Topic: 3. Text and Image
Megillat Esther, Italy, circa 1675.
Collection of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America
Despite the prevalent misconception concerning Jewish aniconism, or aversion to images, there is a long tradition, dating back to antiquity, of visual elaboration of Jewish texts. Not only do we find illumination and illustration, but also ornamentation, including gold embossments and arabesque bordering. Woodcut images were frequently incorporated into printed Jewish prayer books and haggadot.
Bland, Kalman. The Artless Jew: Medieval and Modern Affirmations and Denials of the Visual. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000.
Yerushalmi, Yosef Hayim. Haggadah and History: A Panorama in Facsimile of Five Centuries of the Printed Haggadah from the Collections of Harvard University and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1997.
Shmeruk, Khone. The Illustrations in Yiddish Books of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries [Hebrew]. Jerusalem: Akedemon, 1986.