Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Bronze figurine of a seated Jewish peddler

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.2

Search this record's additional resources, such as finding aids, documents, or transcripts.

No results match this search term.
Check spelling and try again.

results are loading

0 results found for “keyward

    Bronze figurine of a seated Jewish peddler

    Please select from the following options:


    Brief Narrative
    Metal figurine of a sitting Jewish peddler with a box of goods on his lap, from the 19th century. The man has several stereotypical physical features commonly attributed to Jewish men: a large nose, hooded eyes, full and thick lips, sidelocks, and a beard. Peddlers were itinerant vendors who traveled the countryside and sold goods to the public. They usually traveled alone and carried their goods with them as they went. Peddling was a common occupation for young Jewish men during the 18th and 19th centuries. Most peddlers hoped their hard work would serve as a springboard to more lucrative and comfortable occupations. However, old prejudices formed an antisemitic stereotype of the Jewish peddler. The stereotype originated from the economic and professional restrictions placed on early European Jews. They were barred from owning land, farming, joining trade guilds, and military service. These restrictions limited Jews to the occupations of retail peddling, hawking, and money lending. Additionally, medieval religious belief held that charging interest (known as usury) was sinful, and the Jews who occupied these professions were looked down upon predominantly by European Christians. They were perceived as morally deficient and willing to engage in unethical business practices. The inability of Jews to legally hold other occupations, combined with Christians’ disdain for the professions Jews were allowed to practice, helped form the canard of the greedy Jew who exploited Gentiles. This canard was often visually depicted as a Jewish peddler, an untrustworthy figure that sold cut-rate items at inflated prices. Often, they were shown carrying a sack on their back or a tray around their midsection. This figurine is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.
    creation:  1800-1899
    creation: Austria
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    Compiler: Peter Ehrenthal
    The Katz Ehrenthal Collection is a collection of more than 900 objects depicting Jews and antisemitic and anti-Jewish propaganda from the medieval to the modern era, in Europe, Russia, and the United States. The collection was amassed by Peter Ehrenthal, a Romanian Holocaust survivor, to document the pervasive history of anti-Jewish hatred in Western art, politics and popular culture. It includes crude folk art as well as pieces created by Europe's finest craftsmen, prints and periodical illustrations, posters, paintings, decorative art, and toys and everyday household items decorated with depictions of stereotypical Jewish figures.

    Physical Details

    Decorative Arts
    Physical Description
    Large, heavy, detailed cast bronze figurine of an Orthodox Jewish peddler seated on a square crate. He wears a round, brimmed hat, trousers, and a long coat with wide, notched lapels. He has stereotypical Jewish facial features: thick eyebrows, hooded eyes, a long, hooked nose, and full, thick lips, with sidelocks (peyot), and a long, textured beard. His head and upper body are tilted to his right, and angled upward. His mouth is open as though he is speaking. An open box of small, molded objects rests on his lap. He points with the long, thin index finger and angled thumb of his right hand at an object, and presses the four fingers of his left hand to his left breast. The figure is attached to low, circular base with an incised line along the top edge. The figure is hollow on the interior and there is some corrosion on the interior base. A small loss at the back of the base has a jagged edge.
    overall: Height: 11.000 inches (27.94 cm) | Diameter: 6.875 inches (17.463 cm)
    overall : bronze

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name

    Administrative Notes

    The figurine was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2016 by the Katz Family.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Special Collection
    Katz Ehrenthal Collection
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:12:33
    This page:

    Download & Licensing

    In-Person Research

    Contact Us