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93
An Exceedingly Rare Hebrew Synagogue Carving, Jobar, Syria: ca. 11th Century
Estimate
30,00050,000
LOT SOLD. 50,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
93
An Exceedingly Rare Hebrew Synagogue Carving, Jobar, Syria: ca. 11th Century
Estimate
30,00050,000
LOT SOLD. 50,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Judaica

|
New York

An Exceedingly Rare Hebrew Synagogue Carving, Jobar, Syria: ca. 11th Century
Walnut Synagogue Carving, Likely a Door to a Torah Ark (15  1/4  x 3 in.; 385 x 75 mm). Upper portion wanting. Hebrew letters, vocalization and cantillation, carved in relief, from Psalms 19:9 “The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” Beveled edges; notched on three sides. Ebony and bone inlaid border, with losses; trace remains of pigment on relief carving. Single nailhole on either side. Verso: slight worming, restricted to upper left. Paper label.
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Catalogue Note

Since time immemorial, people of every faith and culture have created special containers to house and protect those objects and artifacts most precious to them. In the Jewish tradition, the Ark of the Covenant was built to house the sacred Tablets of the Law, first in the Sanctuary in the wilderness and subsequently in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem. Based on this paradigmatic exemplar, the Jewish people have throughout their long and storied history, continued the tradition of encasing sacred scriptures within special containers. To this day, every synagogue keeps its sacred scrolls in a Torah Ark designated solely for that purpose. It has always been common practice to adorn these enclosures with verses from the Scriptures themselves. Photographic evidence from the last century reveals that the verse carved on this frieze was also carved on an ark door (no longer extant) in the famous Ben Ezra Synagogue in Cairo. The present lot may be compared to an Ark Door from Cairo, now owned jointly by The Walters Art Museum and the Yeshiva University Museum.

The paper label on the verso gives the date 1913 and the place of discovery as Jobar, a suburb of Damascus. The synagogue of Jobar dates back over 2,000 years and according to tradition was built in commemoration of the biblical prophet Elijah. Once the most important Jewish pilgrimage site in Syria, the synagogue has since been totally destroyed. This rare surviving artifact of the Jewish community at Jobar may be all that remains of this ancient and venerable community.

Literature: Threshold to the Sacred: The Ark Door of Cairo’s Ben Ezra Synagogue, an exhibition at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore Maryland. A version of this exhibition is currently on display at Yeshiva University Museum in New York City.

Important Judaica

|
New York