North German Bronze Lion Aquamanile
from the Michael and Judy Steinhardt Judaica Collection
Sale at Sotheby’s
New York, NY – The Jewish Museum in New York City has acquired an extremely rare, late 12th-century North German bronze lion aquamanile for its collection. The work was purchased from the Michael and Judy Steinhardt Judaica Collection sale at Sotheby’s today.
The piece features a 16th-century Hebrew inscription on the lion’s side. Aquamanilia are figural vessels typically containing water and used for washing hands – this particular example was adopted for Jewish religious ceremonial use, probably in a synagogue. It bears a dedicatory inscription from a young man, Berekhiah Segal (the Levite), which suggests that it was donated to a synagogue possibly for use by a Levite, who would wash the hands of a priestly descendent before he blessed the congregation.
“We are delighted to add this rare and fascinating work to The Jewish Museum’s collection. The piece is an engaging example of the lion aquamanile form, simple in its ornamentation but striking. There are currently only two other known aquamanilia from the medieval era bearing Hebrew inscriptions,” observed Susan L. Braunstein, Henry J. Leir Curator, The Jewish Museum.
About The Jewish Museum
Widely admired for its exhibitions and collections that inspire people of all backgrounds, The Jewish Museum is one of the world’s preeminent institutions devoted to exploring art and Jewish culture from ancient to contemporary. Located at Fifth Avenue and 92nd Street, The Jewish Museum organizes a diverse schedule of internationally acclaimed and award-winning temporary exhibitions as well as dynamic and engaging programs for families, adults, and school groups. The Museum was established in 1904, when Judge Mayer Sulzberger donated 26 ceremonial art objects to The Jewish Theological Seminary of America as the core of a museum collection. Today, the Museum maintains a collection of 25,000 objects – paintings, sculpture, works on paper, photographs, archaeological artifacts, ritual objects, and broadcast media.
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Anne Scher or Alex Wittenberg
The Jewish Museum
212.423.3271 or firstname.lastname@example.org