Monday, May 28, 2018

Signs and Symbols at The Jewish Museum in New York

The Jewish Museum in New York has an exhibit titled Signs and Symbols on view through January 6, 2019. 
The exhibit "examines the meaning of the Star of David within Jewish contexts as well as the various interpretations of the six-pointed star as a widespread motif in other cultures. Works on view range from a Bohemian Hanukkah lamp (probably 18th century) that uses the star as an emblem for this Czech Jewish community to Persian and Indian Judaica that feature the symbol as an expression of late 19th and early 20th-century Zionist sentiment. A ceramic beer pitcher from the late 19th century decorated with the star is also on display, attesting to secular use of the hexagram as a symbol for beer in Europe. Examples of post-Holocaust art are also featured, including Morris Louis’s Man Reaching for a Star (1952), and in Dana Frankfort’s Star of David (Orange) (2007), the artist intends the star to be a symbol that anyone can make the subject of a work of art".
Thanks to Amir Roggel for telling me about this event and for the photograph.


Monday, April 09, 2018

Mysterious Star of David Zion 12 Letters



Here's Matt's letter to me.
Anyone who knows the answer is invited to send me an Email to zeevveez at gmail dot com


Hello,


My name is Matt -- I find symbols and variations really interesting, particularly when I can't figure them out (and my sources can't either).

I came across this depiction of a Star of David recently. I haven't been taught Hebrew but I can tell that "Zion" is in the center. However, I cannot figure out or find other examples with the 12 other letters around the outside. I thought the 12 tribes would have been an obvious explanation, but I can only make some of them fit, 9 or so, by the first letters of their names. There's definitely no "Asher" in there as far as I can tell (but again, novice here!)

In my searches for an explanation I came across your blog and figured you may be just the person to ask. Do you perhaps know the significance of this depiction? It is a commercially-produced object, as far as I can tell. Some of my Jewish friends are stumped...

Thanks so much,
Matt

Monday, January 29, 2018

Star of David on The Libyan Sibyl

  • Creator
  • William Wetmore Story, born Salem, MA 1819-died Vallombrosa, Italy 1895
  • Created Date
  • modeled 1861, carved 1868
  • Description
  • A sybil was an ancient prophetic priestess who guarded her writings that foretold the future. The emblem on this sybil's necklace is an ancient symbol indicating her mystical powers, though today it is commonly associated with the Jewish Star of David, and with Exodus, and the escape of the Jewish people from slavery. The Libyan Sybil sits contemplating the fate of the African people, after reading the scroll she holds in her left hand. William Wetmore Story conceived this sculpture after the onset of the Civil War, and his letters confirm that he intended it to be a symbolic condemnation of African American slavery: "She is looking out of her black eyes into futurity and sees the terrible fate of her race. This is the theme of the figure--Slavery on the horizon.


  • Source: https://dp.la/
    [Digital Public Library of America]

Sunday, January 28, 2018

18th century Haftarah Book with Two Gold Stars of David


Two Gold Stars of David
This illuminated, undated codex thought to date from the 18th century consists of a Haftarah… The scribe and probably the illuminator of this manuscript was Abraham bar Chizkija ha Lévi. The manuscript previously was owned by Samuel Gráf of Csakatorn and by Anton Kohn of Zagreb, who had it in his possession around 1858. A third owner was Moses Issachar, son of Isaac of Schleining. It is now in the collections of the Slovak National Library.
Source: