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Bronze figurine of a Jewish man holding a rooster

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.3

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    Bronze figurine of a Jewish man holding a rooster


    Brief Narrative
    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
    base, back, inscribed : K
    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

    Physical Description
    Heavy, realistic, dark brown, cast bronze figure of a man holding-up an inverted rooster, with a cage-like basket of three chickens at his feet. He is depicted with a kippah on his head and stereotypical Jewish features: a long, hooked nose, hooded eyes, prominent side curls, and a medium length, curly beard. His mouth is open, as though speaking, while he holds the bird in his left hand and gestures with his right one. Both of his arms are raised to chest height and outstretched, with his elbows slightly bent. The upside-down rooster is suspended by its feet, with its wings spread wide and its head curled upward. The bird is very detailed, with a ridged comb and ornate feathers. The man wears a voluminous, floor-length overcoat, a button-down shirt, a wide sash tied at the waist, knee-length breeches, and flat, loafer-style shoes. On the ground, between his feet, two roosters and hen stick their heads out through the sides of the rectangular, woven basket. He stands on a circular base, his feet shoulder-width apart on the rocky surface. An uppercase letter, possible a maker’s mark, is inscribed on the back of the base. The surface is light scratched and worn throughout, and the partially hollow interior is discolored and corroded.
    overall: Height: 18.000 inches (45.72 cm) | Width: 10.125 inches (25.718 cm) | Depth: 9.625 inches (24.448 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 statue 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:
    2024-02-21 07:11:14
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