A Silver Inlaid Tray for Passover

A Silver Inlaid Tray for Passover

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Silver and copper inlay on brass, Syria, late 19th century. Unlike other Jewish silver inlaid trays from Syria (known as “Damascene”, as this kind of work was made famous by Jewish artisans in Damascus), this has no Arabic writing whatsoever, which is highly unusual, as these types of trays, when Hebrew verses are seen, at least one Arabic verse or saying is present as well. Not only does our tray lack any Arabic script, the multitude of Biblical scenes depicted is overwhelming, and they are all captioned in Hebrew. In the center, the daughter of Pharaoh is rescuing baby Moses in the Nile river. Working our way clockwise, we come to Aaron, and his staff becoming a snake before Pharaoh. Then, we see Moses raising his arm, when he struck the rock twice with his staff, and water gushed out of it. The next scene is the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt. The last scene is of Moses killing the Egyptian taskmaster. This elaborate tray was used at the Passover table, richly enhancing the holiday by having the viewer “re-live” scenes from the Bible which relate to Passover and our freedom from bondage in the land of Egypt.

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