A Mixed-Metals Bezalel Box

A Mixed-Metals Bezalel Box

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Hand-colored, designed by Levi Van Gelder. Published in New York by Joseph Brillant and Meyer Rabinowitz in 1865. This engraving, featuring over one hundred and ten Biblical vignettes, was made for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Levi Van Gelder was born in Amsterdam in 1816, and was already an accomplished artist by the time he immigrated to America in 1860. Another of his micrographic engravings from 1865 is in the Skirball Museum in Los Angeles. Van Gelder, a Jew, apparently had ties to the Order of Freemasons, as this work and others by him contain elements of masonic imagery. The use of this imagery reflects the increasing numbers of Jews being allowed in and joining Freemason lodges in 19th century America. Please see the publication “Journal of Jewish Art”, volume 10, pages 87-101 (1984), for the article “The Masonic Mizrah and Lamp: Jewish Ritual Art as a Reflection of Cultural Assimilation”, for an in-depth discussion by the scholar Alice Greenwald that relates to this engraving. An important piece of Jewish Americana.

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