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OBJECT OF THE MONTH – July 2006


Scroll of Esther in a case
 
Palestine, beginning of 20th century, Bezalel workshops
manuscript on parchment, case: silver, ivory

This Esther scroll case comes from the Bezalel workshops. The Bezalel School of Art was founded by sculptor Boris Schatz in Jerusalem in 1906 and was active intermittently until the 1930s. Bezalel members were strongly influenced by Symbolism and Oriental motifs. Their main aim was to create a national Jewish art using a combination of western and eastern elements. They produced a broad range of items, from small silver items to ceramics and wall carpets.
The shape of this case – a six-sided prism – is somewhat unusual in comparison with other Esther scroll cases. This shape allows sufficiently large space for decoration – here using the technique of relief etching with depictions of biblical figures.
This case is also one of the items on display in the exhibition Form of the Scroll, at which the Jewish Museum in Prague is featuring a selection of its 600 scrolls: ceremonial scrolls with biblical texts, private scrolls with secular motifs, purely calligraphic scrolls and illuminated and illustrated scrolls, dating from the 17th century to the present.

 


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