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Textiles from Bohemian and Moravian Synagogues

The Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and The Museum of Czech Literature posted the results of the competition The Most Beautiful Czech Books of the Year 2003. The competition was open in 7 different categories. The Jewish Museum in Prague was awarded the main prize in the category of Scientific and Professional Literature with its narrative publication „Textiles from Bohemian and Moravian Synagogues“.

The Jewish Museum in Prague has published a de luxe catalogue of synagogue textiles from its collections for the exhibition „For Dignity and Adornment“ at the Imperial Stables, Prague Castle (March–June 2003). The catalogue texts and illustrations cover most of the textiles presented at the exhibition, as well as other select examples of the rich diversity of the Museum’s textile holdings, amounting to a thousand items. Moreover, they broaden the scope of information on individual groups of textiles by adding other striking examples. The wide variety of the collection is reflected in 500 full-colour illustrations. The catalogue is in english, format 22 x 31 cm, 360 pp., hardback in a case, 500 full-colour illustrations of textile items (100 full-page).

The introductory part of the catalogue comprises texts by Museum staff and other experts. The initial essay by Ludmila Kybalová deals with the history, structure and basic working of the textile collection. Other essays cover the following areas: the specific symbols of Moravian synagogue textiles (Dana Veselská), valances and their specific iconography (Dana Veselská and Michaela Scheibová), textiles of oriental provenance (Markéta Procházková), fabrics of Chinese provenance (Zlata Černá), the historical background of donors (Alexandr Putík), the development of Hebrew dedicatory inscriptions and the contemporary use of Czech and German inscriptions (Jiřina Šedinová), the donation of synagogue textiles as reflected in epitaphs (Vlastimila Hamáčková), the restoration of textiles at the Jewish Museum in Prague (Veronika Nauschová and Helena Votočková), and the identification of collection points (Magda Veselská).

The following, extensive, part of the catalogue covers synagogue textile items – curtains, Torah mantles, valances and covers. Catalogue entries also include the name of the donor and information on the place from where the item came.

The catalogue ends with a glossary of Hebrew terms and an index of names and localities.
The catalogue will definitely be an indispensable source for experts dealing with Jewish material culture and for specialists responsible for textile collections at specialized museums around the world. Familiarity with the textile collection of the Jewish Museum in Prague will undoubtedly enrich the quality of research to date. It may also be assumed that this catalogue will be a useful source for the general public - artists, designers, teachers, students of various disciplines, and lovers of art in general.

The catalogue you can order from the Museum’s office on the address: The Jewish Museum in Prague, U stare skoly 1, 110 00 Prague 1, Czech Republic or by email [email] sales[at]jewishmuseum.cz.

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