior to the 17th century have


survived.

The

largest

number

of

them (with the

being dated 1391 at Krems

exception of some Oriental-style ketuboth from

husband placing the

North Africa and the Balkans, which seem to

represents the

ring on the finger of his bride.

However, few of

preserve an old tradition of exuberant

floral

deco-

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

427

rations),

come

essential

home

one another

428

which was the

seasons, while the legendary coats-of-arms of the

of this art. Here, families vied with

twelve tribes of Israel are also sometimes included

to us

from

Italy,

commissioning richly-illuminated

in

In more elaborate miniatures a drawing of the

ketuboth on the occasion of a marriage: indeed


the Sumptuary Laws enacted by the community
of Ancona in 1776 forbade its members to spend
more than the sum of 40 poali in the illumination

is

of the marriage contract.

we

In the 17th century, the forms of Italian ba-

roque dominated the

conception of these

artistic

213).

(fig.

City

Jerusalem

of

("That

the

in

Psalm

of

spirit

my

place Jerusalem at the head of

On

frequent.

quite

find a

of illustrations

series

"Thy wife

be

shall

ketuboth

certain

of

137
joy")

again,

Psalm 128:

as a fruitful vine, in the in-

nermost parts of thy house; Thy children

like

documents with many remnants of the soberness

olive plants,

of the Renaissance. In the 18th century the forms

occasionally depicted in contemporary costume.

baroque

of

but

remain,

excess

certain

of

of Esther

ketubah of 1756 (British Museum, MS. Or. 6706)

bears the

decoration

the

has

appears.

within

written

text

superb

portico

two

of

twisted columns surmounted by cherubs. At the

two miniatures ornament the work, the

base,

whole completely encircled by a cut-out garland


colored

of

The

flowers.

grace

more severe

classical taste

example

for

as

expressing

also

by

one

in

makes

of

the light

itself

Towards the end

decoration.

floral

rococo,

of

forms

structural

baroque are before long supplanted

rich

in

of the centurv

appearance,

its

document

beautiful

decorated in Ferrara in 1775, bearing the majestic figure of

Ohio).

cinnati,

The

Samuel (Hebrew Union College, Cin-

is

often placed inside

an architectural doorway, sometimes

in a portico

with two openings, recalling the tablets of Moses.


In the Balkans and Islamic countries of the old

Ottoman Empire, these doorways occasionally take

window

the form of the outline of a

or

mihrab (prayer-niche). Floral decoration


lacking,

bearing the

inevitablv

imprint

is

of

never

of

the

generally

encircles

of the

the

two families

traditional

a very

overtones,

coats-of-arms

common

motif in

Another
signs

the

of

the zodiac,

engraving

as well as
s\

element

in

frequently
thus

certain

used

creating

printed

were
link

the

with

prayer-books,

with the floor mosaics of the Galilean

nagogues o

zodiac are con

he Classical period. The signs of the

lemented bv svmbols of the four

lend

illuminated,

with representations of

too,

and Eve, the

Ketuboth are frequently

text.

Adam

married couple, shown under

first

Knowledge

the Tree of

Garden

in the

of

Eden.

such iconographic elements, themes in

Besides

with

connection

the

about

individuals

be

to

married were used to decorate these contracts.

Rabbi Abraham de Boton


1588),

in

responsa

his

in

ketubah

the

the

discusses

(15),
of

(1545-

Salonica

of

portraits

the

of

married couple, together with the sun and the

moon.

He

tates to

does not approve of

oppose

it

it,

though he

outright. Nevertheless,

on a 1718 Sienna ketubah

(e.g.,

Museum, Budapest) pictures


their wedding clothes. On an
contract

of

hesi-

we meet

in the Jewish

the

couple in

elaborate marriage

(probably executed in Amsterdam)

of

two members of the Texeira and the de Mattos

who were joined in wedlock in Hamwe see not only the portraits of the

in 1690,

married couple under a huppah or canopy held

up by cherubs, but

also the entire assemblage,

including a rabbi reciting the benedictions, and


the hazan holding a wine-goblet

Italy.

Mordecai

are surrounded by minuscular

Songs or kindred

families,

folkloristic

and the Book

of Songs

ornamental patterns of the Song of

writing in

burg

with

These are

one of the bridal couple

of Esther or

Some specimens

period and the place where the work was done.

sometimes

if

table."

themselves particularly to the marriage contract.

In cities without artistic tradition, this floral decoration,

especially

name

inclusion

text of the contract

Song

Illustrations of the

Modena

Thus

round about the

It

was

common

of the married couple


lical personalities

duties

were

(fig.

214).

practice to allude to the

by scenes representing Bib-

whose names they

and the occupations

also illustrated.

names

of the

carried.

The

young couple

Thus on the Sienna ketubah,

mentioned above, the virtue of hospitality

is

rep-

THE ILLUMINATION OF HEBREW MANUSCRIPTS

429

214.

Top

of illuminated

marriage-contract.

Hamburg,

430

Hayim Seminary,

1690. Etz

Amsterdam.

resented by a series of miniatures. These portray


tht-

husband and

his bride receiving distinguished

on horseback

visitors

in front of their

house; the

husband followed by servants bearing provisions;


the housewife

drawing wine from a cask and

turning the millstone; and finally the guests


ting

around the table with

The names

sit-

who

illuminated these

marriage contracts are not generally known, nor

were always Jews, though

certain that they

is

it

few signed specimens are extant which prove

that this

was sometimes the

The framework

was sometimes

engraved, instead of being painted by hand. In


Italy,

we

find a beautiful

plate form

surmounted by

and

name
tribute

to

his

type, with

1693, for example, the

(in

Haham

much-loved

the

of

recently deceased,

was added

at

Isaac Aboab,

the base as a

memory) was current for many


the Age of Emancipation. A

until

copy executed by H. Burg was

in use in

London

middle of the 19th century.

until the

Although the ketubah was the most

document
with

and

decorations

architectural

young couple. This

some modifications

be illuminated,

to

it

common

did not

stand

Other opportunities were taken by sopherim

alone.

case.

of the ketubah

floral

the drawing of a

generations,

their hosts.

of the artists

plain

artistic

of their

and elaborate copper-

fashion.

Adam and

talent to

enhance the magnificence

work by the use


Next

in

of miniatures in a similar

order

of

prominence are the

Eve, nude,

epithalamia or marriage-poems, generally in Heb-

under the Tree of Knowledge, with vignettes and

rew. Floral decorations, with allusions to the sub-

bevies of putti (cherubs) below: this seems to be

ject

of the sixteenth century


at

and was perhaps executed

Mantua. In Holland, Salom

engraver of Italian origin of

painter and

Italia, a

whom we

shall

speak

again in various connections, produced, at about


a

1648,
colored
rural

scenes.

another,

ketubah

copper-plate

by

far

hand)
This

showing

was

simpler,

in

later

(subsequently
a

number

superceded

Dutch

taste,

of

bv
with

matter of the

poem

(e.g.

a house for the

newly-wed) were often appended


ments
not

in Italy

lacking.

to

such docu-

and Holland. Other occasions were


Rabbinical diplomas, for example,

could be ornamented with the crown of the Torah

and encircled by decorations


and cherubs. The custom
iatures

Jews,

university

of acanthus leaves

of decorating with min-

diplomas

when they graduated,

(including those
for example, at

of

Padua

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

431

432

period) could well serve

at this

There

as a model.

extant even

is

member

a license for a

of

wealthy family to act as shohet

which

or ritual slaughterer, in

man

the decoration includes a

performing

We

this function.

charmed by the

are

rah")

which

to

prayer,

in

("miz-

direction

eastern

the

nai-

mark

vete of the tablets used to

turned

one

decoration

as

for

the walls of the succah on the

Feast

amulets

or

Tabernacles,

of

215). Thus, for

(fig.

parchments

mystical

example,

as

bearing the divine

name

shad-

dai represent the best in the

Jewish popular art of Alsace.

Other instances are the omer

\\5.

Academy

Cut-out panel ('Mizrah'). Galicia, 19th century.

of Sciences, Budapest.

which were common

calendars,

while one executed at Castelnuovo near Sienna

in all countries.

1567),

(c.

now

in the library of the

Hebrew Uni-

Ill

versity, Jerusalem,

The main

field of artistic activity

maintained by

the sopherim after the invention of the printing


press

was the ornamentation

Book

of Esther.

of the scrolls of the

For the ceremonial reading by

minated.

On

decorated rather than

is

illu-

the other hand, the illuminations to

the Book of Esther in the Alba Bible, executed

with Jewish collaboration in Spain

the 15th

in

century, reproduce certain characteristic features

the hazan in the synagogue on the feast of Purim,

of the later megillah illumination

only scrolls written according to ritual prescrip-

emptying of household refuse on the head

could be employed. For private use, how-

tion

ever, illuminated megilloth

were

in great fashion.

Moreover, while the decoration of the ketaboth


is

limited

to

countries

ment

of

and

Italy,

to

lesser

Sephardi tradition,

the

extent the

embellish-

Europe

of the megilloth obtained all over

from the 17th century onwards. The

con-

text

tinued to be written generally in the traditional


fashion, but the scrolls

How
A
of

the

early

is

the

but

obviously

to

belongs

is

to

Library

clearly

the

the

ascertain.

dated

17th-18th

with the date 1512 in the John

Rylands Libran

costume and gen


least

illuminating

in sepia in the

Athenaeum, Liverpool,

century; anoth

at

of

impossible

superb unique specimen

1453,

of

tradition

back

goes

two

Manchester, displays the


\\

enemy

style,

characteristics of a period

jenerations

after

this

date;

of

imagining him to be his Jewish

Mordecai

and

makes

this

it

con-

ceivable that illuminated megilloth were

known

the Iberian Peninsula at this period.

Extant

in

specimens of the

late sixteenth century

both from

Central and from Southern Europe plainly indicate a long antecedent tradition.
in

were decorated with minia-

tures or with a copper-plate or etched frame-work.

megillah

her husband,

Zeresh's

(e.g.

any
In

case, the record

Italy,

may be

two types

From

this period,

continuous.

is

of

illuminated

megilloth

distinguished. One, the most frequent,

purely ornamental.

The columns

framed with ornaments, either

is

of the text are

linear,

formed

of

entwining ribbons of rich fantasy and coloring, or


else

used,

acantho-floral;
in

imitation

sometimes,
of

the

animals too are

frames adorning the

pages of the Renaissance manuscripts. Occasionally,

the beginning of the

into

a point,

owner's family

scroll,

which

is

cut out

contained the coat-of-arms of the


in

the midst of lavish ornamenta-

THE ILLUMINATION OF HEBREW MANUSCRIPTS

433

tion.

The

illustration of the text itself,

stands by

however,

Thus, for instance, a beautiful

itself.

megillah of the beginning of the 17th century in

Rome

the Bibliotheca Casanatense in

(Cas. 4851)

and geometrical ornamentation

retains the floral

between the columns, but above these displays


illustrated

miniatures

the

of

episodes

various

norms

prescribed

enclosed

all

geometric

within

In most cases, however, an architectural decoration prevails.

The

text

is

framed by the arches

an arcade and surmounted by elaborate tym-

panums. The twisted columns are girdled

in ac-

cordance with baroque taste with garlands of


flowers,

and

and support cornices adorned with vases

allegorical figures.

Between the bases

columns and above the columns of

of the

text there are

which hangs one

of the ten unfortunates

associated with Purim

banquets,

the

the presentation
dancing.

The

of gifts,

produced the splendid megilloth preserved

artists

Collection in the

and

in the

stress

is

Esther.

Museum

Budapest

of Sciences of
in

London. In

this

Holy Scriptures and the Book

The symbolic human

and those above the columns

of text

and the customs of Purim.

i"' t *ii^

tynw"?

>

otnca

d"i"->n *^*i

ti-^o

is

tT

{njf "-itfN

fVHHb*i -J->or~i

a-3o->i-t

>f?nti
-*i*rt tJfcD3 Hp ~tp>>,

i*

>

IWirt

IS

oSf-iri tsrt-i'NO opjnH- fwn oi*H tr-tir**


*isHr3 o*>tA*i ta+HV-iso wv* s"J-ir>f>Nrt
*5rv-sa>
rron tfc"fc/3 rtjnj
1
J-V>tfljn -vm J
or-i t-y->n li/ishs -f-yr^rr *iiHrs
tyr^i toJ*-* fii v'-or^i rt
Y+r-vrvie tu/ity
~ii ttt
J
<
vp't tk/fc'j ttnafc'i rt-itt* r-ir-> r - to
t i r- H
? rtfrolf i
-vp l->331 f-^j^-i,^,, ,-j,^^,^ i,;,^,
*-afr -iIs/m oif^w
{-tr-ifcHp oWiHt*H> i^/tj/, rtrtot- ir'ja n-m -f-.o^'
u-yir J t1t MfYs t-^ * a^rt'riD V""*** "nlo e^a-n sib
rffe/iM^a -y-^ fc,-^ tttfj-, t,HrfV ifc/p t3'jfc>sii tst-r 1
mtt/piH1
\Si-t pye-r >fcT< i3t3i* -ti&x-7 ij-tHi -|'
>i3f" T
ni&i "th orra bii-,^1-7 D^vrrir a.j* 1
fcT< ni'n
at*
1
tynij-ttt ito'-jk"
->fipi q^'Hlfc/i Man,
i
ttc/t* jor-t
k/oifcfffr< -froft r-iij > o ^
333 tot-H' >X'i t3*'ir-t*r-t
*7i>i 3 BrttfijA -top t<V {y 'ki
1 't/p303 H" ft'-nt/
u_,p ^f>fl
D'Ja->* fc'"Hf" r-i-cc-tor-T <-ife.' Hoi a^nprt
Try^elfio i' >o' >
itfK r-rsN
iw-H fc>i r"^flrt
'
*=>
-3
3
r
Trt.a
->bi "a ta "
'Hi "W
ijh
IpOk-'l "T
*ritS <3 tat-V 17iarT J i*33j 3~*r
rHVi-Sij -T^iin "y-y >a U"t<r*t *s rtiJ'^iof-i "-^ai -iSii-i
\'
^pNi i 1m? 3i*V r-i3a ot-4
H>3ii ti +-nn-i'rJ is'i
,,
5
^te.'iti/iji TaJiV'
iK3r
3TiNil^i Uca"!
ti'ort
iW>r>3
liixi t3*-*-mi't-r 13
J
tt~n

*ato<

*-r-'ft*Ti f->nti

'

illuminated

in

sepia.

South France, early

'

'

Ho

'

'

of Esther,

onp

Scroll

'1

-^

MV

Tpi

can

16th century.

its

represented

ya ay-intfAwrr
HrtpnS -v.fi -vp H03
xrnivi n*te'Ji tp ant< tr-iyrr rtJ'-io' op S*rV Ho jin jt3k u
~<&Sr nteiHco U/i-"fc>f'N -iHio^t j-uv-ro Has *^'H< am ush
p* "truriV insrt Wfni) -v-vx k-Hrft rr -fc>p ai& k'-tftH
ty
wvr r jnmHi o-opft Ho ? "iH>i ru+i tTJC^o Hoi
>

The

vivacity.

its

completely different tradition

>item

illustrate

completely harmonious and, despite

is

richness, never loses

Jrwr

216.

The

medallions between the pedestals of the columns

traditional

X.

of

on top of the

figures

balustrade refer to the moral of the story.

Itfta'

F=P

work

on the connection between the various

of the

parts

Kaufmann

of Padua, the

Academy

Jewish

laid

the narrative

the

a re-

The same way competent eighteenth-century

whole

end), the customs

up with

presentation of a gallows on successive stages of

vignettes, illustrating the events told in the story

the

of

an otherwise blank column. The fantasy of the

and

(generally towards

the condemned

should figure, in bold characters,

by the Jewish community

patterns.

of

names

the

that

Haman

Book

of the

text

miniaturists sometimes filled this

of the Book, taking into account the midrashic

interpretations,

for the writing of the

sons of
in

434

!^^

Roth Collection, Oxford

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

435

217.

Scroll of Esther with cut-out borders illustrating the story of the

Book,

436

etc.

Roth Collection, Oxford.

by

a series of megilloth superbly executed in sepia.

Between the columns


story

nations found sometimes on ketuboth were widely

current in Holland during the 17th century and

around medallions with heads. Below,

wers and

lions

beautiful

piece,

seems

flo-

surrounded the medallions. This


resembling

wood-engraving,

show

tumes, too,

216).

(fig.

one executed

late copies

(e.g.

by a Polish

artist,

ably the finest

Of

exist,

at

type

this

of

including some

Venice

in

1748

Arveh Loeb ben Daniel). Probthe one in the Roth Collection,

is

Oxford, which was found (together with another


of the

same type) by the present owner

French

origin,

It

is

where they remained

Alongside these illuminated

from

of

one here illustrated

which are

with

(fig.

The

218), several copies

quietness of the orna-

is equaled by the beauty of the vigThe arcades vaulting the columns are surmounted by a balustrade adorned with flowers

mentation
nettes.

probably

emanating

from

the

indeed likelv enough that wood-

(presumably made

in

the 17th and 18th centuries) an elaborate

Rabillu-

mination presenting scenes of the stories of Esther,


cut out of the parchment, with superb
silk lining

laced frame to the

Museum

underneath and forming a

text.
in

skill,

There are instances

London and

in the

in

Roth

unfortunately unsigned, but per-

birds.

Between the bases

Biblical novel.

entrance

The

the

of

last

of the

columns there

engraving represents the

Messiah into Jerusalem, taken

from the Venice Haggadoh of 1609, giving a


messianic character to the whole.

The

technical

execution was as folloyvs: the decorative portion


the

of

fh

extant.

megilloth

Outstanding among these

copper-plate borders.
is

century

appear

and

In other megilloth

seventeenth

the

scrolls there

are twenty vignettes depicting the story of this

century.

Collection,

middle

of

certain Jewish communities early in the 16th

the Jewish

in fashion until the

of the 19th century.

to

thus,

engravings illustrating the Book of Esther existed

showing the

mizrahs

folkloristic

good reason

is,

Jewish communities of Avignon and the Comtat


Venaissin.

way on

their

Hungary, Poland, Alsace and North Africa,

into

was an engraved prototype

South of France. There


believe that there

the

in

made

thence

be of a 16th-century tvpe, as the cos-

to

megillah several specimens

is

217). Such illumi-

of text the characters of the

flutter

in

(fig.

were drawn on a black background. Above,

garlands of foliage gush out of vases, while birds

in

haps from the same hand

scroll

vignettes,

was printed from one

which

yvere

inserted

the

plate;

later

on,

from

separate small plates, into the open spaces; the


text

was then

Two more
great

many

filled in

bv hand.

engraved megillotli are extant

copies. In both, the

columns of

are separated by decorative pillars.

one

is

in a
text

The top

of

adorned with small landscapes having no

connection with the contents of the Book, while

THE ILLUMINATION OF HEBREW MANUSCRIPTS

437

the bottom sixteen vignettes follow the story

at

and

finish

with an illustration of the celebrations

P u rim. These vignettes, printed from separate

of

with vases containing

plates, are joined together

The page containing the

had

previously,

great

438

influence

Oil

the

hand-

illuminated megilloth of the eighteenth century.

The

engraver Francesco

Christian

Venice

produced

also

Crisellini

of

megillah

in

beautiful

is

1748, framing the text with arcades capped bv a

framed with scenes of the story of Esther. The

balustrade with vases of flowers and birds, and

other megillah, probably Italian of the seventeenth

illustrating

flowers.

century,

is

notable for the medallions placed above

the written columns;

the

The

initial

last plate,

five

characters

Esther, Zeresh and

boards
of
of

surrounded by acanthus

framing the blessings, has

word with ornamented

as tail-piece,

lettering and,

(Haman, Mordecai,

Harbona) carrying oval

sign-

probablv characteristic of the decor

contemporary Purim plavs. These two variants,


less

artistic

below the

value than

the

scroll

described

the storv of Esther

vignettes set

in

text.

In the middle of the seventeenth century the

each contains the bust of

a character in the story,


leaves.

blessings

moved from

production of engravings

to

Italy

Amsterdam. The megilloth executed bv Salom


Italia in

Amsterdam

art.

We

the

conception

know two

markable

are

among

of his

the finest in Jewish

works

in copper-plate;

and execution are both

artistry.

He

places

the

of

re-

characters

on

pedestals between the columns of text.

framed bv a

The

rich architectural design with

text

is

baroque

B3iw

BPOVJMi

rn^onrrt^riH*T3T5, nrw> n?3 *3-raH


rvyi o.-n*yav rrnovi wr?* s-okj
Jt ^OTTyb 3ViB > n;nn3yrspT^;yft
k

njnipur

rraa
Bbp '30
t

>

h3WB 3rrt"'*30 "'CD^b)i-ftorir!3?3O3


trie

mi

^-an# "wwyw*iwrt7Tnritf'*!
oiai <p rpr-iyyw o**""'"'*^
tns

an

jj

rw'

tmyvh
ni"psn

rTTri'f7onTri3S (Din-'iK>''OT^irtnDTvJ
vymptpg1?
fa it -ry anfignrarura
,

wprv

'<

If

^1

'

r-

br1 yv) r-ntp -ntx to rwjr?


"Tins

r*<*'i

""* pwarn t-va rt*

KbiTsri

* p warn pan -<? Htn

^Twn "iiBS'Bnwnwrw "rwSmy


s?tp

Scroll

of Esther with engraved

to

,-rtK
,

W^anrao'inHDjwr&Tww-pnhpri
Sag rwt' onTT TfWojntfTO to o' qp

r^^TO#on^r^bira N}eo- 33
,

borders.

-fjraac

Km -nsy dw anrb annei oiS dvd pn

"Wl

Sssnrb

218.

f won

pir)Nrntt'vicroK4aro , ^T's-->SycM<
7*3Nl7*rtl

t|
|v,

o-T^oyttfr*n?rwro 70 i33->?e<o-n-n IS
CPT-Itt'r"W3 fOT&TriKnpl'nnSHn3

<

Hasin^rranripwnpTmBrrnffi-nM

nyiw

*3"i"'03T* itis-'S yyys rsMronpriNSfn

^WTsnrbpHB^iwps^w^mrvs

; c

ipn'ro

porhn

_^,

Italy,

17th century.

ft

irmt"
-ipNPrt

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE ACES TO THE EMANCIPATION

439

tympanums crowned by

women

made

of

figures

devoid of grace, using flowers and the signs of

charming

These engravings are missing

same hand we have

They

loth.

the

engraved

same

artist's

signature.

megillah of outstanding

made in 1687 in Amsterdam


by Aaron de Chaves. The text is surrounded by
by

lush floral ornamentation animated

The only

of creatures.

ning of the

scroll, a

kinds

all

illustration is at the begin-

medallion representing Esther

The seventeenth-century megilloth with copperornamentation are either of Italian or of

Dutch

origin.

From 1700 onwards

engraving appear also


scroll

in

decorations by

Germany. One such

with decorations was executed by the Chris-

tian painter-engraver,

The border

and

nette

J.

J.

Frank around 1700.

of the scroll consists

of acanthuses

enriched with birds and female torsos and of oval


medallions with landscapes.

The columns

of text

is

(but

not

One

attractive

colored

many
fine

illuminated)

of

scrolls

less frequently, in

Persian type shows the text within

Here the hypothe-

borders.

Haman and

ancestry of

tical

Paris),

of Marie-Antoi-

guillotine

Esther were found also, though


the Orient.

generations,

is

Mordecai, for

of

embossed with

elaborately

decorative effect. Perhaps the most curious

illuminated megillah from the East

one (Roth

is

Collection) apparently executed for the last sur-

China

in

the

of

(fig.

community

'lost'

of this scroll

is

decorated with the

Buddhist and Confucian symbols. To-

classical

wards the end, illuminations


so that

figure,

Kai-Feng-Fu

of

in the nineteenth century.

219) early

The beginning

Chinese

we

dress,

are

in the fullest sense

shown an executioner

Chinese

culinary preparations

and

making

children

in

their

(in the usual place, at

the foot of the penultimate column)

gaily cele-

brating the feast.

by vases

are separated by twisted columns topped

Collection,

beheaded by the

Decorated

vivors

before Ahasuerus.

plate

(Klagsbald

century,

where Vashti assumes the features

merit was

artistic

end of the eigh-

a crude Alsatian scroll of the

the

scrolls, a medallion borne by two angels carries

the

the most interesting of these

the

At the beginning of the

scrolls.

is

conception as

artistic

Among

the zodiac.

teenth

some pen-drawn megil-

also

are of the

in

From

the smaller one of 1660.

scroll,

of the

in 1637, vignettes representing the

of

larger

landscapes are engraved between the bases of the

second

text

Biblical story with a naive decoration, not entirely

the

In

various scenes of the story, as well as

columns.

which frame the

megilloth,

loristic

these

holding palms.

scrolls,

and

flowers

440

IV

with flowers and small statuettes. At the beginning of the scroll three small engravings illustrate
the story of the Book. In

engravings,

the

text

all

these megilloth with

remains written by hand,

except for the column showing gallows and the

names
ever,

of the sons of Hainan.

Two

megilloth how-

were engraved entirely on copper

one

an indifferent piece of the eighteenth century, the


executed by Marcus Donath

other,

(Hungary), a work of candid

Nyitra

From
numbers

in

megilloth

were produced

at

folklore.

copper-plate borders

water-color.

in

great

Germany. These are only variants

the engraved scrolls; indeed, in

give

1834

the seventeenth century onwards, hand-

illuminated

actual

in

Some

evidence

craftsmanship

of

of them,
fine

are

some

enhanced with

on the other hand,

artistic

taste

In the beginning, as

generally in S uthern

of

cases the

Germany,

and

solid

was the case

Italian influence

predominates. There are a great number of folk-

There

is

a close relationship

between the

engraving and good penmanship.


ral that

Amsterdam, where

for

art of

only natu-

It is

more than

a hun-

dred years Hebrew books had been published with

ornamental engravings, should also witness the

penmen whose production

rise of fine

transcends

the level of craftsmanship. Epithalamia


riage

poems) were very fashionable

especially

among

(i.e.

mar-

at the time,

the Sephardim, and as has been

mentioned, were presented to the bridal couple

an

artistic

in

form. Another matter for calligraphers

were books of apologetics

in

Spanish,

which,

because of their anti-Christian polemic character,

were not intended


of excellent

to

be printed.

whole

line

penmen produced manuscripts which

give clear evidence of the high artistic standard


of the

Dutch metropolis. Prominent among them

was Jacob Gadelle, who was an


of calligraphy in

Amsterdam

in

influential teacher

the middle of the

THE ILLUMINATION OF HEBREW MANUSCRIPTS

441

442

'

*,

n*oT jron:^ Thorf? -pah

Wi poMUn

&/r^j>Kik^m8)roh *qw znwmpn

*in msD^-ypinsiv^o Dtt*h Sjif^-i

vex TQjtrn rjrpi t$ "psb pa rp TVjri *


"it's

anwr ->ho 33 jnPirfc TO^Sy ox

pnrop-c^pxi Dpi rrornr^ }ry^3"

t^^rpfrrpnfppp^pTrypx^rirj

dt px Wtep hban

3n^ "phj tcn r Thro Qft&jjtD D*Wh oro

rvife^p

rm *^\x pk an wpSapi aton

219.

seventeenth century.
extant

still

perfect

testify

skill in

The specimens
to

rather

copyists,

who

Abraham Machoro
beu

(c.

(c.

Hebrew Union College


artist.

In

pages, as

1675) whose

(c.

(c.

1719).

museum

in Cincinnati,

Amsterdam

in

was

collaboration

in

.'jWki'

of

masters begin to

1775.

in

number

make

of

their

From about

1756 Yekutiel

who worked

Solomons,

appearance

same

Oxford

in

this

competent writing-

other centers of Western Europe

1700), Jehudah Macha-

produced bv an excellent scribe


with a real

time, moreover, a

at

in various

Israel

e.g.

about the

time.

Another type of Hebrew illuminated manu-

engage us elsewhere,

small masterpiece, at present at the

of the

an aristocratic family

initials.

and Michael Lopez

1664)

hand
taste,

executed such work,

include Benjamin Senior Godines


rich artistic production will

title

<

China. Early 19th century.

in

of his

pedantic

the execution of the

well as of the richly-ornamented

Noteworthy

community

Scroll of Esther executed for the last survivors of the 'lost'

Kai-Feng-Fu

Jfehtej

bw$

rJPB| tf$*WJ* nuoiwai hhafe* ftrfep

W mfct?

-rep n"ifd tsp p^aj iibHflW^ "^p


pr^h bh^Sfra Inrw oittifoso hw
u
.r-^t'orncrTpx^^r x ptasJB *p* 373^1

it

which derives from

of this period,

script

of peculiar interest.

many households

in that

Italy,

precious possession in

country was a

roll

some-

times transferred into book-form) in which were

recorded the various

briefly

cities

and holy

sites

of Palestine, including the graves of the "saints"

and

periods which

Sopher wrote a small psalter containing a pen-

of the

drawing of David, with a convincing expression

were the objects of pilgrimage. These brief des-

of majestv

and humble devotion. The rococo

page and decorative vignettes

imitate

is

David

work

of

is

signed A.

Israel.

copper-

edition of the
"al

The

picthis

question.

Aron Santcroos, who signed the

Talmud (1752-1765)

in

yede Aharon bar Avraham Yisrael."

finally

illuminated

to celebrate a

there

Hebrew

all

closer

also

wedding

in

is

which gave the reader an approxi-

of the

appearance of the places

in

Between the various extant manuscripts

a close family resemblance,

and there

therefore, every reason to believe that they

He

with contemporary scenes a

Hebrew epithalamium

gaily colored,

Probably

engraved title-pages of the famous Amsterdam

post-Biblical

were accompanied by naive drawings,

criptions

mate idea

engravings in a very ingenious manner.


ture of

title-

Biblical

is,

were

based ultimately on an identical prototype,

by a
in the

by

far to versimilitude,

visitor to or

executed perhaps

emissary from the Holy

Renaissance period.

Land

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

443

ever, a great difference

the seventeenth

144

between the court

art of

century and that of the eight-

when the latter's solemn quality gives wax


more humane feeling, less stiff, more intimate,

eenth,
to a

coming nearer

to the bourgeois taste.

These illuminated books of the eighteenth century are exclusively liturgical. Haggadoth, megilloth,

Sabbath prayers, domestic formularies, books


circumcision registers, psalters and

of blessings,

prayers

incidental
artistic

The

almost

constitute

the

entire

production.
art of

engraving exerts

its

influence on the

technique as well as on the iconography of the


manuscripts of the eighteenth century. The pen-

drawings closely imitate engravings.

It

is

some-

times difficult to perceive the difference between


these drawings and copper-plate engravings.
imitation of the engraving

The

coupled with the

is

imitation of the printed letter for the written text.

Since the finest printed books then

Amsterdam, the sopherim

came from

over Europe incor-

all

porated in their title-page the words "with the


characters

of

Amsterdam." Very many of the

manuscript title-pages are adorned with the

fig-

ures of Moses and Aaron, a popular motive of the

Amsterdam

frontispieces

220). Meanwhile,

(fig.

the increasing diffusion of reproductions of works


Aion Wolf Gewitsch. Title page
Haggadah, Pressburg, 173l). Academy

of art, through the technique of the copper-plate,


of Passovei

22(1.

acquainted the producers of the Jewish illuminat-

of Sciences.

Budapest.

ed book with the general

V
In

witnessed

renewal

circumstances

buted

especially

primarily

Jewish,

continued

vitality

scribe, the other


circles

of

said

art

Court jaws,

life

to reveal their inherent artistic abilities.

The

best example of this revival

in

the illuminated haggadoth.

the

the

svnagogical

of the new
who endeavored

of Jewish religious

exception, on the

1712

at

proselyte

not

termed, came into being around these solid Jewish

the

haggadah,

We

men

illuminators,

a psalter for

an

it

need not be surprised, there-

that the

fore, to learn

as

most sought-after of these

m Wolf Gewitsch,
Irian

also executed

archduke. There

is,

how-

of

in

engravings

Jacob,

Mattheus

be found

1695 and

bv

the

copied from the

Merian of Basle.

Nevertheless, these engravings of Merian which

did

art",

with

Abraham bar

to

almost without

haggadah published

Amsterdam,

Icones Bihlicae

is

The iconography

manuscripts was based,

might be

business

free themselves

and gradually began

of

with an atmosphere of luxury and beauty.

Thus, a veritable "court

so servilely,

and

was the emergence

of wealthy

imbue every circumstance

to

artistic,

of the

had been copied

contri-

One was

development.
of the

have

to

unique

this

book.

illuminated

the

may be
to

to

from dependence on those models which formerly

the eighteenth century, the Germanic countries

Two

tendencies of the

artistic

Thus they were able

times.

entirely

correspond

were

to

completely

the

text

of

transformed

by talented miniaturists, who succeeded sometimes in surpassing their model, enriching their

manuscripts with small genre paintings of real


value.

THE ILLUMINATION OF HEBREW MANUSCRIPTS

445

rm iVllWJEJaJaM^M'-H.B^

most important characters

the

no doubt

that,

thanks to engrav-

knew

our miniaturist

ings,

the

and the child-prophet. There

princess
is

446

the works

of the great painters of this period,

Poussin and de

like

same

treated the

The

la

Fosse,

who

subjects.

three angels

who appear before

Abraham are represented


by Abraham bar Jacob as winged
beings wrapped in a tunic, while
Abraham kneels before them. Uri

the house of

Phoebus Segal of Altona, on the other

hand

(fig.

Jewish

The Four

Joseph Leipnik.

Sons. Miniature in Passov er

The

sages

Amsterdam Haggadah

the

in

B'nei-Brak

of

of

Merian

for

his

illustrating

them

(Genesis XLIII,

brothers

nine characters
light of a

after the engraving

sit

of

34-4),

Joseph

where

around a long table under the

lamp. The haggadah, however, speaks

only of five rabbis, and the scene occurs in the


early morning.

gadah

Aron Wolf Gewitsch,

in his

hag-

1730 (Kaufmann Collection, Academy

of

of Sciences in Budapest,

removes the lamp and

light enter

The

Copenhagen),
youngsters

dressed in the Jewish fashion of the

Abraham

We

serves

them the dish prepared

see, thus, that

some

for them.

of the miniaturists of

the eighteenth century were not

mere

copyists.

Their other works (e.g. blessing-formularies), for

which they had no model


cisively.

Where

hand, their

They

to copy,

prove

this de-

there was a model, on the other

artistic quality

enliven their

very often surpasses

it.

work with the humane and

kindly spirit of the rococo period.

run

the broad day-

lets

jno

through the windows.

"four sons" of the

of

three

423), eliminates the

four superfluous figures, sets the rabbis at a round


table,

as

of 1739,

time, sitting at a table under a tree;

represented

are

banquet

the

Haggadah

Museum.

of 1740. British

{Haggadah

Community

portrays
221.

222)

haggadah were copied

!N*r vxs nitr^S ppnntf san


ar-yyki parrot? i j'zjk on-o^

by Abraham bar Jacob from various engravings


of Merian,

which he assembles on one

plate, with-

out any connection between them. Judah Pinhas


in his

haggadah of 1747 (Library

sity of

Erlangen,

but places them

MS
in a

Drop Drh ti^ pso -rjnr nrr -u


wins 03i njtr nisojrriN arm* ijji
TF-Ssr pnnNTDjs pryTqmtfN

of the Univer-

1262) retains these


small landscape,

figures,

makes the

wicked son stand, instead of running, and turns


his face to the

monize

wise one,

who

thus seems to ser-

to him.

Again

in the

David Leipnik
Sloane 3173)
the finding of

haggadah finished by Joseph ben


in the
(fig.

year 1740 (Brit. Mus., MS.

221), the miniature showing

Moses has nothing

the composition of Merian.

in

common

The whole

with

picture

is

dominated by the group under the tree presided

by Pharaoh's daughter. The coloring emphasizes

222.
Uri Phoebus Segal. Page of illuminated Passover
Haggadah, 1739. Library of Jewish Community, Copenhagen

JEWISH ART FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

447

But he shows

it.

mastery

his full

448

those colored

in

miniatures where, free from any model, he creates

works of

real

the family seated around

art: .e.g.

the table at the seder in the van Geldern Hag-

gadah and

colors;

in

The

that of Cincinnati.

himself

presses

quiet

in

he composes

artist

ex-

and harmonious

lines

pages without muddling,

his

places his vignettes and tail-pieces with discri-

mination, and preserves a just balance between


the

text

and the ornamentation.

Moses Leib continued

through Europe, and stayed


artist of

established

at his house.

the

all

families

Jews were among the clients

spent part of his

works known

is

Arveh

The

first

of his

to us seems to be the prayer-book

Oppenheimer
There

Vienna.

in

life

of

the

of

who, however,

this place,

the famous

for

native

Trebitsch also enjoyed a well-

reputation:

Judah Leib Cahana of

made

his

passed Trebitsch during his travels

turer-rabbi,

Court

at

Simon van Geldern, the adven-

Trebitsch, since

Another

seems that

It

reside

to

court

Simon Wolf

Jew,

in 1712.

another

who

artist

acquired a privi-

leged position in Vienna, and from whose hand a


great

Wolf

Moses Leib Trebitsch. The Passover Meal. Page from


18th century. Formerly in Cologne.

Van Geldern Haggudah

The home

was Moravia

artists

and Bohemia, whose culture preserved

for gene-

rations the imprint of the former imperial metro-

While

polis.

after

Bavaria, the exiles from Vienna

in

1670 enhanced the

(Tora/i-curtains,

His

work

extant

oldest

dated

circumcisions,

Vienna

register

of

(Jewish

Museum, Prague). The painted

title-page of this

is

As on almost

richlv decorated.

most of these

of

Gewitsch.

of

have survived: Aron

of manuscripts

1728

is

223.

number

etc.);

art of ritual

embroidery

Moravia they gave a

in

we

all

the title-pages of the period,

of

Moses and Aaron, here surrounded by medal-

lions.

These represent Elijah

clouds in a chariot of

fire,

rising

Abraham

of the title-page

representing a synagogue

towards the
receiving the

But the principal

angels, the sacrifice of Isaac.


illustration

find the figures

is

a lovelv vignette

on the

right, in front

new impulse to the art of pen-and-ink miniature.


The oldest of these artists seems to have been

of the Tora/i-shrine, a circumcision scene; on the

Moses Leib ben Wolf

ing.

1713.

of Trebitsch, active after

the Cincinnati Haggadah,

In

masterpieces,

is

dated

1716-17.

one of

The

his

famous

left a

group of

at the

entrance of the build-

That same year, 1728, Aron Wolf made two

haggadoth
lies,

women

and

for the daughters of well-to-do fami-

more haggadoth follow each

at least six

van Geldern Haggadah, immortalized bv Heinrich

other from 1730 to 1751, in addition to several

Heine

psalters, etc.

1723
his

his

in
(fig.

gifted

"Rabbi of Bacharach,"

223). At

least

pen are known.

is

His

pen-drawings,

usually set off bv wash, are well-composed

genre pai
ing as a

tings.
Tel,

Whenever he
he transforms

dated

dozen works from

little

takes an engravit

and recomposes

The census

of

Jews

at Pressburg in

1735 contains the following entry: "Aron Schreiher

Moravus Gebitsensis
sarea Viennensi

Officialis in Bibliotheca

Uxor,

This obviously refers to our


sible that

artist. It is

he worked with an

Cae-

famulus, I ancilla."
thus pos-

assistant (famulus).

THE ILLUMINATION OF HEBREW MANUSCRIPTS

449

The

number

great

need

some

for

of his

would confirm

quality

works would

justify the

help, while the unevenness of their

it.

small Vienna psalter

of 1736, executed for Mayer Michael Simon at

Pressburg,
at

Pressburg Aron

who

is

lives

production of

The Austrian National Library


in

cantor

Hebrew

books.

Vienna possesses

in

made

1733 and 1738,

in

which contain the Book of Ruth

Hebrew and Lamentations

He was

in

German, the

in

in Latin, Eccleciastes

1593 and 1594).

fudaicus,"

micrographic ornamental hand-

writing from his pen,

Song of Songs

as

Aron Wolf did not

possibly his brother.

limit himself to the

two pictures

same house

the

in

"viennensis

Herlinger,

Israel

"Schreiber Herlinger," for

signed

is

and Esther

French

in

nov.

(ser.

responsible for similar

450

of these artists; with their art strongly rooted in

calligraphy,

almost impossible to attribute

is

it

any anonymous pieces with certainty. At

this time,

sopher Nathan ben Samson of Meseritz,

too, the

illuminated several haggadoth and formularies of


blessings with a characteristic breadth of treat-

ment, brightly colored,

sharp contrast to the

in

neat penmanship of the Viennese masters. There


are specimens of his

work

About the middle

of the century the production

moves

of illuminated books
na's

ascendancy

in several collections.

declining.

is

into

Germany. Vien-

On

the other hand,

throughout Southern Germany, but, above

Hamburg, remarkable specimens

at

all,

of the art of

illu-

now emerge. The most important figure


new school at Hamburg, Joseph ben David

mination
of the

productions in 1749 and in 1752. Aron Wolf was

Leipnik, was of Moravian origin. He, like

an excellent penman;

who work at Hamburg, Altona and Wandsbeck,


may be recognized by a growing tendency for

all his

works have a

graphic character. His pen-drawings


set off

by

definite

(sometimes

coloring) are very neatly executed, with

perfect craftsmanship and impeccable taste, but

pictorial expression.

They no longer

all

those

imitate en-

gravings, but adorn their manuscripts with real

very often drily academic. His talents were emi-

miniatures. His later haggadoth (Bibliotheca Ro-

nently graphic and he only painted to enhance his

senthaliana,

drawings.

formerly at Frankfort, 1738; but especially British

Aron Wolf's competitor


lam

(Zimel)

Vienna was Meshul-

Bohemia.

Polna,

of

"prayers

calligraphic

in

the

for

Two

sovereign"

German
still

From

in the

true

year 1733.

medieval

the

of

It is

in

at

the

(Heb. 223

Austrian National Library in Vienna

and 224) were signed by him

large

Hebrew and

in

a calligraphic work,

massora

figurata.

the eighteenth century until the middle of

the nineteenth these artificial lettering devices


the decay

an

of

art,

which,

among

mark

Jews, had

Museum, MS. Sloane 3173,

compositions
small

book of Sabbath prayers


(Add. 1133)

markable

at the British

testifies to his fine taste

skill.

Written in Vienna

Museum

and

in 1714,

completely.

pictures,

basically

talented painter,

who

of the great masters

relationship

at Pressburg. It

assign the works

made

in

is

very

is

his

Moses saved from

illustration of the "four sons" in

The

an interior has

does

representation of the various stages of the seder

it

of his works, but


like

the

artistry.

1735 with 52 vignettes from

nothing to do with similar engravings; while his

some

of

was

the works

his re-

contains,

was formerly

knew

obviously

of 1740, representing

final songs, are all

haggadah

are
their

of

the waters, and the paintings of the masters.

in

vignettes,

miniatures

independent

from engravings. There

by Aron Wolf Gewitsch


nevertheless,

these

between the miniature of

ceremony and, above

Sabbath meals, of a naive but attractive

These

gressing the limits of good taste. Leipnik

not reach the high level of craftsmanship displayed

some

Al-

model, and richly colored, though never trans-

haggadah

that.

real

art.

Amsterdam haggadah, he transforms

of the

dence of the

fantasy of the Jewish scribes.

are

though he follows pretty closely the iconography

close

artistic

1740)

of

masterpieces of eighteenth-century Jewish

reached a verv high standard and had given evi-

But Zimel of Polna could do better than

Amsterdam, 1738; Limel Collection,

his

hand

difficult to

Vienna during the

first

half of the eighteenth century to one or the other

It is

all,

his illustrations to the

genre paintings of high merit.

not surprising that, gifted as he was, he ap-

pended

to the

haggadah he made

at Frankfurt in

1731, at the house of Isaac Schwarzschild, a portrait of

the daughter or bride of his patron (Za-

gayski Collection,
consider him

New

among

York).

We may

rightly

those Jewish miniaturists

who

FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EMANCIPATION

|EWISH ART

451

European

artists to

Jewish

initiated the access of

intermediate type was

this

Judah Pinhas (17271793), who became court


miniaturist at Ansbach in 1775. His famous

haggadah

1747

of

MS

Erlangen

of

pretty

follows

Amsterdam

(Library

happy modifications. The most


where

one

the

is

the

the

of

forming the

genre painting, where his talent

is

Chapter XV); the patriarch

nesis,

comes forward towards the


garden.

The Temple

contemporary

represented per-

between the Portions'


in

untrammeled.

is

him over manv

Oriental dress

castle.

have bv no means enumerated all the scribes


who decorated their books with more or less interesting miniatures

Some

drawings.

or

whole, their achievement does not add anything

in

which

to the

growth of Jewish

The stream
tury

Jews entering the other

of Polish

Europe during the eighteenth cen-

countries of
in

art.

resulted

in

introduction

the

of

the united "three communities" of Hamburg-Alto-

ropean folklore themes into Jewish

na-Wandsbeck. Their increasing prosperity

art of the book,

at this

time attracted several scribes whose work differs

make

element dominates. Merian's engravings serve

remote models, hardlv any trace of them

the

characters are dressed according

and East European

Central

of

fashion

Jews; for indeed,

some

of these artists

come from

of

however,

Eu-

East

In the

art.

did not

this influence

itself felt.

To be

from that of the Viennese school. Here, the picto-

to

of them,

generations:

Joseph Ben David Leipnik ended his career

The

indeed, produced works of real value, but, on the

for the nineteenth-century Jewish artists.

remaining.

as

We

svnagogue scribes and miniaturists prepared the

rial

manorial

sacrifice in a

of Jerusalem appears

art

manner

the family record illustrates the

as very

(Ge-

the

Judah Pinhas was the son of a sopher and his

wav

'Pact

VI
substituted

artist

miniatures in bright colors, each of them a small

to

landscape. .Abraham

lovely

in a

page

interesting

engravings illustrating the ten plagues by ten small

had come down

unleavened

the

some very

with

1712,

of

edition

written,

engravings

the

closely

University

the

of

magnificently

1262),

carrying

figures

bread and the herbs, and leading the lamb

art in the nineteenth century.

Another scribe of

richly-dressed

452

sure, the fanciful animals

and grotesques

the medieval manuscripts which enliven the

painted walls of the


land, appear also in

wooden synagogues

of Po-

some illuminated manuscripts

from the seventeenth century onwards. This


loric art

is

folk-

encountered as far west as London,

where the Polish-born Aaron ben Moses Sopher,

Silesia.

Two

pieces

executed

influence exercised

Hamburg show

at

by the

art of

the

Joseph ben David

Uri Phoebus ben Isaac

Leipnik. Their author

is

who finishes
Jewish Community

his

haggadah, (Library of the

of

Copenhagen)

Segal,

1739 and

Altona

follows

altering

Jewish

it.

The

dress,

iconography

the

characters,

are

set

in

in

of

lovely

fore,

heads the

official list of

the Chief Rabbis of

England), wrote and illuminated a book of miscellaneous pravers in 1714 for the librarian of the
Earl of Oxford, with decorations and illustrations

Amsterdam,

North European
landscapes

are grouped in small genre paintings.

Great Synagogue in London, whose name, there-

in

rew Union College, Cincinnati). In the former he


partly

recorded rabbi of the

first

1741 (Heb-

at

a circumcision register in

formerly of Dublin, (the

or

startling

of touching candor (British

5713), as well as similar

where

for other patrons.

Museum, MS. Harley

volumes preserved

One

of the

most

else-

interest-

ing of the folkloric pieces of Eastern Germany,

under Polish influence,

is

haggadah by Nathan

wonderfully combined with a poetical

ben Abraham Spever, dated Breslau 1756 (Heb-

conception of the text to be illustrated. Thus, for

rew Union College, Cincinnati). Everything here

realism

is

instance,

the

men"

accordance with

in

Flowers,

fruit

moniously
ritual

three

the

text

like

of

"three

Genesis.

and heraldic motives blend harthe

wit.

objects

appear

angels

the

calligraphy.

seder

are

The

statutory

allegorized

bv

is

secondary to the coloring; perspective, three-

dimensional representation
His onlv concern

is

do not disturb him.

expressiveness and the deco-

rative quality of the painting. If

we compare

this

haggadah with the one made by Uri Phoebus

of

THE ILLUMINATION OF HEBREW MANUSCRIPTS

453

Hamburg, we

common

notice a

source or inspira-

succeeded

in

blending the popular elements with the urban

art

but

tion,

tbe

already

has

latter

duces a work which reaches the acme of the

monopoly

Wherever the Jews

of folkloric art.

among

lived

eighteenth centurv,
ciety of

of the treasures of folklore of the peoples, they

minated

adopted the

which they

language of the country in

artistic

lived.

Some memorable works

are

due

1740

year

the

(Klagsbald

1740; Jewish Museum, London,

Collection, Paris,

His pen-drawings, which merely follow

1756).

the wood-engravings of the haggadah of Venice,


are of

with

tion

coloring,

livelv

its

crowd

daisies

floral

ornamenta-

tulips,

carnations,

importance, but the

little

the spaces not required by the

all

text or the illustrations.

In

we
in

the

find

eastern

part

folkloristic

of

Havim ben Asher Anshel

Jewry

some

talent,

of

artist

of Kize

(Kopcseny

Hungary), whose haggadoth (extant


collections)

do not contain any

text,

but only

plays

all

local

popular

which

The

art.

to these works.

micrographic

in

of inexhaus-

more miniatures,

In ten

in

which

he shows forceful expression and expert composiceremonies and the

tion, the artist illustrates the

moment

beliefs that follow the

has an

artist

succeeded

poignancy a scene

in

on the

seated

of death.

rendering with such

in

which we see

mourning

consuming the meal

floor,

him bv the members

offered to

Seldom

of the