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, which 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 base depicts a Torah Ark, its doors open wide to reveal three shelves of scrolls. The ark is accompanied by Jewish symbols: the menorah (seven-branched candelabrum), lulav (palm branch), etrog (citron), and shofar (ram’s horn).
From the Israel Museum publications:
Israeli, Yael, Ancient Glass in the Israel Museum: The Eliahu Dobkin Collection and Other Gifts, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel, 2003
Zalmona, Yigal, ed., The Israel Museum at 40: Masterworks of Beauty and Sanctity, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2005
The Israel Museum, Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2005
Beauty and Sanctity: the Israel Museum at 40. A Series of Exhibitions Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Zalmona, Yigal, 2006
The Beauty of Sanctity: Masterworks from Every Age, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 29/03/2005 - 12/11/2005
Digital presentation of this object was made possible by: The Ridgefield Foundation, New York, in memory of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir