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Vivian B. Mann

Abstract

This essay discusses the last two centuries of medieval Spanish art, and demonstrates that cooperative relations existed between Christians and Jews who worked either independently or together to create art both for the Church and the Jewish community. Artists of different faiths worked together in ateliers such as that headed by Ferrer Bassa (d. 1348), producing both retablos (altarpieces) as well as Latin and Hebrew manuscripts.The work of such mixed ateliers is of great significance when considering the genesis ca. 1300 of illuminated haggadot with prefatory biblical cycles and genre scenes that were produced in Spain until ca. 1360. These service books for Passover have always been viewed as a unique phenomenon within the Jewish art of Spain, their origins inexplicable. When the biblical scenes, however, are viewed in the context of contemporaneous Spanish art for the Church, their sources become more transparent.

Vivian B. Mann

The First English Collector of Jewish Wedding Rings and their Dealers

For Margaret (Peg) Olin who has always had new and unique perspectives on Jewish art

Vivian B. Mann

Abstract

This essay discusses genuine medieval Jewish marriage rings, mostly dated to the fourteenth century, and then examines the rise in the collecting of Jewish marriage rings in the nineteenth century. As a result of the paucity of genuine medieval examples, forgers created rings that drew on characteristics of the early examples and on the decorative forms and techniques of other types of jewelry. Unscrupulous dealers then sold the forged marriage rings to collectors eager to complete their collections by including a Jewish example. The essay concludes with a consideration of possible motives for acquiring Jewish marriage rings.