Judging by the decoration, both of these porcelain cups were intended for use during the holiday of Purim, which this year begins on 27 February (on the civil calendar) at sundown. Purim is one of the Jewish festivals that commemorate an event that actually happened – in this case, the rescue of the Jewish people of the Persian Empire from annihilation thanks to the courage and wisdom of Queen Esther and her uncle Moredecai. This event is recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther. The scenes on the cups depict some of the key moments of the story. The first shows Queen Esther in audience with King Ahasuerus, requesting him to hold a feast; the second depicts the feast of the king, queen and prime minister Haman, at which the latter’s plans to annihilate the Jews became known.
The cups were unmarked and were probably made in a porcelain factory in western Bohemia. The precise date of manufacture is given under the depiction and corresponds to the year 1914 on the civil calendar.
Cups with Purim motifs, Inv. No. 91.801/01,02
Porcelain, printed decoration, Bohemia (?), 1914, date in the inscription
Height: 68 mm, diameter: 63 mm