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Obj. ID: 19466
Jewish Architecture
  Great Synagogue in Kėdainiai - Interior

© , Photographer: Unknown, 1930s

The interior of the Great Synagogue is known from interwar photographs. The walls of the prayer hall were crowned with a dentiled cornice echoing the exterior one. The hall had eight windows; it was spanned with a wooden barrel vault decorated with paintings. A photograph shows a lion on the left side of the Torah ark, while the legs of a unicorn are discernible on the right. A local Russian teacher wrote in 1898 that “the vault is decorated artistically with different types of flora and fauna” (I. Ptashkin, “Mestechko Keidany”, in Pamiatnaia knizhka Kovenskoi gubernii na 1899 god (Kovna, 1898), 71).

The magnificent three-tier wooden Torah ark was situated at the center of the southeastern wall. According to a memoir, it was decorated with “colored and gilded flowers, animals and birds;” it also included an “eternal” calendar (seen on the columns of the first tier). On one of the columns hung a parchment under glass, with a versified text about the erection of the synagogue, which referred to the year when the work was finished, אשרינו בשנת (i.e. 1807). (Borukh Haim Cassel, “Di shtot keydan,” in Keydan: a zaml-bukh, eds. Borukh Khaim Cassel and Haim Yakov Epshtein (New York, 1930), p. 27).

The ark stood on a massive concave base and was accessed by stairs fenced by wrought metal bars. The first tier of the ark included the Torah shrine flanked by two pairs of openwork carved columns; the central, convex part of its frieze was decorated with a pair of griffins. In the center of the second tier, the convex Tablets of the Law were flanked by rampant regardant lions and topped by a crown inscribed with כתר תורה (the Crown of the Torah); this composition was flanked by two pairs of carved columns. The frieze of this tier was decorated with the combat of the Leviathan and Wild Ox – a scene of Messianic days. The third tier had only one column on either side. Hands in the priestly gesture of blessing, surmounted with a Crown of the Priesthood in its center, were flanked by rampant regardant creatures, probably lions. The ark was topped with two lateral obelisks and central openwork. All the tiers of the ark were flanked with openwork panels and wings, carved with floral motifs and depictions of birds, animals, and sea monsters.

(From Aliza Cohen-Mushlin, Sergey Kravtsov, Vladimir Levin, Giedrė Mickūnaitė and Jurgita Šiaučiūnaitė-Verbickienė (eds.), Synagogues in Lithuania: A Catalogue, vol. 1 (Vilnius, 2010), p. 246ff).

1 image(s)

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Name/Title
Great Synagogue in Kėdainiai - Torah ark | Unknown
Object Detail
Monument Setting
Unknown
Date
1784-1806
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Unknown (Unknown)
Historical Origin
Unknown
Community type
Congregation
Unknown
Site
Unknown
School/Style
Unknown|
Period
Unknown
Period Detail
Collection
Unknown |
Documentation / Research project
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: VIlnius Academy of Art Press, 2010-12)
Short Name
Full Name
Volume
Page
Type
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Author of description
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Architectural Drawings
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Computer Reconstruction
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Negative/Photo. No.