Torah shield, Inv. No. 37.427
Hammered and chased silver, Prague, 1815, Karel Skøemenec
Height 284 mm, width 256 mm
The shield on display comes from the workshop of the Prague silversmith Karel Skøemenec, who was active in 1768–1820. Focusing mainly on quantity, Skøemenec produced a large amount of items of mediocre quality. In the final period of his career, he was one of the largest suppliers of ritual silverware for Jewish communities. The latter urgently needed replacements for items made from precious metals that had been officially confiscated for the state coffers in 1809–10. This shield adheres to the traditional shape and decoration. The workmanship is relatively crude, which is typical of Skøemenec’s late work. An interesting detail in the lower part of the shield is the motif of a lion couchant with the tablets of the Ten Commandments, a motif that appears relatively seldom in such a rendition.
A copy of the shield was made using the original technique and was presented to the Israeli President Chaim Herzog as a gift during his state visit to Czechoslovakia in October 1991.