Rothschild Haggadah

Rothschild Haggadah

Northern Italy — 1479

With both religious and secular texts: one of the most valuable Haggadot in the history of Hebrew book illumination

  1. One of the most precious Haggadot in the history of Hebrew illumination originated in Northern Italy in 1479

  2. It was commissioned by Moses ben Yekutiel Hakohen and contains the Ashkenazi Seder ritual

  3. Texts both religious and secular, including a table of weights and measures, make this a highlight of Judaica

Rothschild Haggadah

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

The famous Rothschild Haggadah is considered to be one of the most precious Haggadahs in the history of Hebrew illumination. The Haggadah is stored in Jerusalem’s Israel Museum as a part of the grandiose Rothschild Miscellany. The manuscript was a commission of Moses ben Yekutiel Hakohen from the year 1479 and was made in Northern Italy. Thus it presents the wonderful illustrations of the Passover in the exuberant style of the Italian Renaissance. Alongside the classic prayers and texts for Passover, the Rothschild Haggadah also contains Maimonides’ Hilchot Chamety Umatza, the text of the Piyyut and a text concerning medieval weights and measures. Lavish Illumination of the highest quality makes the Rothschild Haggadah a masterpiece!

Rothschild Haggadah

The famous Rothschild Haggadah is considered to be one of the most precious Haggadahs in the history of Hebrew illumination. The Haggadah is stored in Jerusalem’s Israel Museum as a part of the grandiose Rothschild Miscellany. The manuscript was a commission of Moses ben Yekutiel Hakohen from the year 1479 and was made in Northern Italy. Thus it presents the wonderful illustrations of the Passover in the exuberant style of the Italian Renaissance. Alongside the classic prayers and texts for Passover, the Rothschild Haggadah also contains Maimonides’ Hilchot Chamety Umatza, the text of the Piyyut and a text concerning medieval weights and measures. Lavish Illumination of the highest quality makes the Rothschild Haggadah a masterpiece!

A Hebrew Renaissance Manuscript

In 1479, Moses ben Yekutiel Hakohen commissioned this impressive manuscript. The patron must have been a man of great wealth and taste who wanted this work to represent his riches and sophistication. Yet nonetheless, the Rothschild Haggadah is simultaneously a work of deep spirituality. So came about one of the most precious Haggadahs to ever be created! North-Italian illuminators created a magnificent potpourri of Italian Renaissance painting on the manuscript’s 44 pages.

Passover in Precious Pictures

The Rothschild Haggadah impresses, inter alia, with its variety of gold elements: fine gold dust was applied alongside elevated burnished gold and flat gold leaf in order to illuminate the manuscript’s decoration. All of it is in wonderful harmony with the delicate yet luminously bright colors of the illustrations! Alongside the main text in the middle of the page, the Rothschild Haggadah contains the Ashkenazi Seder ritual, at the margin of Maimonides’ Hilchot Chamety Umatza. This text contains laws concerning leavened and unleavened bread and gives a classic overview of Passover and its ceremonies. Additionally, the text of the Piyyut is listed, with liturgical poems and songs for all four evenings of the Passover Festival. A medieval text about weights and measures rounds out the exciting content of the manuscript.

The Fateful Provenance

Today the Rothschild Haggadah, as a part of the famous Rothschild Miscellany, is considered to be the outstanding treasure of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The collection’s famous manuscript with the shelf mark Heb. 4° 6130 can look back on an eventful history. Its name comes from its former owners, the Rothschild dynasty. James A. de Rothschild was the one who gifted the manuscript to the Israel Museum. The Rothschild Haggadah had previously been stolen by the Nazi’s during the Second World War and returned to the possession of the Rothschild family through a lucky coincidence.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Rothschild-Haggada
Size / Format
44 pages / 21.0 × 15.6 cm
Origin
Italy
Date
1479
Style
Language
Illustrations
All pages are illuminated with raised burnished gold, flat gold, powdered gold and brilliant, delicate colours
Previous Owners
Rothschild family

Available facsimile editions:
Rothschild Haggadah – Israel Museum (Jerusalem, Israel)
Facsimile Editions Ltd. – London, 2000
Limited Edition: 550 copies
Detail Picture

Rothschild Haggadah

Nishmat

Nishmat is a Jewish prayer recited during the Passover seder among other religious festivals and is regarded as a masterpiece of Jewish liturgy. It is concerned with the journey of self-discovery, describing God as a source of prayer and the human soul as part of the breath of all life. The faithful man is shown here reading the prayer while he faces a scene of various animals peacefully cohabitating with one another, including a monkey wearing a short cape with a hood, called a chaperon.

Rothschild Haggadah
Single Page

Rothschild Haggadah

Motzi Matzo and Maror

This artfully designed page integrates miniatures into the text in a manner that gives a feeling of progression from one stage of the Passover Seder to another. Here we see two of the most important parts of the ritualized meal: the Motzi Matzo or “blessing of the Matzah” (left) and the Maror or “bitter herbs” (right), which are in turn blessed and eaten.

Commissioned in 1479, this North-Italian Renaissance codex is an exemplary specimen of the Judaic manuscript tradition, which is distinguished in particular by its calligraphy: the neatly and cleverly arranged Hebrew text looks as though it were printed. Lifelike human figures with detailed facial features and natural gestures as well as the extensive use of gold leaf make this a masterpiece.

Rothschild Haggadah
Facsimile Editions

#1 Rothschild Haggadah

Facsimile Editions Ltd. – London, 2000
Rothschild Haggadah – Israel Museum (Jerusalem, Israel)
Rothschild Haggadah – Israel Museum (Jerusalem, Israel) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Facsimile Editions Ltd. – London, 2000
Limited Edition: 550 copies
Binding: Fine white vellum. The commentary volume is printed on a classical Ingres laid paper, elegantly bound to complement the facsimile. Both volumes are presented in a hand-made slip-case.
Commentary: 1 volume (79 pages) by Raphael Loewe, Jeremy Schonfield, Iris Fishof, and Joseph Falter
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: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
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