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Murano glass figure of a Jew holding a full money bag

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.41

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)
Decorative Arts
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
Record last modified: 2022-03-23 13:35:18
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