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Ceramic pitcher with two images of Jewish peddlers trying to sell their wares

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.23

English, 19th-century ceramic pitcher with two images of peddlers trying to sell their wares to customers. One peddler has a large nose and a beard; two stereotypical physical features commonly attributed to Jewish men. The other peddler is selling strings of garlic, a traditional food associated with Jews. 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 moneylending. 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. This pitcher is one of the 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.

Date
creation:  1800-1899
Geography
creation: England
Classification
Household Utensils
Category
Drinking vessels
Object Type
Pitchers (lcsh)
Genre/Form
Pottery.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
 
Record last modified: 2021-05-21 11:37:55
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn537081