painted textile mounted in plexi box; three scenes of imagery separated by layers of text in Hebrew; top scene has two nude figures, one male and one female standing in front of tree with snake winding around trunk; animals grouped in pairs surround figures; wreath of roses surround animals; two lines of Hebrew text beneath scene; middle scene shows dining table with a male and female figure sitting at each end; five figures seated in between; chandelier hangs over table two windows on either side; Hebrew text surrounds scene with black, orange and yellow boarder encircles text; garland of roses across circle border; crown flanked by small flowers above circular border; two lions wearing crowns on right and left side of middle scene, standing on top of a green and red ornamental platform; three lines of Hebrew under middle scene; bottom scene has ornate bouquet of flowers in grey and red diamond patterned vase; woven lace and fringe across bottom

Passover towel, 19th century

Unknown artist, expand_more
G362expand_more

This cushion cover and towel set would have been used in an elite Jewish home in the Alsace region of eastern France to celebrate the Passover Seder. During the meal, it is customary for important individuals to eat reclining in imitation of sumptuous Roman feasts when elites ate reclining on sofas. This gesture issues a reminder of the time in Jewish history when they were liberated from their enslavement in Egypt, and is meant to inspire feelings of gratitude for the fruits of freedom. This cushion cover would have contained a large cushion that was placed on the chair back of the male head of household. The decorative towel would have been used to cover utilitarian towels used during the Seder hand-washing ceremonies.

Details
Title
Passover towel
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2017.43.1
Curator Approved

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painted textile mounted in plexi box; three scenes of imagery separated by layers of text in Hebrew; top scene has two nude figures, one male and one female standing in front of tree with snake winding around trunk; animals grouped in pairs surround figures; wreath of roses surround animals; two lines of Hebrew text beneath scene; middle scene shows dining table with a male and female figure sitting at each end; five figures seated in between; chandelier hangs over table two windows on either side; Hebrew text surrounds scene with black, orange and yellow boarder encircles text; garland of roses across circle border; crown flanked by small flowers above circular border; two lions wearing crowns on right and left side of middle scene, standing on top of a green and red ornamental platform; three lines of Hebrew under middle scene; bottom scene has ornate bouquet of flowers in grey and red diamond patterned vase; woven lace and fringe across bottom