A Polish Brass Chanukah Lamp

A Polish Brass Chanukah Lamp

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The backplate is cast with two rampant Lions of Judah flanking a Tree of Life (?), this scene surmounted by a pair of fully formed birds. At the base of the tree in Hebrew, in high relief “Lehadlik Ner Chanukah” (To Light the Flame of Chanukah). The side panels fitted with two servant lights, fronted by a row of eight oil fonts and drip pan. Scholars theorize that these Polish Chanukah Lamps that bear two servant lights (as opposed to the singular servant light normally found on a Chanukah Lamp), served a purpose, having been used on one of the days that Chanukah fell on the Sabbath, as Sabbath Candlesticks. 19th century. An uncommon style, not found in the collections of the Jewish Museum of New York nor the Israel Museum. For another identically-designed example that is lacking the Hebrew verse, see page 143 of the book “Masterpieces of Jewish Art : Bronze” (National Museum of Ukraine). This lamp was made by the technique known as "sand casting". This process begins with a wooden mold that was carved out to create negative space, which in turn is used to make the inverse form or shape to be used for the casting of metal. The mold is pressed into fine sand mixed with clay, then removed, and molten brass poured into the impression. When a mold wears out, a casting from that mold is often used as the mold for the next generation. Those later lamps will have less detail than their older counterparts, and will be one to two percent smaller in size. In the book "Masterpieces of Jewish Art: Bronze", author Alexander Kantsedikas states: "22 percent of the Jewish males in Galicia were engaged in different types of crafts in 1820 - 1827, that is, the period to which the majority of the surviving bronze and copper artifacts date in Western Ukraine. Half a century later the figure grew to 26.2 percent, while the corresponding figure among non-Jews was 2.2 percent".

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