Unknown Artist/Maker1st century BCE-2nd century CE

The Jewish Museum, New York

The Jewish Museum, New York

A cache of bronze vessels, including several of these jugs with human figural decoration, was found in the Cave of the Letters in the Judean desert. It had been hidden during the Bar Kokhba revolt against Rome in 132-135 CE, when the caves were used as refuges by Jewish citizens and warriors. All of the facial features on the jugs had been defaced with incisions or filed smooth, just as on the jug shown here. The excavator suggests that the vessels represent booty taken from Roman soldiers, and that the images were defaced in accordance with the biblical injunction against graven images. The Mishnah informs us that an idol can be desecrated "...if a gentile cut off the tip of its ear, or the end of its nose, or the tip of its finger, or battered it even though nought was broken off... (Avodah Zarah 4:5)

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  • Title: Jug
  • Creator: Unknown Artist/Maker
  • Date Created: 1st century BCE-2nd century CE
  • Location: Cyprus, Asia, Greece, Asia, Europe
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm) Diameter: 4 5/16 in. (11 cm)
  • Type: Antiquities
  • Rights: https://thejewishmuseum.org/about-this-site#terms-conditions
  • External Link: View this object at thejewishmuseum.org
  • Medium: Bronze: cast and incised