Illuminated leaf with illustration of the Menorah
Late 15th century
Handwritten on parchment; ink, tempera, and gold leaf
H: 29; W: 23.6 cm
Gift of Jakob Michael, New York, in memory of his wife, Erna Sondheimer Michael
Accession number: B68.0057
Since the Temple’s destruction, depictions of its seven-branched candelabrum (Menorah) have served a symbol of the Temple and of redemption. Medieval Hebrew manuscripts contain many portrayals of the Menorah alongside other Tabernacle and Temple vessels. In Spain and Provence, these were especially profuse, and the Bible codex was sometimes called a Mikdashyah (God’s Temple).
This single leaf, probably part of a manuscript, shows the Menorah symmetrically flanked by tongs, incense shovels, and the three-stepped stone on which, according to the Mishnah, the priest stood to trim the lamp.
From the Israel Museum publications:
Perugia, Gioia (ed.), Treasures of Jewish Art: The Jakob, Erna, and Charles Michael Legacy in the Israel Museum, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2016
Digital presentation of this object was made possible by: The Ridgefield Foundation, New York, in memory of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir