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Bronze figurine of a Jewish man holding a rooster

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.3

Detailed bronze figure of an Orthodox Jewish man holding a rooster upside down by its feet, possibly created by Carl Kauba (1865-1922). The man has a long pointed nose, side curls, and a curly beard, all stereotypical physical features commonly attributed to Jewish men. The man may be performing the ceremony of Kaparot, a custom practiced by some Orthodox Jews the day before Yom Kippur. Kaparot consists of circling a chicken over one’s head nine times while reciting the appropriate text from the Bible. The purpose of the ceremony is to transfer the sins of a person to a fowl, so that it will take on any misfortune that might otherwise occur to the person. The bird is then slaughtered according to the laws of kashrut, and donated to the less fortunate or sold, on the condition that the proceeds are donated. Traditionally, roosters are used for men, and hens for women. Alternatively, money can be substituted for the bird. The figurine’s likely creator, Carl Kauba, was known for producing Viennese bronzes with polychrome finish, intricate detail, and the realistic forms, around the turn of the 20th century. His most well-known bronzes depict figures from the American West, many of which were sold in the United States. This figurine is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.

Artwork Title
creation:  approximately 1880-1920
creation: Austria
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 21:51:32
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