UNIQUE PAINTED COTTON PASSOVER BANNER. Germany, mid-19th century.
This charming example of folk art is richly colored; the spelling mistakes in the Biblical quotation point to its humble origins. The artist was clearly more focused on painting than sewing, which explains the unfinished edges. There is a tradition that the consumption of Matzah on Passover atones for the sin in the Garden of Eden - hence the depiction of Adam and Eve. Accretions from candles indicate that the banner lay flat at one time and probably served as a centre-piece laying across a dining table . For a similar banner in the collection of the Jewish Museum, New York , see The Fabric of Jewish Life (1977) No. 228, p. 25. Grateful thanks to Dr. Judith Eisenberg, textile conservator, for her research assistance