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Unpleasant looking bust of a Jewish man picking his nose

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.38

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    Unpleasant looking bust of a Jewish man picking his nose


    Brief Narrative
    Painted ceramic figurine in the shape of a caricatured Jewish man picking his nose, made in approximately 1820. The man is wearing a skullcap and has a large hooked nose, fleshy lips, hooded eyes, sidelocks, and curly hair; all stereotypical physical features commonly attributed to Jewish men. The action of the man picking his nose may be an attempt to draw attention to the stereotype of the large Jewish nose. Jews have historically been persecuted and demonized through the use of antisemitic or malevolent physical features and characteristics, such as horns and cloven feet. They may also be depicted with distorted facial features, including bulging eyes and large or hooked noses. The action of nose picking is also generally condemned and thought of as inappropriate or unclean in most cultures. This reinforces the stereotype of Jews as dirty and vectors of disease. Pejoratives such as “dirty Jew” and antisemitic myths such as a Jewish odor caused by bad hygiene or a poor diet were common during the 19th century. This bust is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.
    creation:  approximately 1820
    creation: Europe
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    Compiler: Peter Ehrenthal
    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

    Decorative Arts
    Physical Description
    Small, gray ceramic figure of a man depicted from the waist up on a square pedestal painted with a tan-surface coating. His features include: a large hooked nose, thick eyebrows, hooded eyes, fleshy lips, and curly sidelocks and hair sticking out from under a black skullcap. He wears a long-sleeved garment with a draped front. His right arm is bent upward at the elbow, with the palm facing outward and one finger inserted in his nose. His left arm is at his side, the hand resting on his stomach. The tan paint is wearing away from the surface in large flaky patches throughout and there are irregular, brown and white patches on the skullcap.
    overall: Height: 3.500 inches (8.89 cm) | Width: 2.250 inches (5.715 cm) | Depth: 1.750 inches (4.445 cm)
    overall : ceramic, paint

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name

    Administrative Notes

    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:
    2023-01-31 14:16:39
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