Plates depicting a page from the Prague Haggadah
Copper plate, etched, Central Europe (?), turn of the 19th/20th centuries
Size: /01 height 214 mm, width 130 mm
/02 height 218 mm, width 130 mm
/02 height 237 mm, width 161 mm
Inv. No. MP 177.274/01-03
These plates contain low relief etchings which depict pages (made slightly smaller) from the famous Prague Haggadah, which was printed by Gershom ben Shlomo Ha-Kohen in 1526. The Haggadah, or more accurately the Passover Haggadah, is one of the most popular liturgical texts in Judaism. It sets out the order of the Pesach Seder (the ritual feast marking the start of Passover) and, most importantly, covers the biblical story of the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. The Prague Haggadah was the first illustrated Haggadah published in Central Europe and, in the following years, was to become a major source of inspiration of artists dealing with the theme of Passover. These plates, which use full-page motifs in unchanged form, are a curious reminder of the original source. Their purpose is not entirely clear but they may have been used as a decorative feature on a cabinet in which items associated with Passover were stored.