Auction 79 Judaica from the Finkelstein Family Collection
Jun 21, 2021
8 Ramban St, Jerusalem., Israel

The auction has ended

LOT 10:

Remarkable Three-Dimensional Paper Theater – Diorama Portraying the Inauguration Ceremony of the Portuguese ...

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Sold for: $3,600
Start price:
$ 3,500
Estimated price:
$5,000 - $7,000
Auction house commission: 25%
VAT: 17% On commission only

Remarkable Three-Dimensional Paper Theater – Diorama Portraying the Inauguration Ceremony of the Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam
A unique diorama – paper theater – depicting the inauguration ceremony of the Portuguese synagogue in Amsterdam, composed of six hand-colored engravings. [Martin Engelbrecht and I. Wachsmuht, Augsburg, Germany, ca. 1730].
Diorama depicting the inauguration ceremony of the Spanish-Portuguese synagogue (1675) in Amsterdam, composed of a sequential series of six hand-colored engravings after Bernard Picard. Engravings by I. Wachsmuht.
The diorama consists of six layers, each represented by an engraving depicting different details extracted from an overall picture. The means of presentation – lining up the engravings in a peep show box – creates an illusion of depth. This particular arrangement, in a transparent case, is meant to recreate the original orientation and provide the same intended perspective.
The first layer features a pair of columns from the front of the synagogue; the second layer presents some of the male worshipers wrapped in prayer shawls gathered around a low railing; the third shows more male worshippers congregating around the "bimah" (elevated cantor's or reader's platform), where the cantor is standing alongside the Torah scroll; additional worshippers can be seen carrying a Torah scroll in the next layer; worshippers bearing yet another Torah scroll appear on the fifth layer, standing on steps leading up to the Torah ark, which has one door open to partially expose its interior; and the sixth and final layer offers a closer view of the Torah ark, with all doors open. One engraving out of the original series – second in the original sequence – depicting Christian visitors to the synagogue, underneath the title "Temple des Juifs / Juden-Synagoge, " is missing.
The fifth and sixth engravings were both evidently meant to represent the background or backdrop. It seems that two alternative, interchangeable versions of this scene were produced.
Engravings (sheet): approx. 22X18 cm. Transparent exhibit case: 46X24.5X21 cm. Good condition. Engravings have not been examined outside the case. Engravings have been incompletely cut, and hence do not fully follow detail contours.
Reference: Elka Deitsch, Havva Charm, and Sharon Liberman Mintz, "Image and Impression: Rare Prints from the Collection of the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, " New York, 2002, p. 32.

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