Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Black Death treasures of a Jewish community go on show

by Derry Nairn

The Wallace Collection is to put on show the first British exhibition of jewellery hidden by German Jews before 17th century pogroms. The collection, to go on show in February, includes the first two examples of Jewish wedding rings.

Here's an extract from the press release

As the Black Death laid waste to vast swathes of Europe, wiping out a third of the population, terrified local people, unable to find a cause for the suffering, searched for a scapegoat. Suspicion and fear immediately fell upon the Jewish population, who were accused of poisoning the wells. Many Jews buried their most precious belongings, hoping to return later, but as a result of ensuing large-scale pogroms throughout Europe, never returned to reclaim them. 1000 people were killed on a single day in Erfurt - 2 March 1349.

As well as shedding new light on another dark chapter in Europe’s history, the objects illuminate both the lives of the Jewish communities who buried them and the wider picture of medieval fashion and craftsmanship. Many pieces are very intimate and extremely personal. As well as the wedding rings, the exhibition will include ‘double cups’ used in the wedding ceremony and betrothal gifts. These add an even more poignant and tragic perspective to the story.

No comments:

Blog Directory