Gold-glass base

Unknown4th century CE

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

This object, from the Jewish catacombs of Rome, is made from two layers of translucent glass encasing gold leaf. It is actually the base of a vessel that was probably used in funerary banquets. After the walls of the vessel were intentionally broken, the base was affixed near a burial niche as a tomb marker.The object depicts a Torah Ark, its doors open wide to reveal three shelves of scrolls. The arks are accompanied by Jewish symbols: the menorah (seven-branched candelabrum), lulav (palm branch), etrog (citron), and shofar (ram’s horn). In addition, there is also a poignant inscription, apparently addressed to the deceased: “Drink and live, Elares.”

Credit: Acquired in 1966 through the generosity of Jakob Michael, New York, in memory of his wife, Erna Sondheimer-Michael; restituted in 2008 to the heirs to the Dzialynska Collection, Goluchow Castle, Poland, owners prior to World War II; acquired in 2008 by Dr. David and Jemima Jeselsohn, Zurich, and now on extended loan to the Israel Museum

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  • Title: Gold-glass base
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 4th century CE
  • Location: Rome
  • Type: Base
  • Rights: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Photo © IMJ, by David Harris, Peter Lanyi, Zev Radovan, Nahum Slapak, Mariana Zalzberger
  • External Link: Israel Museum, Jerusalem
  • Medium: Blown glass and gold leaf
  • Exhibition: The Beauty of Sanctity: Masterworks from Every Age, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Spring-Summer 2005
  • Dimensions: (Left) H: 0.9 cm, Diam: 10; Th 0.5 cm(Right)H: 0.9 cm; Diam: 11.7; Th 0.7 cm
  • Curator: Natalya Katsnelson


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