AUCTION 2 | Tuesday, June 03rd, 1997 at 1:00
Fine Judaica: Books, Manuscripts and Works of Art Including Property from a Dutch Private Collector and the Late T. Nachum Gidal

Back to Catalogue

Lot 188


Single manuscript vellum leaf, unsigned. Brown ink, Aschkenazi square Hebrew script in various sizes. Fine micrographic interlace forming a border of circles and lozenges surrounding stylized flowers with corner shells comprising the complete texts of the Five Megiloth (Song of Songs, Esther, Ruth, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations). Chain of alternating squares and circles containing each of the 49 days of the Omer Counting period. Elaborate central decorative elements consisting of a plan of the Temple in Jerusalem, surrounded by panels of various forms (including open-books and Torah scrolls) containing a potpourri of liturgical prayers, blessings and Biblical readings relating to Festivals through the year. Representation of the New Year portrayed by vignette of Heavenly Book and scales. Below, large rectangular panel on diced background with Psalm 137:5 Slightly faded, stained. Some minor loss to extreme outer margins where once framed (not affecting manuscript). 710x800mm

Germany/Poland ?: 1800?

Est: $35,000 - $40,000
Provenance: Private Collection, The Netherlands Spectacularly realized micrographic Omer chart of very high quality. Two similar manuscript Omer charts are in the collection of the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary, New York (see L. Avrin, Micrography as Art (1981) pl. 89), and the Ethnological Museum and Folklore Archives, Haifa (see EJ, XII 1385). Although the overall form of each of the three manuscripts is comparable, differences occur in compositional elements. The choice of liturgical texts selected and overall style lends itself to assume that the present Omer Chart is of Aschkenazi origin, possibly from Germany or Poland. Additionaly the circumspect method in which the forms of the cherubs (above the Holy of Holies) are executed allies itself to a more puritanical Aschkenazi sensibility. Even so, Avrin ascribes the JTS manuscript to Italy, although far less hesitancy existed in representing the human form. See F. Landsberger, HUCA Vol. XXVI (1955) p. 525. Despite being unsigned, it is conceivable the artist concealed his name amidst the intricate micrographic text. Grateful thanks to Dr. Shalom Sabar, Department of Art History, Hebrew University, Jerusalem for his assistance in researching this manuscript