Photo © Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Nahum Slapak
The Sassoon Haggadah
Spain or Southern France
Unidentified scribe
Handwritten on parchment; brown ink, tempera, gold and silver leaf; square and semi-cursive Sephardic script and later semi-cursive Provençal and Ashkenazic script
H: 21; W: 16.5 cm
Purchased by the State of Israel through an anonymous donor, London
Accession number: L-B75.0583 ; 181/041
 
 
From the Middle Ages on, one of the most frequently illustrated Jewish books has been the Haggadah (literally, “telling”), which is read during the Passover ritual meal, the Seder. This important 14th-century Haggadah testifies to the religious and artistic traditions of Sephardi Jews before the expulsion from Spain. Most of its pages are colorfully embellished with illustrations of the text and the holiday’s rituals, along with an imaginative range of grotesques, hybrid creatures, and animals.

Publications:
Weiser, Rafael (ed.), Books from Spain, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 1992, English / Hebrew
Fishof, Iris, “A Legacy on Parchment: The Sassoon Spanish Haggadah”, The Israel Museum Journal X (1992)

Digital presentation of this object was made possible by: The Ridgefield Foundation, New York, in memory of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir