Photo © Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Avraham Hay
Hanukkah lamp adorned with Temple Menorah
Tétouan, Morocco
Late 19th or early 20th century
Brass, cast; brass sheet, pierced and engraved
Inscribed in Hebrew: “Let the seven lamps give light at the front of the lampstand” [Num 8:2]; “Blessed shall you be in your comings and blessed shall you be in your goings” [Deut 28:6]
H: 32; W: 26 cm
The Zeyde Schulmann Collection in the Israel Museum
Accession number: B63.11.3352 ; 118/450
 
 
This Hanukkah lamp from Tetuán in northern Morocco bears a depiction of the menorah on the center of the back plate, between two twisted columns, each surmounted by a decorative bird. The biblical inscriptions were believed to endow the lamp with the power to protect the home. But along with the decorative elements, they reveal a connection between the craftsmen and the Jewish professional scribes who illustrated marriage contracts (ketubbot) and various types of plaques for the home or synagogue, using similar patterns. Tetuán was a thriving center of Torah study and Jewish learning for centuries. Its Jewish population consisted of descendants of Jews expelled from Spain, as well as Jews from other Moroccan cities and from Livorno in Italy.

Publications:
Benjamin, Chaya, North African Lights, Hanukkah Lamps from the Zeyde Schulman Collection in the Israel Museum, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2003, English / Hebrew

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