Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Hand painted vase with a scene of Portia and Shylock in the courtroom

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.15

Two handled vase in Austrian porcelain reproducing Victorian British illustrator Walter Paget's (1863-1935) painting of Portia and Shylock in the courtroom scene from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. Shylock is a Jewish moneylender who demands that his contract for a pound of flesh, owed him by a youth who failed to repay a loan, be paid in full. Portia is the woman who poses as a lawyer and defeats Shylock in court. First published in 1600 in England, Shylock's characteristics are based upon long standing, stereotypes, still popular in a country where Jews had been expelled 300 years, since 1290. Although some scenes make him sympathetic, and show how society and his Christian enemies cruelly mistreat him, he is punished and forced to convert. The play was extremely popular in Nazi Germany, with fifty productions from 1933-1945. Despite the stereotypical and anti-Jewish elements, the play continues to spark debates over whether it must be considered antisemitic. This vase is one of more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.

creation:  approximately 1900
creation: Austria
Decorative Arts
Object Type
Vases (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
Record last modified: 2019-12-05 20:55:26
This page: