A Carved Panel for the Synagogue

A Carved Panel for the Synagogue

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Romania, 19th century. This panel was situated above the case that held the Torah scrolls in a Synagogue, and is known as an ark pediment. Exquisitely carved from one block of wood, the artisan who made this panel brought great spirit to the task of executing a traditional ark decoration, which features upright Lions of Judah standing on either side of the Ten Commandment tablets, above which is a crown, and is titled in Hebrew “Crown of Torah”. The faces of these lions are fascinating, as they resemble wolves rather than lions. This is likely due to the fact that the carver had never seen a lion, but had seen other wild animals native to Romania, such as wolves. Indeed, Romania today is known as the country with the largest wolf population in all of Europe.

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