Home
    Under Reconstruction!
Art Alone
© Bayerische Staatsbibliothek , Photographer: Unknown, 2008

Vol. I, fol. 25v: The initial word Vayeze (וייצא, And Jacob went out) of this parashah (Gen. 28:10 - 32:3) is written at the top of the illustrated panel in gold leaf on a green ground, set below the explicit of Veelle (חסלת ואלה תולדת יצחק) and its haftarah (ומפטירין בתרי עשר ברִיש' ספר מלאכי משא דבר ה').

The panel depicts Jacob's dream on a partially faded blue ground, illustrating the commentary on Gen. 28:10-15. Jacob is reclining on the yellow base of a square altar behind him, his head resting on his right arm. He has brown hair, a red tunic and green pallium. Behind him on the right are two confronting angels on a gold ladder, the lower one accending, the other decending from a blue and magenta cloud. The accending angel wears a green tunic and a magenta mantle, the second a red garment.

Effaced plummet inscription in Hebrew display script in the outer margin, next to the panel:

  • the word ויצא (Vayeze) is negligently written three times, one below the other. 
Name/Title
Munich Rashi's Commentary on the Bible | Unknown
Object Detail
Vol. I, fol. 25v
Settings
Unknown
Date
1232/33
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Historical Origin
Unknown
Community type
Congregation
Unknown
Site
Unknown
Period
Unknown
Period Detail
Collection
Germany | Munich | Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB)
| Cod. hebr. 5/I-II (Steinschneider 1895, No. 5)
Documentation / Research project
Unknown
Material/Technique
Brown and black ink, gold leaf and green, brown, blue, yellow ochre, red and magenta.
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Density
Colors
Construction material
Measurements
Height
Length
Width
Depth
Circumference
Thickness
Diameter
Weight
Axis
Panel Measurements
40 x 53 mm.
Condition
Vestiges of the angels’ gold haloes are still visible. The facial features were erased revealing the parchment. The angels' wings, faces and hands as well as Jacob's face and hands have a grey metallic sheen. The gold leaf of the letters and the ladder has partly flaked off, showing the yellow base.
Extant
Documented by CJA
Surveyed by CJA
Present Usage
Present Usage Details
Condition of Building Fabric
Architectural Significance type
Historical significance: Event/Period
Historical significance: Collective Memory/Folklore
Historical significance: Person
Architectural Significance: Style
Architectural Significance: Artistic Decoration
Urban significance
Significance Rating
Languages of inscription
Unknown
Type of grave
Unknown
0
Ornamentation
Custom
Contents
Codicology
Scribes
Script
Number of Lines
Ruling
Pricking
Quires
Catchwords
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Direction/Location
Façade (main)
Endivances
Location of Torah Ark
Location of Apse
Location of Niche
Location of Reader's Desk
Location of Platform
Temp: Architecture Axis
Arrangement of Seats
Location of Women's Section
Direction Prayer
Direction Toward Jerusalem
Coin
Coin Series
Coin Ruler
Coin Year
Denomination
Signature
Colophon
Scribal Notes
Watermark
Hallmark
Group
Group
Group
Group
Group
Trade Mark
Binding
Decoration Program
Summary and Remarks

The presence of an altar behind Jacob alludes to the commentary (I:25v, 3rd column on Gen. 28:11, 18) according to which Jacob rested his head on a single stone which belonged to the altar of Isaac's sacrifice on Mount Moriah. Jacob set up this very stone in Bethel and anointed it (based on BT Chulin, 91b).

Fig. 1: Jacob's dream, mosaic Monreale Cathedral, c.1186 on (Kitzinger 1960, pl. 46)

 

Fig. 2: Jacob's dream, The Winchester Psalter, before 1161, London, BL Cotton Nero C iv, fol. 5 (Wormald 1973, fig. 58)

In the Monreale mosaic of c.1186 (fig. 1), Jacob's head rests on three stones. This depiction alludes to another midrash (Midrash Rabba, Bereshit 68:11), mentioning also two, four or twelve stones, which were fused into one when Jacob placed them under his head. The form of the single stone in the Winchester Psalter of before 1161 (fig. 2) resembles that in our illustration.

Fig. 3: Jacob's dream, Millstätter Genesis and Physiologus, South Bavarian region, 1120-1150/60, Klagenfurt, Kärnten Landesarchiv,Sammelh. 6/19, fol. 2v (Millstätter Genesis, facsimile 1967) 

 

Fig. 4: Jacob's dream, World Chronicle of Rudolf von Ems,  Zurich (?), c.1300 St. Gall, VadSlg MS 302, fol. 25v (Rudolf von Ems, facsimile 1982)

An earlier example of Jacob's dream appears in the Millstätter Genesis and Physiologus of 1120-1150/60 from the South Bavarian region (fig. 3). The iconography has Jacob sleeping on one stone at the foot of a ladder on which are two angels, one ascending, the other descending. A similar composition of angels on the ladder is portrayed in the World Chronicle of Rudolf von Ems of c.1300 perhaps produced in Zurich (fig. 4). Jacob's stone on the left in the form of an altar is similar in shape and colours to that on the right denoting the stone he anointed at Bethel. Perhaps these altar-like stones allude to the altar of sacrifice of Isaac, as explained in our Rashi text.

Fig. 5: Jacob's dream; Sacrifice of Isaac (top right) Lambeth Bible Canterbury, c.1140-50 London, Lambeth Palace Library MS 3, fol. 6, lower register (Bridgeman Art Library) www.bridgemanart.com LAM 58182 (pictures)

A more explicit visual connection between the Sacrifice of Isaac and its altar, and the dream of Jacob and its stone as mentioned in Rashi's text, is found in the Lambeth Bible from Canterbury of c.1140-50 (fig. 5). The Sacrifice of Isaac on an altar on Mount Moriah is seen at top right of the lower register. Jacob, at Bethel, is lying on several stones, over which he is pouring oil in the following scene. All these examples show two or more angels on the ladder. In our manuscript, however, the arrangement of the angels follows the biblical text and Rashi's commentary: climbing first and descending later (עולים ויורדים; I:25v, 3rd, column; based on Midrash Rabba 68:12).

Fig. 6: Jacob's dream, Rashi's Commentary on the Bible, Munich, BSB Cod. hebr. 5, I:25v 

Fig. 7: Jacob's dream Munich  Gumbertus Bible, Regensburg, 12th century,  Erlangen, Universitätsbibliothek Cod. 1, fol. 139v (Pirker-Aurenhammer 1998, p. 347, pl. 7B)

This feature appears in the late 12th-century Gumbertus Bible from Regensburg (fig. 7), where one angel is ascending the ladder and the other appears from clouds in heaven, similar to our depiction. Moreover, this example, in which the artist omitted the image of God (unlike other Christian examples), is similar to our manuscript (fig. 6). On the other hand, in the later Golden Haggadah of c.1320 (fig. 8) and the Sister Haggadah of the mid 14th century (fig. 9), both from Barcelona, the face of Christ was replaced by the faces of one and two angels respectively, set in the clouds.

Fig. 8: Jacob's dream, The Golden Haggadah, Barcelona, c.1320, London, BL Add. 27210, fol. 4v (Narkiss, facsimile 1970)

Fig. 9: Jacob's dream  The Sister Haggadah  Barcelona, mid 14th century London, BL Or. 2884, fol. 4v, lower register  (Narkiss 1982, pl. XLVII, fig. 161)

Suggested Reconsdivuction
History/Provenance
Main Surveys & Excavations
Bibliography
Short Name
Full Name
Volume
Page
Type
Documenter
|
Researcher
|
Architectural Drawings
|
Computer Reconstruction
|
Section Head
|
Language Editor
|
Donor
|
Negative/Photo. No.