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Obj. ID: 8846
Jewish Architecture
  Synagogue in Čekiškė - Torah ark

© “Synagogues in Lithuania: A Catalogue” Archives, Photographer: Červiakov, Vitalij, 2006

The Torah ark is built of brick, plastered and painted. It consists of a pedestal, a main tier with a niche for the Torah scrolls, and the upper tier reaching the actual ceiling (apparently, there were more tiers in between the actual ceiling and the original barrel vault). The pedestal of the ark is based on a stepping ground plan; it has a recessed middle part and squarish overlapping balusters on the sides. It is currently painted over in dark green. The main tier includes three columns and one pilaster on either side of the central rectangular Torah niche; they bear a broken entablature. The columns and pilasters are painted in light green and their capitals are cast in the form of shells, painted in blue and yellow, with a row of small shells painted in red and white. The Torah niche is spanned with a sinuous-shaped pediment. There is a Hebrew inscription in a field above the niche and beneath the pediment: ויהי בנסע הארן (“Whenever the ark set out,” Num. 10:35, the opening phrase of the prayer said when the Torah scrolls are taken from the ark to the bimah). Flowers flanked by two pigeons are painted on the pediment above the niche.

The frieze bears depictions of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. They are grouped according to their mothers (the children of Leah on the right, southern side, the children of Bilhah, Zilpah, and Rachel on the left, northern side) and placed in order of seniority. The tribe of Joseph is represented by his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, and Reuben is represented twice, thus expanding the number of images to fourteen. The depictions on the southern part of the frieze include, from right to left: a stream for Reuben (Gen. 49:4), a sword with the town gate of Shechem for Simeon (Gen. 34:25, 49:5-6), a mandrake for Reuben again (Gen. 30:14-17), a harp for Levi (I Chron. 15:16; II Chron. 5:12), a lion for Judah (Gen. 49:9), a donkey for Issachar (Gen. 49:14), and a ship for Zebulun (Gen. 43:13). On the northern part there are, from right to left: a serpent for Dan (Gen. 49:17), a deer (hind) for Naphtali (Gen. 49:21), a banner for Gad (symbolizing troops or a camp, Gen. 49:19), an olive branch (badly preserved) for Asher (Deut. 33:24), a flower for Ephraim (Is. 28:1), a bull for Manasseh (Deut. 33:17), and a wolf for Benjamin (Gen. 49:27). The parts of the frieze adjacent to the pediment and to the walls are covered with simple plants. In general, the depiction of the Tribes of Israel is a late phenomenon, which appears only at the last years of the 19th and early 20th century.

The upper tier of the Torah ark includes six pilasters. Four of them have a figured face, decorated with a flower rosette and a vertical panel above it. The central field of this tier contains a twin arch, apparently designated for the Tablets of the Law. Most likely, glass tablets were inserted there. Thus, the light shining through the window behind the Torah ark would illuminate the tablets as if visually referring to “the commandment is a lamp, and the law is light” (Prov. 6:23). Vestiges of a plaster Crown of Torah flanked by painted plants are discernable above the niche. The side bays of the upper tier are pierced with oculi, which would presumably have originally borne glass bearing inscriptions too. Vases with flowers are painted under the oculi.

The molded cornice above the pilasters is surmounted by two volutes abutting to the ceiling. This tier of the Torah ark is flanked by two eagles painted on the wall.

57 image(s)

sub-set tree:

Name/Title
Synagogue in Čekiškė - Torah ark | Unknown
Object Detail
Date
1887-1900?
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Unknown (Unknown)
Historical Origin
Unknown
Community type
Congregation
Unknown
Location
Lithuania | Kaunas County | Čekiškė
| 16 Ateities St.
Site
Unknown
School/Style
Unknown|
Period
Unknown
Period Detail
Collection
Unknown |
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
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
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
Suggested Reconsdivuction
History/Provenance
Main Surveys & Excavations
Bibliography

Cohen-Mushlin, Aliza, Sergey Kravtsov, Vladimir Levin, Giedrė Mickūnaitė, Jurgita Šiaučiūnaitė-Verbickienė (eds.), Synagogues in Lithuania. A Catalogue, 2 vols. (Vilnius, 2010-12)
Short Name
Full Name
Volume
Page
Type
Documenter
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Author of description
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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.