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White porcelain figurine of a Jewish money changer in a gold dotted vest

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.11

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    White porcelain figurine of a Jewish money changer in a gold dotted vest

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Rockingham porcelain figurine of a Jewish money changer made in approximately 1820. He has a large nose and a long beard, both of which are stereotypical physical features commonly attributed to Jewish men. The Rockingham Works pottery factory was located in Swinton, England, on the estate of the Marquess of Rockingham. The factory produced a range of earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain pieces including tableware, figurines, and other decorative pieces. Money changers exchanged foreign coins or currency for those used locally. Many antisemitic depictions of Jews show them hoarding, counting, or handling money. These stereotypes 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 forced many Jews into occupations such as money changing or 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, greedy, and willing to engage in unethical business practices. Jews’ inability 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 man expressing an exaggerated desire for, or counting money. This figurine is one of the 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.
    Date
    creation:  approximately 1820
    Geography
    creation: Swinton (Greater Manchester, England)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    Contributor
    Compiler: Peter Ehrenthal
    Manufacturer: Rockingham Works
    Biography
    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

    Classification
    Decorative Arts
    Category
    Ceramics
    Genre/Form
    Figurines.
    Physical Description
    Colored and glazed porcelain figurine of a Jewish man in a three-piece white suit with gold-colored trim at the cuffs, on his vest and on his lapels and buttons. The vest is decorated with a pattern of small, gold-colored pairs of dots and his top hat has faded gold-colored trim along the brim. The man is also wearing black shoes and a knee-length brown jacket with a short cape. He has a large nose, long gray hair, and a long, full, gray beard. His right hand is extended, palm up, holding a handful of coins. He holds a red box tucked against his waist, under his left arm, and grips a cylindrical object, possibly a coin roll, in his left hand. He stands upon a raised, decorative, oval-shaped pedestal with a gold-colored line painted along the front-half. The figurine is discolored throughout, with several small, dirty accretions on the front. The trim on his hat is faded.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 7.250 inches (18.415 cm) | Width: 3.500 inches (8.89 cm) | Depth: 3.875 inches (9.843 cm)
    Materials
    overall : porcelain, glaze

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    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:
    2024-02-21 07:11:15
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn537092

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