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Murano glass figure of a Jew holding a full money bag

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.41

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    Murano glass figure of a Jew holding a full money bag

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    Brief Narrative
    Murano glass figurine of a Jewish man holding a large sack of money, with a vacant expression on his face. The man is wearing a skullcap and has a large nose, sidelocks, and a beard; all stereotypical physical features commonly attributed to Jewish men. The moneybag in his hands is a reference to the stereotype of the greedy Jew. This stereotype dates back to the Middle Ages, when economic and professional restrictions were placed on early European Jews. These restrictions limited many Jews to the occupations of retail peddling, hawking, and moneylending. 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 and willing to engage in unethical business practices. The inability of Jews 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. Murano glass comes from the small island of Murano in Venice, Italy. Glassmaking on the island dates back to 1291, when the Venetian government ordered the glassmakers to relocate to Murano as a precautionary measure against fire. During creation, the glass is mixed with minerals to give it vibrant colors. The mixture is then mouth-blown and handcrafted into a range of forms and shapes by glassmakers. This statue is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.
    manufacture:  1900-1999
    manufacture: Murano (Italy)
    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
    Heavy, colored glass figurine shaped as a slender man clutching a large, swirly orange sack. He wears a green, full-length robe that pools into folds at the back bottom and has long, billowy sleeves. Pointed brown shoes emerge from beneath the robe’s hem and he wears a flat, black kippah on his head. His features include: an elongated, pointed nose, curly, brown sidelocks, and a pointed beard. He has a tuft of hair poking out from under his skullcap and extending down the center of his forehead. He has small, round eyes and a horizontal impressed line for a mouth. His large hands hold the sack up, close to his chest, as he looks off to his right. He stands on a circular, opaque, swirly white base with an almost clear scalloped edge.
    overall: Height: 8.000 inches (20.32 cm) | Width: 3.750 inches (9.525 cm) | Depth: 3.875 inches (9.843 cm)
    overall : glass

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    Murano (Italy)

    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 07:11:14
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