Obj. ID: 19454
Sacred and Ritual Objects Hanukkah lamp, Tlemcen (?), circa 1900
The following description was prepared by William Gross:
The festival of Chanukah is celebrated in the winter period around December and commemorates a Biblical story in which the Jews of the Land of Israel rebel against the Greek occupiers. They reclaim the desecrated Holy Temple in Jerusalem and, miraculously, the small amount of pure oil remaining is enough to keep the Temple light going for eight days. Lamps with eight burners are lit during this holiday, both in the synagogue and at home. Through the centuries, such lamps have taken a wide variety of forms.
This type of Chanukah menorah was long thought to be of Moroccan origin. It is related to Moroccan types by the repetitive arches, but recent research by the Israel Museum shows it to be from Algeria. Such models were probably produced in Tlemcen, close to the Moroccan border, which accounts for the strong Moroccan influence. The pointed arches and use of the hamsa motif are typical for the general area in North Africa. The use of the "hamsa" as a decorative motif is common in North Africa, but unusual in Chanukah lamps.