An important silver and agate box. Josef Hoffmann, Wiener Werkstätte 1911
Josef Hoffmann ( Pirnitz 1870-1956 Vienna) was one of the founders of the Vienna Secession, an artists’ group…
The back plate in decorated with embossed scrolling flower stems. In the centre at the top is an plane oval crowned shield.
One oil lamp is affixed under the shield (the Shamas). Underneath, out of a stylized flowerbunch, eight oil lamps derive. A dripping pan is fastened to the bottom of the back plate. The chanukia stands on three round feet.
Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights and Feast of Dedication, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt.
The Maccabees who liberated the Land of Israel from the occupying Syrian Greeks, were determined to purify the Second Temple by burning ritual oil in the Temple’s menorah for eight days. But to their dismay, they discovered that there was only one day’s worth of oil left in the Temple. They lit the menorah anyway and to their surprise, every morning the flask of oil was refilled.
The Hanukkah menorah, or chanukia, is a nine-branched candelabrum lit during Hanukkah. On each night a new branch is lit. The ninth holder, called the shamash (“helper” or “servant”), is for a candle used to light all other candles and/or to be used as an extra light. To be kosher the shamash must be offset on a higher or lower plane than the main eight candles or oil lamps.
Due to the size and material is obvious that this chanukia is made for the private domain. It is likely that the client for this rare golden chanukia came from the Sephardic community. The decoration of flowers would indicate that. The Portuguese Jewish community had a preference for this flower style that is also found on many tombstones.
Abraham Effemans was a famous ‘small worker’, who worked from about 1705 until before 1756. He was a specialist in silver miniatures that were collected enthusiastically in Amsterdam.
Private collection. Belgium
Gifts from the Heart, Zwolle/Amsterdam 2004, p. 66
Abraham Effemans, Amsterdam, circa 1710
h. 12,5 cm, w. 12,3 cm