4th century CE
Blown glass and gold leaf
Diam: 11.7; Th: 0.7 cm
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
Accession number: 2008.22/1
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).