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Ceramic tile with an impression of a miserly Jew holding a money bag

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.98

Ceramic tile with antisemitic, Latin text and an image of a stern looking Jewish man holding a money pouch. The man is wearing a skull cap and has a large nose, and a long beard; all stereotypical physical features commonly attributed to Jewish men. The image of the man, coupled with the Latin text that translates to “never enough,” references the antisemitic myth of Jewish greed and avarice. Many antisemitic depictions of Jews show them hoarding, counting, or handling money. These stereotypes originated from the economic and professional restrictions placed on early European Jews. They were barred from owning land, farming, joining trade guilds, and military service. These restrictions forced many Jews into occupations such as money changing (exchanging foreign coins or currency for those used locally). 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. This canard was often visually depicted as a Jewish man expressing an exaggerated desire for, or counting money. This tile is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.

Date
creation:  approximately 1881
Geography
manufacture: Chelsea (Mass.)
Language
Latin
English
Classification
Decorative Arts
Category
Ceramics
Object Type
Ceramic tiles (lcsh)
Genre/Form
Tiles.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
 
Record last modified: 2022-05-31 12:44:44
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn537336