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Obj. ID: 33189
Sacred and Ritual Objects
  Passover plate, Germany, 1910-1920s

© , Photographer: Wurzmann, Lina, 2019

The Seder stand is shaped as a cabinet made of wood, with three drawers for matzot. The upper platter is arranged around a hexagonal piece, surrounded by six four-sided pieces. The central piece has an inscription: את חג מצות תשמר.
The four-sided pieces are inscribed with titles of Seder food:
מרור, ביצה, כרפס, כורך, חרוסת, זרוע
From top to the left: Maror (Bitterherbs); Bezah (egg); Karpas (greens), Korech; (wrap), Haroset (mixture symbolizing mortar); Zero'a (shankbone).

The plate was most probably produced by a non-professional artist. Relatively few samples of Seder plates produced by non-professionals are preserved in museum collections. 

The maker of the plate took as a model three-tiered Seder stands (See CJA objects 70747340, 17589) and porcelain Seder plates with a hexagonal central piece (See CJA object 17590) and tried to imitate expensive models in a cheap material. 

A three-tiered Seder stand in the form of a cabinet made of ceramics, metal, or wood, with three drawers for the matzot placed under a platter meant for Seder symbolic food appeared in the late eighteenth century and was still popular in the 1930s. This kind of plate was mostly in use among Jews of Western Europe. At least, the majority of extant samples originate from Germany, Austria, Bohemia, Moravia, and the Netherlands. This particular shape - three drawers for matzot and a level for Seder signs above them – was most probably developed to follow Lurianic Kabbalistic custom, which called to place matzot below and Seder signs above. Earlier those, who followed this custom, placed Seder signs directly on matzot, thus taking a risk of breaking them. In the twentieth century, three-tiered models were used by modern Judaica artists, such as Friedrich Adler and Ludwig Wolpert.

The Seder stand is decorated with wooden carvings with floral motives and the Stars of David. Beside its decorative functions, the carvings support the drawers and the upper platter. Wooden Seder plates of this type are usually not decorated with wooden carvings (See CJA objects 7340, 18843). Thus, the maker not only combined existing models but added elements untypical for this oblect.

The upper platter is decorated with inscriptions. The central inscription את חג המצות תשמר is a verse from the Book of Exodus, 23:15, saying “You shall keep the feast of unleavened bread.” Such inscription is rarely seen on Passover plates. In general, the need in the central inscription appears only when six pieces for symbolic food are arranged as sections or movable parts. Therefore, the is no single custom for the central inscription.

The word חזרת , “horse-radish,” which names one of the six symbolic pieces of food, is missing and the word כורך , “wrap,” is written instead of it. The symbolic food eaten during the Seder is discussed in the Mishna (Pesahim, 10:3) and therefore cannot be easily altered. However, there are numerous examples, when the world hazeret is replaced. E.g., plates made in Karlsbad (now Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic), included an inscription סדר הקערה , “the order of the plate,” and usually substituted hazeret with the word maror, which thus appeared on the plate two times (see CJA object 17111).  A wooden three-tier plate made in Israel in the early 20th century, replaced hazeret with “salt water” (See CJA object 18843).
Probably, hazeret in the Seder plate of the Wurzmann family was replaced by korekh for the Kabbalistic reasons. Isaac Luria (Ha-Ari), the founder of the Lurianic Kabbalah. in his book Pri Etz Hayyim described placement of symbolic food on the plate, pointing to the connection of each type of food with one of the sefirot and their place in the Tree of Sefirot: 

  • zero'a – symbolizing sefirah Hesed – on the right side,
  • bezah – symbolizing sefirah Gevurah – on the left side,
  • maror – symbolizing sefirah Tif’eret – between them;
  • haroset – symbolizing sefirah Nezah – on the right side, under the zero'a,
  • karpas – symbolizing sefirah Hod – on the left side under the bezah.

About hazeret Ha-Ari writes as follows: “And hazeret put underneath the maror, on the central line, to do with it korekh afterwards, and it symbolizes [sefirah] Yesod.” [Isaac Luria, Pri Etz Hayyim, part “Hag Ha-matzot,” chapter 6]. Thus, the inscriptions follow this order and substitute hazeret with korekh, as written by Ha-Ari. The  artist was probably acquainted with Luria’s book and followed the Kabbalistic ideas when producing this Seder plate or he reproduced a tradition spread in his community.

7 image(s)

sub-set tree:

Name/Title
Tiered Seder plate | Unknown
Object Detail
Date
between 1910 and 1920
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Unknown (Unknown)
Origin
Germany | Bayern (Bavaria)
| near the region of Mainstockhein
Historical Origin
Unknown
Community
Unknown |
Location
Unknown |
Site
Unknown
School/Style
Unknown|
Period
Unknown
Period Detail
Material/Technique
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
Iconographical Subject
Unknown |
Condition
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
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
Suggested Reconsdivuction
History/Provenance
Main Surveys & Excavations
Bibliography
Short Name
Full Name
Volume
Page
Type
Documenter
|
Researcher
Anna Berezin | 2019
Architectural Drawings
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Computer Reconsdivuction
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Section Head
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Language Editor
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Donor
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Negative/Photo. No.