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Textiles from Bohemian and Moravian Synagogues

Textiles from Bohemian and Moravian SynagogueEnglish, format 22 x 31 cm, 376 pp., hardback in a case

500 full-colour illustrations of textile items (100 full-page)

The Jewish Museum in Prague has published a de luxe catalogue of synagogue textiles from its collections for the exhibition „For Dignity and Adornment“ at the Imperial Stables, Prague Castle (March–June 2003). The catalogue texts and illustrations cover most of the textiles presented at the exhibition, as well as other select examples of the rich diversity of the Museum’s textile holdings, amounting to a thousand items. Moreover, they broaden the scope of information on individual groups of textiles by adding other striking examples. The wide variety of the collection is reflected in 500 full-colour illustrations.

The introductory part of the catalogue comprises texts by Museum staff and other experts. The initial essay by Ludmila Kybalová deals with the history, structure and basic working of the textile collection. Other essays cover the following areas: the specific symbols of Moravian synagogue textiles (Dana Veselská), valances and their specific iconography (Dana Veselská and Michaela Scheibová), textiles of oriental provenance (Markéta Procházková), fabrics of Chinese provenance (Zlata Černá), the historical background of donors (Alexandr Putík), the development of Hebrew dedicatory inscriptions and the contemporary use of Czech and German inscriptions (Jiřina Šedinová), the donation of synagogue textiles as reflected in epitaphs (Vlastimila Hamáčková), the restoration of textiles at the Jewish Museum in Prague (Veronika Nauschová and Helena Votočková), and the identification of collection points (Magda Veselská).

The following, extensive, part of the catalogue covers synagogue textile items – curtains, Torah mantles, valances and covers. Catalogue entries also include the name of the donor and information on the place from where the item came.

The catalogue ends with a glossary of Hebrew terms and an index of names and localities.
The catalogue will definitely be an indispensable source for experts dealing with Jewish material culture and for specialists responsible for textile collections at specialized museums around the world. Familiarity with the textile collection of the Jewish Museum in Prague will undoubtedly enrich the quality of research to date. It may also be assumed that this catalogue will be a useful source for the general public - artists, designers, teachers, students of various disciplines, and lovers of art in general.

To enlarge click on preview pictures:



Torah mantle, Prague, Pinkas Synagogue, 1697, donated by Moses Isaac ben Knina and his wife Mirl; embroidered architectural composition with raised columns
Torah valance, Bohemia, Mladá Boleslav, 1719; donated by the Burial Society of Boleslav; the breastplate of the High Priest (with twelve precious stones), the menorah, the altar, the Ark with the tablets of the Ten Commandments, the copper basin, the shewbread table and the gold diadem of the High Priest
Torah curtain, Bohemia, Písek, 1710; donated by Leizer ben Moses Weil and his wife Hayyah; inserted fabric, French or Italian, c.1700
Torah mantle, Moravia, Loštice, 1735; donated by Judah Leib ben Moshel Katz and his wife Pesel; beneath the dedicatory inscription is the embroidered motif of hands raised in blessing, the symbol of the Kohenim
Torah mantle, Moravia, Brno, 1837; donated by Shraga Judah ben Moses Schnabel and his wife Hindl; embroidered lions holding a crown and the Austro-Hungarian eagle
Torah mantle, Moravia, Třešť, 1766; donated by Kendel bat Faivish in memory of her husband Wolf of Worms; using perhaps 18th-century Turkish fabric with the motif of the six-pointed star
Torah mantle, Prague, Klausen Synagogue, no date, influenced by the rural Bohemian milieu, the traditional vase motif has become a flower pot with tulips
Synagogue curtain, Prague, Old-New Synagogue, 1687, donated by Moses Mirels and his wife Elkele; intricately embroidered column composition
Torah mantle, Bohemia, Havlíčkův Brod, before 1900; embroidered with a stylized Art Nouveau pattern



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