The Art of Purim 2011


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The Art of Purim 2011

  2. 2. THE ART OF PURIM 14th of Adar Myrna Teck, Ph. D. THE JAE CORPORATION, President 1
  3. 3. THE ART OF PURIMPurim celebrates the collapse of a plotAll the Jews of the Persian Empire were to be killedThis happened in the 5th century BCEThe English text is in bright and colorful letters 2
  4. 4. MEGILAT ESTHER-Leonard Baskin, 1984Baskin, L. (1984). The Five Scrolls. CCARThe word “Megillah” is Hebrew for “scroll”It is the name applied to five books of the Hebrew BibleThe books are Ruth Song of Songs Lamentations Ecclesiastes EstherThis is because they were once read from separate scrollsOnly the Book of Esther is still read from a scroll todayIt is thus commonly referred to as “The Megillah”God‟s name is never mentioned in this Biblical bookThe story is written in the form of a scrollThe scroll was sent to all parts of the kingdomThe Hebrew is also in bright colors and vibrant patternsit creates a joyous and vibrant visual image 3
  5. 5. Baskin, L. (1984). The Five Scrolls. CCARThe Scroll of Esther is read after an introductory ServiceThese are the first words of the Megilla or Scroll of EstherThey are written in English, Hebrew and Illuminated HebrewThe latter has small images of some of the main charactersThese are superimposed on the letters 4
  6. 6. AHASUERUS-Leonard Baskin, 1984Baskin, L. (1984). The Five Scrolls. CCARThe story begins in the days of King Ahasuerus of ShushanHe ruled from India to Ethiopia, over 127 provincesIn the third year of his reign, he gave banquetsThese were for the nobles and the peopleThey were given to show the riches and glory of his kingdomThe artist, Baskin, has a unique idiosyncratic approachThis painting is in watercolorThe king wears a red robe and a vibrant green turbanThese colors are opposites on the color wheelThey create a dynamic, energetic image 5
  7. 7. VASHTI-Leonard Baskin, 1984Baskin, L. (1984). The FiveScrolls. CCAR His Queen Vashti also gave a banquet It was for the women in the royal house On the seventh day, the king was merry with wine He commanded Queen Vashti to show her beauty (You can interpret that request as you like!) He wanted to show her off to the people and to the nobles But she refused Then the king said to the sages: “What law shall be applied to Queen Vashti for not obeying my command?” After a suggestion, he requested Vashti to appear before him Once again she refused A second suggestion resulted in a royal decree This ruling banished her from her royal position It even gave her place to someone else This advice pleased the king He sent letters throughout his kingdom to this effect Then he asked for beautiful young women to come to Shushan He held a competition for them to vie for the royal position Baskin used the same colors as he had with Ahasuerus Perhaps he saw them as being of equal importance 6
  8. 8. MORDECAI-Leonard Baskin, 1984Baskin, L. (1984). The Five Scrolls. CCARIn Shushan, there was a Jew named MordecaiHe brought up his cousin Hadassah after her parents diedThe name “Hadassah” may be translated as “Esther”Esther was one of the young women brought before the kingShe pleased him and received kindness from himShe did not reveal her people or her kindredMordecai had cautioned her not to do soNotice how quiet, war, and soft the colors areThese were clearly chosen by the artist 7
  9. 9. ESTHER-Leonard Baskin, 1984Baskin, L. (1984). The Five Scrolls. CCARAnd the king loved Esther above all other womenHe set the royal crown upon her headHe made her queen instead of VashtiThen the king gave a great banquet for all his noblesHe granted a remission of taxes to the provincesHe gave gifts as befits a kingWe associate white with purityThat may have been why Baskin showed Esther in whiteHe adds the letters of her name in bright redThat is to show the energy of her actions 8
  10. 10. HAMAN-Leonard Baskin, 1984Baskin, L. (1984). The FiveScrolls. CCAR Two of the king‟s servants attempted to kill the king They were unsuccessful As a result, Ahasuerus promoted Haman Haman became the chief above all the king‟s other servants The king then commanded that everyone bow down to Haman But Mordecai would not bow down Haman was filled with rage He did not want to harm Mordecai alone Rather, he wanted to exterminate all the Jews This was throughout the kingdom of Ahasuerus That meant Mordecai and all his people It all happened in the first month, i.e. Nisan This was in the 12th year of the reign of King Ahasuerus They cast PUT—which means „the lot‟—before Haman Haman told the king that some people don‟t keep his law He thought that they should be destroyed The king took the ring from his hand and gave it to Haman The King told Haman to do as he pleased Haman commanded that a decree be written It was done and sealed with the king‟s ring The letters went out to kill and exterminate all the Jews 9 It was to take place on the 13th day of the 12th month, Adar Baskin depicts Haman‟s nastiness in his hot, red, angry face
  11. 11. MORDECAI IN SACKCLOTH-Leonard Baskin, 1984Baskin, L. (1984). The Five Scrolls. CCARMordecai heard all that had happened and rent his clothesHe put on sackcloth and ashesHe went to the center of the city and cried bitterlyWhen Esther heard of this, she, too, was greatly distressedShe sent a message to MordecaiHe replied by telling her what was to happen to the JewsHe asked her to go in to the kingHe asked that she appeal to the King on behalf of her peopleBaskin shows Mordecai in the colors associated with sadnessWhat other choice did he have?His hand, reaching toward the viewer is alive with warmth 10
  12. 12. QUEEN ESTHER BEFORE KING AHASUERUS-Judeo-Persian,18th cRush, B. (2002) The Jewish Year: Celebrating the HolidaysNew York: Stewart Taborri & ChangIsaac Einhorn Collection, Tel Aviv/Erich Lessing/Resource,NYEsther knew that it was against the law to ask to see the kingShe would risk her life just by askingShe was hesitant to do soMordecai said that she would be included in the annihilationHe asked her to consider why she was in her royal rolePerhaps that she may be in it for just this situationWhen the king saw Esther, she held favor in his sightHe wanted to know her requestHe promised her anything she wantedHe was willing to give her up to half of the kingdomShe asked that the king and Haman come to the banquetThey accepted and did soPersian art has richly repetitive patternsthey are seen in this image of Queen Esther before the King 11
  13. 13. ESTHER AND AHASUERUS-Malcah Zeldis, 1976McDonough, Y. Z. (1996). Moments in Jewish Life: Folk Art ofMalcah Zeldis. NY: Friedman/FairfaxAt the banquet, the king inquired again about her requestEsther asked them to attend a second banquet the next nightIn the meantime, Haman reveled in his newly found powerBut Mordecai still vexed him mightilyThe king ordered that a gallows be built to hang MordecaiThat night the king could not sleepHe read the book of records of the chronicles of his empireHe discovered that Mordecai was the one to be thankedMordecai had discovered the plot by the King‟s 2 servantsAt the banquet, the king had a questionHe asked what honor was bestowed on Mordecai for this?Esther said that nothing had been doneWhen Haman came to the banquet, the king asked him a questionWhat should be done to the man the king delights to honor?Zeldis is a 20th century self-taught artist mShe takes a very naïve and primitive approach to this event 12
  14. 14. ARK AND WALLS-Dura-Europos, 3rd c.Site guidebook. 64 3/16 x 154 5/16” (163 x 392 cm)Courtesy of Yale University Art Gallery, New HavenDura Europos collectionThis is from the wall paintings at Dura-EuroposThe site was a Roman garrison town on the eastern frontierAn earthquake covered it in the late third centuryIt was only discovered in the early 1920sThis painting was created in the 3rd c., CEIt shows Eastern influencesThe figures are symbolic of the characters in the storythey are not individualized and do not show any emotionThis is in contrast to Western (Roman) aesthetics 13
  15. 15. ARK AND WALLS-Dura-Europos, 3rd c.Site guidebook. 64 3/16 x 154 5/16” (163 x 392 cm)Courtesy of Yale University Art Gallery, New HavenDura Europos collectionThis is the Dura-Europos Ark niche and wall paintingsThis site was a Roman garrison town on their eastern frontierAn earthquake covered it in the late third centuryIt was only discovered in the early 1920sThese paintings are the earliest known figurative ArtworksThese are based on stories from the Hebrew Bible 14
  16. 16. PURIM FESTIVAL-Dura-Europos, 3rd c.Mazar, B. & Davis, M.(1963). Illustrated History of the Jews.USA: Israeli Publishing Institute, Ltd.Esther 9:11-14. West Wall. Lower register. At the banquet, the king asked Queen Esther for her request She asked that her life be spared along with her people She said that she and her people were to be exterminated The king asked who had done this Esther said that the adversary and enemy is the wicked Haman The throne is decorated with lions and eaglesIt is from the Biblical description of King Solomon‟s throneIt is not clear exactly which part of the narrative is shownIt is clear that the king is being given a written requestHe is shown with his Queen on the raised platform 15
  17. 17. MORDECAI AND HAMAN-Harry Lieberman, 1968Hollander, S. (1991). Harry Liberman: A Journey ofRemembrance, New York: DuttonThe king‟s wrath was not abated until they hanged HamanThey did this on the gallows he had prepared for MordecaiThen the king took off his ring and gave it to MordecaiHe held out his golden scepter to EstherIt was written that Mordecai commanded the JewsIt was sealed with the king‟s ringThe Jews were glad on the 13th day of the 12th month, AdarThen Esther asked that Haman‟s ten sons be hangedand it was doneThis 20th c. primitive artist shows various parts of the storyThey all appear in one compositionIt is somewhat like a medieval painting 16
  18. 18. SCENES FROM THE ESTHER STORY-Joseph Zvi Geiger, 1843Keller, S. (Ed.) The Jews. New York: Hugh Lauter LevinOil painting on glass. 21 x 12 13/16” (52.5 x 32 cm)Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Feuchtwanger CollectionBaruch and Ruth Rappaport donated it to the Israel MuseumThe 15th day of Adar was a day of celebration and of gladnessMordecai wrote all this downWe observe the 14th and 15th of Adar by feasting and joyHe also said that Jews should send portions to one anotherAnd they should send gifts to the poorAnd it was doneThey called these days PurimAnd it continues to this dayAlong with the reading of the Scroll of Esther, the MegillahThe artist dressed all the figures in contemporary clothes 17He used a cell approach as in today‟s cartoons
  19. 19. KING AHASUERUS’ SOLDIERS-Yossef Geiger, Safed, 1843Keller, S. (Ed.) The Jews. New York: Hugh Lauter LevinOil painting on glass. 21 x 12 13/16” (52.5 x 32 cm)Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Feuchtwanger CollectionBaruch and Ruth Rappaport donated it to the Israel MuseumThis is a painting on glassNotice that King‟s soldiers wear Ottoman uniforms 18
  20. 20. MEGILAT SETARIM, MASHEHKHET PURIM-Amsterdam, 1734Grossman, G. (1995). Jewish Art. NY: Hugh Lauter LevinPaper. Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana, AmsterdamIt is a Purim custom to stage a Purim ParodyThis began in medieval timesIt is in the festive spirit of the holidayPurim Shpieler, or Players, went from door to doorThey enacted the Purim story in farcical fashionThis tradition was most active in the 17th-19th centuriesSometimes more elaborate plays were presented in YiddishThe players often went from shtetl to shtetlTheir productions were very popularThe story of Esther is the most popular subject for theseIt was often staged with a contemporary or community twistLocal figures were substituted for the originalsThis lent humor to the productionsProceeds from the performances went to charityThis was in accordance with the requirement of Jewish lawThe Scroll of Esther says to give “gifts to the poor”MASHEKET PURIM is a parody on the TalmudThe text is on the theme of drinking wineIt was written in the 14th centuryLevi ben Gershom wrote the Megilat Setarim thenHe was from Provence 19It is known as the “Scroll of Secrecy”Revelers drink until they can‟t tell Mordecai from Haman
  21. 21. PURIM CELEBRATION-Eretz Israel, 19th c. Rush, B. (2002) The Jewish Year: Celebrating the Holidays. Newk: Stewart Taborri & Chang Collection of Isaac Einhorn, Telv/Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY The celebration of this merry holiday in unique Jews generally do not drink alcohol The only exception is for ceremonial wine On Purim, they are urged to drink “ad d‟lo yada” That is, until they can‟t the difference between “Cursed be Haman” and “Blessed be Mordecai” This illustration is specific to its time and place Notice the fur brimmed streiml, a Hasidic 17th c hat Notice, too, the middle eastern Fez with tassel 20
  22. 22. PURIM MASK-Ita Aber, 1977-78Rush, B. (2002) The Jewish Year: Celebrating the Holidays.NY: Stewart Taborri & Chang. Gift of the ArtistThe Jewish Museum, NYYeshiva students would do imitations of their rabbis/teachersA yeshiva Purim highlight was the reading of “Purim Torah”These are frivolous dissertations on the Talmud and lawThey often used witty parodies of Talmudic textsOne example is the non-existent tractate “Purim”A special Purim guide was also composed and publicly readIt was a parody of the Passover Hagaddah and SederSatirical poetry was also sung at these yeshivah festivitiesThe poems were set to simple repetitive tunesPurim kings were crowned with pomp and circumstanceThey took oaths to observe the laws of the prophet HabakkukHabakkuk was also known as “the bottle”In Hasidism, the Purim Rabbi was chosen on the first of AdarHe conducted parodies of Hasidic rabbinic discoursesHe did this while sitting aside the Hasidic Rabbi 21
  23. 23. PURIM WINE JUG-Syria, 19th c.Grossman, G. (1995). Jewish Art. NY: Hugh Lauter LevinEtched glass. 7 7/8 x 5 1/2 in. (20 x 14 cm)Hebrew Union College, Skirball Museum, Los AngelesKirschstein CollectionThis is a Purim jug for wine, in etched amber glassThe inscription on the neck is in ArabicOn the body it‟s in HebrewOnly a few bottles of this type remainSeveral hanging lamps of etched glass have also survivedThe inscription on this bottle is the Kiddush for the SabbathAround the neck, the Arabic writing appears to be decorativeSyrian Jewish glassblowers worked in the 17th and 18thcThe glassworker may have been illiterate or not jewishThis is thought due to the misspellings 22
  24. 24. GROGGER-Vienna, Austria, 1826Snyder, J. (2004). The Jewish World 365 Days.NY: Harry N. Abrams, IncCongregants turn noisemakers to drown out Haman‟s nameDuring the reading of Megilla Esther in synagogue on PurimHe symbolizes the various enemies of the Jewish peopleThe Russian grogger depicts Haman‟s hanging for his crimesThere is a clown‟s hat on the top of the Viennese noisemaker 23
  25. 25. GROGGER-Russia, 19TH C.Korn, I. (1996). A Celebration of Judaism in Art.New York: TodtriRush, B. (2002) The Jewish Year: Celebrating the Holidays.NY: Stewart Taborri & Chang. Silver.The Jewish Museum, New York/Art Resource, NY.Notice that Haman is hung in the roundel of this grogger 24
  26. 26. GROGGER-Cyprus, 1947Barnavi, E. (Ed.)(1992). Historical Atlas of the Jewish People.NY: KnopfPurim noisemakers are sounded by children (and some adults)They make noise to drown out the name of Wicked HamanThat is when the Scroll of Esther is readThis grogger was made in a detention camp in Cyprus, 1947 25
  27. 27. HAMAN AND HIS TEN SONS-Northern Germany, mid-14th c.Sassoon Collection, Letchworth, EnglandThis image is of Haman and his 10 sons hanging from a gallowsMordecai prepared the gallowsA Jewish artist pictured this sceneThis was the popular tradition in northern Germany, mid-14th c.This is a page from the De Castro BibleThis Bible contains a manuscript of the bible & the 5 ScrollsThe weekly portion from the Prophets are includedNathaniel the scribe wrote the BibleLevi ben David vocalized it in January 1344 26
  28. 28. HANGING HAMAN’S SONS-Leonard Baskin, 1972Baskin, L. (1984). The Five Scrolls. CCARSeven hundred years later, the same topic is depictedThe artist „hangs‟ Haman‟s sons amidst the textThe modernist approach informs his aesthetic 27
  29. 29. PURIM-Minhogimbukh, Venice, 1601Kosofsky, S. M. (2004). The Book of Customs. San Francisco:Harper CollinsThe Purim revelers wear Venetian Carnavale costumesThey were worn in the commedia Dell‟arte 28
  30. 30. PURIM CELEBRATION- Shlomo Maduro, Amsterdam,1707-23/68Kanof, A. (1973). Jewish Ceremonial Art. NY: Harry AbramsAnother custom on Purim was the burning of Haman in effigyIt was a relief from the constant oppression of the JewsThis custom dates back to Talmudic timesIt happened in Macedonia, Byzantium, medieval Germany, ItalyThese celebrants are dressed in jester costumesThey are consistent with a Royal Court! 29
  31. 31. THE MUSIC ACADEMY HEBREW BALL-NY, March 14, 1865Korn, I. (1996). A Celebration of Judaism in Art. NY: TodtriAmerican Jewish Historical Society, Waltham, MAThis is an illustration of a Purim BallIt was held on March 14, 1865 at the Academy of Music in NYIt was an extravagant example of the masquerade parties heldCharity balls were popular in mid-19th century AmericaThe Purim Ball was a highlight of the Jewish social seasonNotice the partygoer dressed as a Hanukkah dreidlThis illustration appeared in a Massachusetts publicationInterest by people outside NYC indicates its importance 30
  32. 32. PURIM BALL-New York, 1881Grunberger, M. (Ed.) (2004). From Haven to Home. Wash, DCLibrary of CongressThis is an announcement for the 1881 Purim Ball in NYCNotice that the proceeds will benefit the Building FundIt helped the Hebrew Benevolent and Orphan Asylum Society 31
  33. 33. PURIM BALL-Munich, Germany, 1932 Gidal, N. T. (1998). Jews in Germany from Roman Times toWeimar Republic. Gutersloh: Konemann This is the Jewish Choral Society of Munich, Germany The photograph was taken in 1932 They are all in costume for their Purim celebration It is not prevalent for American adults to dress in costume It was so in the past and in other parts of the world 32
  34. 34. PURIM CARNIVAL-Tel Aviv, 1930sBarnavi, E. (Ed.) (1992). Historical Atlas of the Jewish PeopleNY: Alfred A. KnopfThe new culture in Eretz Israel was rooted in the HaskalahIt was nourished on nationalism and modernizationIt emphasized its difference from the old Yiddish cultureNostalgia was the foundation for the approach of E. EuropeThis poster is clearly in the modernist idiomFlat pattern, Clear, clean shapes characterize itIt advertises a Purim carnival in Tel Aviv in the 1930s 33
  35. 35. PURIM ARRIVES-Mea Shearim, 1980sSnyder, J. (2004). The Jewish World 365 Days.NY: Harry N. Abrams, IncIn Jerusalem, Purim is celebrated on Shushan PurimIt is the fifteenth of AdarThis photograph is of a typical Hasidic family in JerusalemThe children are dressed up and hold MISHLOAH MANOTThose are traditional gifts of foodFather wears his fur STREIMEL hatIt is usually worn on the Sabbath and festivals 34
  36. 36. PURIM WALL DECORATION-Sara Eydel WeisssburgJerusalem, l.19th cPerforated paper embroidered with wool and silk67 x53 cmGift of Mrs. Pearl Schwartz, s1337One can follow the action as in a comic strip 35
  37. 37. CELEBRATION-Marc Chagall, 1916-1918Harshav, B. (2006). Marc Chagall and the Lost Jewish WorldNY: RizzoliChagall was inspired by childhood memories of his wife, BellaHe set this Purim celebration in a typical Russian villageChildren bear gifts of food for friends, family, and neighborsThe custom of giving gifts survives today among some JewsThey send friends cakes, fruits and „Hamantaschen”The latter is a German word meaning “Haman‟s pockets”These are triangular shaped pastriesThey are filled with fruit, cheese, or poppy seedsToday these gifts are often sent on paper platesIn the past special plates were usedThey were often made of pewter and decoratedThey had quotations or scenes from the Book of EstherEmphasis was placed especially on the Triumph of MordechaiSome congregations had collections cups used for Purim 36
  38. 38. PURIM WALL DECORATION-Maier Schwartz, Vienna, 1929Printed on paper, mounted on cardboard, 35.9 x 45.7 cm.Gift of Dr. Harry G. Friedman, F 4308 37
  39. 39. FEAST OF LOTS: PURIM-Chaim Gross, 1967Soltes, A., Abrams, J. & Blecher, A. (1968). The JewishHolidays, Customs, and Traditions by Chaim Gross. NY:Associated American ArtistsChaim Gross was primarily a sculptorHis light-hearted depictions of Purim capture the spirit 38
  40. 40. DRESSED FOR PURIM-Malcah Zeldis, 1985McDonough, Y. Z. (1996). Moments in Jewish Life: Folk Art ofMalcah Zeldis. NY: Friedman/FairfaxA childlike simplicity characterizes this joyous paintingPurim symbols are evidentThese are the grogger, mask, and costumesZeldis‟ chose vibrant primary colors: red, yellow, blueThese create a stimulating and happy environment for Purim 39
  41. 41. SHALACH MANOT-Malcah Zeldis, 1995McDonough, Y. Z. (1996). Moments in Jewish Life: Folk Art ofMalcah Zeldis. NY: Friedman/FairfaxZeldis used high intensity bright colors in a naïve styleShe shows the tradition of giving gifts to othersThe children in the two families wear Purim costumesAn elderly man waits for them to join him at the table 40
  42. 42. THE FESTIVAL OF PURIMChristian Boltanski, 1988Van Voolen, E.(2006).Jewish Art andCulture. Munich: Prestel Verlag. 10Black and white and colorphotographs. 41 Lights, 1 Tin box,210 X 120. cm (82 11/18 x 47 1/4”)the Israel Museum, Jerusalem,Israel. Gift of the artist in memory ofJacques Ohayon.Memory and remembrance are central concepts in JudaismThey are also at the core of most jewish festivalsOn Purim, Jews remember their narrow escapeThey remember the occasions on when Haman did prevailThat is, a symbolic Haman—as he has had many successorsThe artist deals with the darker aspects of this festivalThese are children at a Purim party in Paris Jewish schoolThese photographs were taken in 1939They were taken just before most of them diedThey did not die of natural causes, but were murderedTheir festive costumes bestow an individual identityThis would be taken away from then not longer after PurimFor Boltanski, photographs possess the connotation of deathThey are reminiscent of the still-preserved clothingThe items Jews removed before entering the gas chambersHe says: “They have in common that they are simultaneously present and absent”The lights are associated with the memorial lights Jews burnBoltanski‟s photographs are blurred and anonymousThey are symbols of the Holocaust and of death in generalBoltanski was born in Paris, 1944,when it was liberatedHis Jewish father came out of hiding to register his birthHis non-Jewish mother had hidden his father 41Christians may chose to be Jewish but Jews could not
  43. 43. PURIM PLATES-Amsterdam, 1785Grossman, G. (1995). Jewish Art. NY: Hugh Lauter Levin, IncFaience. Diameter of each: 9 5/8 in. (24.4 cm). Hebrew UnionCollege Skirball Museum. Kirschstein CollectionThese plates honor Rabbi Moses ben Aaron and his wife BayleTheir daughter and son-in-law commissioned the platesThis highlighted the custom of exchanging gifts on PurimThey are dated 13th of Adar [5] 545 (1785)These plates all have the same shape and border designThey have the same interior frame for Hebrew phrases 42
  44. 44. SHALACH MANOT PLATE-Les Islettes, France, 18th c.Grossman, G. (1995). Jewish Art. NY: Hugh Lauter LevinKorn, I. (1996). A Celebration of Judaism in Art. NY: TodtriSnyder, J. (2004). The Jewish World 365 Days. NY: AbramsFaience. The Israel Museum, JerusalemOne plate is in Les Islettes (Meuse); Musee de Cluny, ParisGift of Eliahu SiddiGiven in memory of his parents, Raphael and Hanna SiddThe border text is from the Purim mandate in Esther 9:22It is to “send portions one to another and gifts to the poor”In the center is a humiliated HamanHe wears his signature three-cornered hatHe leads Mordecai, wearing Haman‟s royal cloak, on horsebackThe figures are identified by name and by the verse: “Thus shall be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.” (Esther 6:11) 43
  45. 45. SHALACH MANOS PLATE-1813Grossman, C. (1989). A Temple Treasury. NY: Hudson HillsMaster: [?]SRF Zinn. Pewter. Cast and rolled. EngravedDiameter 8 3/8 in; (21/3 cm). Width of rim 1 3/8 in. (3.5 cm)Mark: Master. Inscribed on rim: Sending portions to oneanother and gifts to the poor (Esther 9:22)In the year [5] 573, according to the sh[ort] c[ounting] (1813)There is a six pointed star inscribed with circle containingoverlapping circles, petals, and three interlocking fishBetween outer corners of star, birds, and liliesSwaab, 1984. (CEE85-4)The Hebrew word for “to the poor” has a playful misspellingIt is based on a change in the Hebrew grammatical rootThe change is to one that means, “to bake”It stressed baked goods, the usual gift on PurimA local engraver did the crosshatched engravingHe bought the blank plate from a Christian pewter artisanThis is because Jews were not allowed in the pewter guildTheir artistry was limited to decorationThe designs usually came from booksHere the tooled lettering and design imitate embroidery 44The intertwined fish may be that the owner‟s name was Karp
  46. 46. ESTHER SCROLL CASES-Middle East, 17-19th c.Keller, S. (Ed.) The Jews. NY: Hugh Lauter Levin AssocFrom Yemen, Turkey, Persia, MoroccoSir Isaac/Lady Edith Wolfson MuseumHechal Shlomo, JerusalemThe Megillot are as starkly plain as the Torah scroll itselfFamily-owned megillot are ornamentedJewish Artists generally did the illuminationsThe dramatic story of Purim lends itself to illustrationMaster illuminators and folk artists illuminated itThere are no decorated Megillot before the sixteenth centuryThis does not mean they did not exist before that timeIt simply means that either they did not surviveOr they haven‟t been discovered yet!Decorated Megillot were rare in Oriental Jewish communitiesFigurative art was almost never seen on their MegillotThis was due to the iconoclasm of the Muslims mainstreamItalian 16-18th c. megillot are considered particularly specialThe scrolls were often kept in cases made of carved wood 45Decorated silver cases had scenes from the Book of EstherThese were often gifts from the bride to her bridegroom
  47. 47. ESTHER SCROLL- Salom D‟Italia, Amsterdam, 17th cGrossman, G. (1995). Jewish Art. NY: Hugh Lauter Levin, IncEtching and manuscript on parchment4 7/8 x 71 5/8 in. (12.4 x 181.9 cm)Jewish Historical Museum, AmsterdamSalom d‟Italia was born in MantuaHe came from a well-known family of printersAfter Austria invaded, Jews were expelled from the cityHe spent some time in VeniceHe ultimately settled in AmsterdamHe made several different designs of Esther scrollsA portal type design influenced many other artistsIn this Megillah, the text is written in round medallionsThe architectural elements are not prominentThey are part of the repeating motif between the roundelsThey are accompanied by vases of flowers and rabbit headsAbove each medallion a lion or bear menacingly eyes a lambThe story of Esther appears in the panels beneath the text 46
  48. 48. ESTHER SCROLL-Italian, Walters Art Museum, e. 17th c.This is an Italian Esther ScrollIt is from a nearby Museum, The Walters, in BaltimoreThe design of megillot is frequently in segmentsIt is parallel to Oriental scrollsThey are intended to be opened to only one sectionThis is to encourage contemplation and comprehensionso, too, this Megillot Esther scroll 47
  49. 49. ESTHER SCROLL-Aryeh Loeb ben Daniel of Guria, Italy, 18th cGrossman, G. (1995). Jewish Art. NY: Hugh Lauter Levin, IncAryeh Loeb ben Daniel of Guria, Italy, mid-18th cInk on parchment. Height: 9 in. (22.9 cm).Hebrew Union College, Skirball Museum, Los AngelesKirschstein Collection, formerly the Frauberger CollectionEsther and Mordechai are shown between the text columnsA Polish scribe-artist, living in Italy, created this scrollMordecai wears the regal garb of contemporary nobilitybirds and “Esther Story” vignettes are in the upper borderScenes from the story are in the small lower medallionsLions flank theseThe artist combined folk images of Poland with Italian curvesHe achieved an integrated composition 48
  50. 50. ESTHER SCROLL-Germany, early 18th c.Grossman, G. (1995). Jewish Art. NY: Hugh Lauter Levin, IncPen and ink, and gouache on parchment10 x 117 in. (25.4 x 297.2 cm)The Israel Museum, JerusalemThis artist is the most famous one in the world: AnonymousThere are three other known scrolls done in a similar handThe characters in the Purim story wear 18th c. dressZodiac roundels frame the textA man points to Pisces, the sign of the Hebrew month of AdarThis is the month when Purim is celebratedThe zodiac may refer to the lots cast to select the monthThis is when Haman wanted to annihilate the Jews 49
  51. 51. ESTHER SCROLL--Corfu, Greece, 1708.Korn, I. (1996). A Celebration of Judaism in Art. NY: TodtriInk and tempera on parchment; 46 3/4 x 10 1/4 in(120 x 26.5 cm)Israel Museum, JerusalemMegillah Esther is the only decorated book of the bibleTraditionally, human figures are shown throughoutCorfu was the apex of the decoration of 18th c., KetubbotIt also was the source of many Esther ScrollsItalian aesthetics influenced their imagery 50
  52. 52. ESTHER SCROLL-Italy, c. 1700.Kaniel, M. (1989). A Guide to Jewish Art. NY: Allied Books.Ink and gouache on parchment, carved ivory rollerCollection of the B‟nai Brith Klutznick Jewish MuseumThis Megillot is barely two inches highIt has scenes from the Purim storyThese celebrate the triumph of virtue and faithThey support courage over wickedness, and cowardiceIt may have been intended for the use of a traveling merchantItalian Esther Scrolls use many colors and column dividers 51
  53. 53. ESTHER SCROLL-Italy, c. 1700Kaniel, M. (1989). A Guide to Jewish Art. NY: Allied BooksInk and gouache on parchment, carved ivory rollerCollection of the B‟nai Brith Klutznick Jewish MuseumThis Megillot is barely two inches highIt has scenes from the Purim storyThese celebrate the triumph of virtue and faithThey support courage over wickedness, and cowardiceIt may have been used by a traveling merchantThe stylistic approach is somewhat naïveThe illustrator does not employ linear perspectiveIt was strongly characteristic of Italian workEspecially so after the Renaissance, in the l.15th-e.16th c.Since Jews were not allowed to be members of the guildsThis illustrator may have been a Jewish folk artist 52
  54. 54. SCROLL OF ESTHER-Northern Italy, mid-18th c.Grossman, G. (1995). Jewish Art. NY: Hugh Lauter Levin, IncInk, gouache, gold and silver paint on parchment21 1/2 x 202 5/8 in. (54.6 x 514.7 cm)Michael and Judy Steinhardt CollectionThis Megillah‟s composition relates to KetubbotBoth often use an architectural approachNorthern Italian illuminated marriage contracts are similarThe text is framed in a highly decorated archwayAllegorical figures and narratives appear in each manuscriptBelow the text are additional scenes from the Esther storySpiraling columns are a reminder of Boaz and JoachimThose columns were in front of King Solomon‟s Temple 53
  55. 55. ESTHER SCROLL-Italy, early 18th c. Illuminated parchmentCollection of the B‟nai Brith Klutznick Jewish MuseumKaniel, M. (1989). A Guide to Jewish Art. NY: Allied BooksA colonnade frames the handwritten textThese are inside rectangular areasDepictions of the main characters in the Book of EstherThese are found at the capitals of the columns 54
  56. 56. ESTHER SCROLL (detail)-Italy, e. 18th c. Illuminated parchmentB‟nai Brith Klutznick National Jewish Museum CollectionKaniel, M. (1989). A Guide to Jewish Art. NY: Allied BooksA vase with flowers surmounts each imageActors‟ masks are below each columnBetween the columns are depictions from the story of PurimThese are above and below the textThis view continues the Esther storyConsidering its small size, how many people read this scroll?Were they seated around a table?Was it just read by adult men?Was it held during a synagogue serviceFurther research is needed to answer these questions 55
  57. 57. ESTHER SCROLL-Italy, 18th c.Gold and metalwork with turquoiseB‟nai Brith Klutznick National Jewish Museum CollectionThese illuminations are only at the beginning of the readingSpiral columns separate each segmentAgain there are visual references to Boaz and JoachimThose two columns stood at the entrance to the TempleThis case was probably done by a jewish craftsmanHe may have lived in Arabic landsThose Jews were especially known for their filigree workThey also were experts in setting cabachon stones 56
  58. 58. ESTHER SCROLL-Eastern Europe, e. 19th c.B‟nai Brith Klutznick National Jewish Museum CollectionEsther Scrolls contain the biblical Book of EstherNarrative scenes and decorative motifs adorn the scrollThe scroll is fully unrolled prior to readingOnly then does the reader chant the textThis Esther case is intricately decorated with repousseBas-Relief is the technique to create raised imagesPounding on the reverse side creates the dimensionA globular form surmounts the top of the caseIt resonates with royal crowns and Onion domes 57
  59. 59. ESTHER SCROLL AND SHEET OF BLESSINGS-Izmir, 1873Grossman, G. (1995). Jewish Art. NY: Hugh Lauter LevinSilver, parcel gilt; ink on parchmentHeight: 11 3/4 (30 cm); diameter: 1 3/89 (3.5 cm)The Gross Family Collection, Tel AvivMegillah and gold filigree case were a wedding giftThey were for the son-in-law of a wealthy Izmir merchantThis type of filigree originated in IzmirThis Megilla is from the late 19th c. in TurkeyThe highly patterned meticulous border motif is repeatedIt is in the larger portal archways, which divide the textThe blessing recited before the reading is at the beginningA bouquet of flowers separates it from the story 58
  60. 60. ESTHER SCROLL IN LEATHER CASE-Germany, 1834 Grossman, C. (1989). A Temple Treasury. NY: Hudson Hills Vellum. Height 4 5/8 in. (11.2 cm). Text columns 3 7/16” x 2 5/8” 6.7 cm), 27 lines Case: Leather, covered cardboard, tooled Length 4 ½” (11.5 cm), diameter 1 1/4” (3.2 cm) Inscribed: On the ay of my beloved husband, Franz Koritschoner, 1832 Gift of Mrs. Louise Brandeis Popper, Maternal Great-ddaughter of the Original Owner, 1982 (CDD 82-111) This is a “Ha-Melekh” (or “The King”) scroll It was copied so the word “King” opens every column This emphasis is an oblique reference to the King of Kings It was a way of instilling God‟s name in the text The scroll is written on vellum It is the skin of an unborn calf or goat It is a much finer surface than parchment 59 It is of much higher quality
  61. 61. FLOWEREDPURIM CASE ANDESTHER SCROLL-E.Europe, 1840Grossman, C. (1989). ATemple Treasury. NY:Hudson HillsGift of Mr. And Mrs. Henry M.Toch, 1928The silver case bears a Vienna 1840 hallmarkDouble-headed eagle in a circle indicates an Austrian originThe fine Ashkenazic scroll is in the Ha-Melekh styleThe name of God does not appear in the textThe letter „shin‟ is attached to „hay‟ at the top of the columnsThis suggests ha Shem, one of the names of GodIt is not in the scroll But always rememberedThis cylindrical container has embossed and chased panelsThey are of roses and petalled flowers in high reliefThey alternate with unadorned flat bandsRounded beaded bands are at the top and bottom borderThere is a cast flower-shaped case handle at bottomAt the top, there is an open flower finialIt is one of the names of God 60
  62. 62. ESTHER SCROLL-Ze‟ev Raban, Jerusalem, 1927Altshuler, L. (1988). In The Spirit of Tradition, Wash., DCBnai Brith Klutznick National Jewish MuseumArchitectural frameworks are common on Esther scrollsThey are along with illustrations of scenes in the storyArtists probably used book or stage sets as models 61
  63. 63. MEGILLA CASE-Bezalel, Eretz Israel, 1950s.Altshuler, L. (1988).In The Spirit of Tradition, Wash., DCBnai Brith Klutznick National jewish MuseumJews read the Scroll of Esther to celebrate PurimJews are obligated to hear the Megillah read aloud.It is read from an unadorned handwritten parchment scrollThis is an annual commemoration of their victoryCongregants follow along from embellished versionsSome have elaborate carved wood, silver, or ivory cases 62
  64. 64. MEGILLOT CASE-Smilovici, 20th c.Grossman, C. (1989). A Temple Treasury. NY: Hudson HillsMASTER: Moshe Smilovici, Tel Aviv, 1950sSilver, niello, appliqué, and engraving: semiprecious stonesHeight 7 3/4 in. (19.7 cm). Scroll: Parchment: handwrittenHeight 2 3/4 in.(7 cm).Text columns 2 1/8 x 3 1/8 in. (5.4 x 7.9cm)Gift of Arthur Diamond in memory of Estelle,1978/CEE 783Lucica Koffler Smilovici identified the case as her husbands‟His name was Moshe Smilovici and he lived from 1912-1962The case clearly identifies itself by its exuberant styleSmilovici worked with old silver for collageHe usually added set colored stones to enrich the surfaceThis is one of his best works, characterized by: Sophisticated foolish charm Juxtaposition of unrelated materials Use of color with silver Slightly askew dimensionsThe scroll was written in 1938 63
  65. 65. GREAT MOURNING-Ze‟ev Raban, Tel Aviv, 1947Raban, Z. (1982). Raban Remembered. Yeshiva University MuseumExhibition. NY. “Sinai”, Tel Aviv, publisherPhotographed by Allan RokachYeshiva University Museum, NYThis is an illustration to a Book of Esther (4:3), 1947 64
  66. 66. ARDASIR BOOK-Persia, 17th c.Grossman, G. (1995). Jewish Art. NY: Hugh Lauter Levin, Inc.Paper. 9 7/8 x 7 5/8 in. (25.1 x 19.4 cm)The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, NYThis is an Ardasir Book, Judeo-Persian bookThe Esther story is interwoven into a classic 10th c. taleThe latter is about the history of PersiaThe heroes are Ardasir, who is identified with King AhasuerusHere, the king seeks a new queen after banishing VashtiThe Ardasir book is not a MegillahIt is a manuscript composed in Judeo-Persian in 1332The Jewish poet Maulana Sahin composed itHis work was based on the Sahnameh, written in the 10th c.That is a classic work of Persian cultureThe 1st chapter of the Ardasir Book is from the SahnamehThe Esther story is combined with Jewish and Muslim legends 65This demonstrates the integration of cultural traditions
  67. 67. PURIM DOLLS-Yemen, 1930sSnyder, J. (2004). The Jewish World 365 Days.NY: Harry AbramsWood, rags, plastic, metal37 x 24.5, 39 x 29.5 cmPermanent Loan of Salman Schocken, Tel AvivThe Israel Museum. Photograph by David HarrisThese Purim dolls are from YemenThey are made of wood and ragsThey represent Haman and Zeresh, the villains in the storyYoung boys pulled them through the streets in a cartLaughter, noisemakers and toy guns accompanied themEventually the dolls were kicked off or burnedThey symbolically did this to „smite Haman‟The custom was also known in other Jewish communities 66
  68. 68. PURIM BREADSnyder, J. (2004). The Jewish World 365 Days.NY: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.Photograph: Israel Museum/Orpa SlapakOn Purim, Jews send each other gifts of foodIn Morocco these foods included a special breadIt was called KBEBZA DI PURIM or BOYOZAThe bread was baked in various shapes and formsHowever, it always contained eggs in their shellThe number of eggs are the no. of the children in the familyThey also symbolized the eyes of Haman 67
  69. 69. PURIM SHIVITI-Kurdistan, 19th c.Kaniel, M. (1989). A Guide to Jewish Art. NY: Allied Books.Paper. Height: 13 inches (33 cm.)This Shiviti has Songs and prayers relating to PurimIt also features a depiction of Psalm 67 in micrographyMicrography is the writing a text in very tiny lettersThese form the configuration of shape of some objectMany people consider this the only unique Jewish art styleThus, the psalm forms a seven-branched menorahThis Psalm Acknowledges God‟s presence Asks God to show us favorIt states that He should be revered to the ends of the earth 68
  70. 70. In the Art World, it is said that the love of: art cannot be TAUGHTIt can only be CAUGHT! 69
  71. 71. I hope I‟ve made The Art of Purim contagious to you today! 70