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An Important Papercut Illustrated Sukkah Decoration, Abraham ben Moses of Karlstadt, [Germany]: 1763
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An Important Papercut Illustrated Sukkah Decoration, Abraham ben Moses of Karlstadt, [Germany]: 1763
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An Important Papercut Illustrated Sukkah Decoration, Abraham ben Moses of Karlstadt, [Germany]: 1763
Ink and gouache on paper with gold foil ground (13 1/8 x 23 3/8 in.; 335 x 595 mm). Enlarged, decorated incipits; vocalized text; illustrations in central panels; floral and latticework papercut elements throughout. Slight scattered (damp)staining, more concentrated in outer edges; minor creasing; slight warping; small tears, mostly repaired; some paint flaked. Matted, glazed, and framed; not examined outside of the frame.
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To ornament the walls of homes and synagogues, Jewish artists created special papercuts throughout the year. The present elaborately decorated example was fashioned specifically for the holiday of Sukkot and intended to adorn the sukkah (booth) from which the festival takes its name. The talented scribe-artist Abraham ben Moses of Karlstadt has prominently placed an image of the Tablets of the Law at center, flanked by figures of Moses and Aaron. Several well-dressed members of a family observe from either side of the plaque: at right, a father and his two sons shake the lulav (palm frond) and etrog (citron), while at left, a mother and daughter stand in front of the gate to their upscale home. The plaque also features three kabbalistically-inflected prayers to be recited at various points throughout the holiday. The gold foil placed behind the cutout elements creates a dazzling effect and adds a beautiful touch to this masterpiece of folk art.

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