Hanukkah Lamp

Unknown Artist/Makerfirst half 19th century

The Jewish Museum, New York

The Jewish Museum, New York
New York, United States

This lamp is in the form of a Torah ark. It is made of silver filigree, a technique in which silver wires are bent or curled to form various patterns. Since the technique is basically the same the world over, what distinguishes the workmanship of one period and place from another is the pattern of the filigree, as well as any appliqué elements such as granules, enamel, or small diamond-shaped plaques. Observation of the patterns on eastern European filigree Hanukkah lamps reveals that a distinct change took place over the course of the nineteenth century. The wires on the earlier-nineteenth-century examples, as seen here, were usually shaped into heart or oval forms that covered the surface of the lamp. Filigree work on lamps made in the latter half of the nineteenth century, predominantly from Zhitomir, Ukraine, consists of broad S-shaped swirling patterns.
The profusion of colored "stones" is unusual for these filigree lamps. Imitations of precious stones became fashionable in the eighteenth century, perhaps because of the prevalence of robbers who preyed upon travelers.
The rolled band decoration that frames the doors provides the earliest possible date of production, since it was created through a mechanized technique that only became common in the early nineteenth century.


  • Title: Hanukkah Lamp
  • Creator: Unknown Artist/Maker
  • Date Created: first half 19th century
  • Location: Russia, Asia, Poland, Europe
  • Physical Dimensions: 10 13/16 × 16 3/4 × 4 3/4 in. (27.4 × 42.5 × 12.1 cm)
  • Type: Ceremonial Art
  • Rights: https://thejewishmuseum.org/about-this-site#terms-conditions
  • External Link: View this object at thejewishmuseum.org
  • Medium: Silver: filigree, appliqué, and cast; semiprecious stones; glass

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