Hanukkah Lamp with Torah Ark
Eastern Europe, 19th century
Cast, gilt and filigree silver, 28X26.5 cm
Gift of Beniamino Matatia Family, To Israel with love, from Italy.
Hanukkah lamp with ark
Eastern Europe, 19th century
Silver in filigree work, gilded and cast, 28X26.5 Cm
A gift from the Benjamin Matitya family from Florence, Italy to Israel with love.
As you can see, our collections hold Menorahs that were made of pre-existing objects, or that were modified to better fit it's new owners. but some menorahs were made for this purposes and their decoration has a meaning. this Menorah is different both in its technique and its iconography.
The menorah is made in a technique known as Filigree - bending thin silver wires into different shapes. together they are made into a delicate lattice work that resembles lace. This lace like work was place against a gilded silver plaque that further enhances it.
In the middle of this Menorah, we have two doors representing the doors of a Torah arc. Behind the doors are the first ten letters in the Hebrew Alphabet - representing the Ten Commandments. Above the doors we have a flying dove- representing the Shechina and salvation.
Although most of this Menorah was made in filigree, some parts were made by casting, such as the urns decorated with flowers, or the oil cans in the front. in Israel Filigree is mostly associated with the art of Yemenite jewelers and the workshop of Bezalel school in the early 20th century. But this menorah is from Eastern Europe and many similar menorahs exist.
In the museum's collection, menorahs were made from objects that were already in existence, and menorahs that had undergone changes and adjustments, as well as those that had been specially prepared and represented a certain idea. This menorah is very different from the other menorahs displayed in the exhibition, both in its technique and in the descriptions that adorn it.
The menorah is made using the filigree technique - bending thin silver strips into a variety of shapes. These join together into delicate silver tufts like lace. Against them was placed a gilded silver tablet emphasizing the beauty of the filigree work. At the center of this menorah is a pair of doors that are a representation of an ark. Behind the doors, on the gilded silver tablet, are engraved the first ten letters of the Hebrew alphabet - which represent the Ten Commandments and the entire Torah. Above the coffin hovers a small silver dove - a symbol of the Divine and of redemption.
Parts of the menorah were not created by filigree work but by casting. The urns from which the wicks burn and also the flowering urns at the top of the pillars on either side of the ark. Although the work of the filigree is most identified with the work of Yemenite goldsmiths and the work of Bezalel, this menorah originated in Eastern Europe and there are many similar examples.