Jewish Art

Blue Cypress carpet
1920-31
Wool, cotton, hand−knotted
H: 276; W: 202 cm

The Alan and Riva Slifka Collection in the Israel Museum
Accession number: B09.0848

Signed: “Marvadia Land of Israel Jerusalem” on the bottom of the inner rim; next to it is the tiny camel insignia of Marvadia

This large carpet decorated with tree and flower motifs represents a lavish imaginary garden. Rows of cypresses in various shades of blue recur along the frame as well as in the center. The evergreen cypress symbolizes eternal life, and already featured in depictions of the Western Wall before the era of Bezalel. The tree planted by Herzl on his visit to the Land of Israel in 1898 was a cypress, and it is a recurring motif in Bezalel works. The carpet was probably one of a pair; its counterpart, similar in size and in its frame of decorations, depicts “the fauna and flora of the Land of Israel.” It is now in the collection of the Kantorowitz family, whose father, Ya’acov, founded and headed Marvadia, the carpet workshop associated with Bezalel.

Publications: Benjamin, Chaya, Early Israeli Arts and Crafts: Bezalel Treasures from the Alan B. Slifka Collection in the Israel Museum, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2008, English / Hebrew

Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem