Ashkenazi Haggadah

Ashkenazi Haggadah

Ulm (Germany) — mid-15th century

The British Library's Ashkenazi Haggadah originating from Ulm: a special piece of European Jewish history and culture

  1. The beautiful Ashkenazi Haggadah from the British Library was probably created in mid-15th century Ulm

  2. The clear identification of the scribe and miniaturist who created it are rare for a Hebrew manuscript

  3. The wonderful illustrations make the London Haggadah a special piece of Jewish culture with insight into the history of the Passover rite

Ashkenazi Haggadah

  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Ashkenazi Haggadah

The gorgeous Ashkenazi Haggadah, which is stored today in the British Library in London, is an outstanding Hebrew work of art. The manuscript originated around in the mid-15th century, probably in Ulm. A special feature thereof is that the names of the artist – Joel Ben Simeon, called Feibusch – and the scribe – Meir Jaffe – are known. Feibusch, the miniaturist of the wonderful illustrations and book decoration, immortalized himself in the colophon. The precious and diverse furnishings of the manuscript make the Ashkenazi Haggadah a special piece of Jewish culture and give a glimpse into the history of the rite of Passover.

Ashkenazi Haggadah

The gorgeous Ashkenazi Haggadah, which is stored today in the British Library in London, is an outstanding Hebrew work of art. The manuscript originated around in the mid–15th century, probably in Ulm. A special feature thereof is that the names of the artist – Joel Ben Simeon, called Feibusch – and the scribe – Meir Jaffe – are known. Feibusch, the miniaturist of the wonderful illustrations and book decoration, immortalized himself in the colophon. The precious and diverse furnishings of the manuscript make the Ashkenazi Haggadah a special piece of Jewish culture and give a glimpse into the history of the rite of Passover.

Prayers and Hymns of the Passover Feast

The prayers, songs, religious texts, and other elements of the eve of Passover were spectacularly recorded in the Ashkenazi Haggadah. In this way, the great meaning of the Passover festival can find expression. The Ashkenazi Haggadah, originating around the mid–15th century in Germany, follows the German Passover Ritual.

The Wonderful Pictorial Décor

The British Library’s Haggadah with the shelf mark MS 14762 of the British Library presents itself as a particularly precious specimen of this type of manuscript on its 98 pages measuring 38 x 26 cm. The pictorial décor of the manuscript consists of 19 miniatures of gold and silver in the frames, 24 lavishly ornamented initials and word fields, numerous other colorfully-designed initials, and occasional florally ornamented borders. Additionally on fol. 17, wonderful medallions with depictions of the ten plagues accompany the text.

The Artist’s Signature

This wonderfully vivid, varied design of the manuscript with animals, people, ornaments, and other decorative accessories is the work of the artist Joel Ben Simeon aka Feibusch. He names himself in the colophon on fol. 48v, along with the first owner of the manuscript, a certain R. Jacob Matthias. Additionally, the name of the scribe, Meir Jaffe is known. Alongside the typical components, the Haggadah also contains an unusual text, a commentary by Eleazar Ben Judah of Worms.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Londoner Haggada
Londoner Haggadah
Size / Format
98 pages / 38.0 × 26.0 cm
Origin
Israel
Date
mid-15th century
Style
Language
Illustrations
98 Illustrations
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Ashkenazi Haggadah – Add. MS 14762 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Herder Verlag – Freiburg/Basel/Vienna, 1985
Limited Edition: 1000 copies
Detail Picture

Ashkenazi Haggadah

Hunting Hares

This bas-de-page miniature illustrates a mnemonic: “YaKeNHaZ”, that is, yayin (wine), kiddush (blessing), ner (candle), havdalah (separation), and zman (time). The purpose of this device is to recall sequence of ritual acts for those occasions when the close of the shabbat coincides with the eve of a festival. The mnemonic, YaKeNHaZ sounds similar to the German jage den Hasen! meaning “hunt the hare!”, thus, it was often illustrated with a hare-hunting scene such as this.

Ashkenazi Haggadah
Single Page

Ashkenazi Haggadah

The Bread of Affliction

The declaration recited at the beginning of the Magid portion of the Passover Seder is presented at the top of this page in a glimmering field of burnished gold leaf with floral embossing. At this point in the Passover Seder, the flight from slavery in Egypt is retold and matzah bread is introduced, which was created in preparation for the Israelites’ journey.

Eight people sit around a table that has been set for the Seder dinner in the bas-de-page miniature, and are shown sharing Haggadot in pairs. Above the text, superbly written in gold ink, we see two men with banderoles observing the ritualized meal from Gothic windows with pointed arches. Perched in the intricate floral marginalia to the left, a stork observes the scene as well.

Ashkenazi Haggadah
Facsimile Editions

#1 Ashkenazi Haggadah

Herder Verlag – Freiburg/Basel/Vienna, 1985

Publisher: Herder Verlag – Freiburg/Basel/Vienna, 1985
Limited Edition: 1000 copies
Binding: Blue linen with golden titles
Commentary: 1 volume by David Goldstein
Language: German
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: € (under 1,000€)
Edition available
Please ask for a quote!
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