Obj. ID: 3728
Sacred and Ritual Objects Hanukkah lamp, Poland, circa 1850
The standing back-walled Hanukkah lamp is made of brass and consists of a row of oil containers, a back wall, sidewalls, two candle sockets, and legs. A row of eight rectangular oil containers is fastened to a straight bar within a box-like drip tray. The tray rests on four legs. A flat lid covers the tray. It is decorated with two parallel lines. The openwork back wall has the shape of a stepped arch. The decoration is arranged in three horizontal sections and bears geometric patterns. The rectangular side walls are decorated with two half circles. The two vase-shaped candle sockets protrude on arms from the sidewalls, with concave round trays beneath them. The legs are an integral part of the side walls.
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.
The most common type of Chanukah lamp in Galicia and later in Poland was the cast brass lamp. The curved sides of this brass lamp seem to echo the sides of two silver lamps in the Gross Family Collection, both of which draw inspiration from Biedermeier furniture. It is unusual to find this in brass lamps. These sides, the elegantly designed back, and the covered burners combine to lend this small lamp a charm of its own. The typical Chanuka lamp from this area had what appear to be two "Shamash" burners. This allowed the lamp to be used all year long, not only for Chanukah but for the kindling of two Shabbat lights as well.