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OBJECT OF THE MONTH – November 2006

Porcelain Hanukkah lamp
(acc. no. 91.806/4)
candelabrum/lamp Painted and printed porcelain, Bohemia, ca. 1930, unmarked as to maker

The Hanukkah lamp is used during the eight-day festival of Hanukkah, which occurs in December. The main ceremony is the lighting of special Hanukkah lights, one the first evening, two the second, and so on. Unlike the vast majority of Hanukkah lamps in the museum’s collections, this lamp is made of porcelain. The use of this material is not too surprising, however, considering the long tradition of porcelain manufacture in western Bohemia. The shape of the lamp is derived from the traditional menorah type, although the modeller had to take into consideration the fragility of the material and the nature of the product; the branches come together to form two arches bearing the plate that contains holes for the candles. This lamp exists in two distinct sizes and there are several versions with regards to colour details. What is interesting about this item is the use of printed floral decorations, which were originally intended for everyday consumer goods.


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