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White porcelain figurine of a Jewish matchmaker with his umbrella

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.39

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    White porcelain figurine of a Jewish matchmaker with his umbrella


    Brief Narrative
    White Parian porcelain figurine, possibly a shadchan, manufactured by Gardner Porcelain Works in Verbilki, Russia, near the end of the 19th century. The man is wearing a skullcap and has a large nose, sidelocks, a beard, and fleshy lips; all stereotypical physical features commonly attributed to Jewish men. In the 19th century, a Jewish man with an umbrella became a common stereotype and featured prominently in antisemitic depictions of Eastern European Jews. Umbrellas were a common accessory carried by Jewish peddlers who spent most of their time outdoors, and this stereotype may have originated with them. Shadchan (sometimes spelled, shadkhan) is the Hebrew term for a matchmaker, also known as a marriage broker. Male matchmakers are called “shadchans,” and female ones are called “shadchanit.” In return for financial compensation, a matchmaker would suggest prospective marriage mates based on the compatibility of the individuals and the suitability of their families. The matchmaker would then coach them through the courting process. Over time, the societal role of the matchmaker began to decline. However, the archetypal character of a Jewish matchmaker who glosses over physical and character defects of their clients has remained. Gardner Porcelain Works was established in 1766, and has produced fine porcelain ware for the public and the Russian monarchy. The company is still operating, and is a member of the Kremlin Suppliers Guild. This figurine is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.
    manufacture:  1875-1899
    manufacture: Verbilki (Russia)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    bottom, stamped : (illegible maker’s mark) ГАРДНЕРъ / 147 / 1 [Gardner / 147 / 1]
    Compiler: Peter Ehrenthal
    Manufacturer: Gardner Porcelain Works
    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
    Unglazed, white, Parian porcelain figurine molded as a standing male figure. He wears a kippah, a floor-length, double-breasted overcoat, and slippers. He holds an umbrella in his right hand with the handle up, as though it could double as a walking stick. His facial features are detailed and his thick eyebrows, hooded eyes, a large nose, sidelocks, and pointed beard are emphasized. His body is angled to the left and he stands on a low, rectangular base. The underside of the base is concave, with a maker’s mark stamped in the center.
    overall: Height: 8.750 inches (22.225 cm) | Width: 3.500 inches (8.89 cm) | Depth: 3.000 inches (7.62 cm)
    overall : porcelain

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    Verbilki (Russia)

    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:
    2024-02-21 07:11:15
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