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Bisque coin bank in the shape of a Jew with a garlic bulb under each arm

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.31

Small, bisque, porcelain coin bank in the shape of a Jewish man sitting between two oversized bulbs of garlic. The man has several stereotypical physical features commonly attributed to Jewish men: a large nose and ears, sidelocks, a beard, and hooded eyes. The man’s coy facial expression and the placement of his open hands on the lower portions of the bulbs imply a carnal subtext with the bulbs. Garlic is a vegetable that has long been associated with Jews. To the ancient Israelites, garlic was a central concept of a good life as well as a key ingredient to many dishes. Babylonian rabbis also considered garlic a necessity for a good diet. However, Jews’ affinity for garlic had negative connotations as well. The ancient Romans derogatively called Jews “garlic eaters,” and the smell of garlic was widely associated with Jews. Some associated Jews’ consumption of garlic with foetor judaicus, the antisemitic belief that Jews exuded a foul-smelling odor. During the 19th century, it was believed that Jews had an odor that resembled the smell of onion and garlic, caused by bad hygiene or a poor diet. This coin bank is one of the 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.

creation:  1800-1899
creation: Germany
Decorative Arts
Coin banks.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
Record last modified: 2022-05-31 12:40:56
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