Hanukkah Lamp

Josef Kohn1872-1921

The Jewish Museum, New York

The Jewish Museum, New York

A unique group of Austrian lamps, produced in the late nineteenth through early twentieth century, bears a three-dimensional figure of a peacock set within a frame, as if on the stage. The significance of the peacock in this context is unclear. The bird, with its spectacular coloring and magnificent tail, has taken on a variety of meanings throughout the ages and in different cultures. In antiquity it was a symbol of immortality and resurrection, while for Christians the eyes on the tail were seen as an emblem of the omniscience of God and the church. In many cultures the peacock is a symbol of beauty, the soul, and even of light. While the last named association seems most appropriate for a Hanukkah lamp, and one can imagine how beautifully the Hanukkah lights would reflect in the peacock's spread tail, it is difficult to determine whether this was the artist's intention.

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  • Title: Hanukkah Lamp
  • Creator: Josef Kohn
  • Date Created: 1872-1921
  • Location: Vienna, Austria, Europe
  • Physical Dimensions: 12 13/16 × 10 1/8 × 5 1/4 in. (32.5 × 25.8 × 13.3 cm)
  • Type: Ceremonial Art
  • Rights: https://thejewishmuseum.org/about-this-site#terms-conditions
  • External Link: View this object at thejewishmuseum.org
  • Medium: Silver: repoussé, traced, punched, and cast