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

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.11

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.

creation:  approximately 1820
creation: Swinton (Greater Manchester, England)
Decorative Arts
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
Record last modified: 2022-03-21 09:53:09
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