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Bronze dish of a Jewish peddler at an open window

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.112

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    Bronze dish of a Jewish peddler at an open window


    Brief Narrative
    Bronze-plated metal dish, possibly used as an ashtray, with a bas relief of a Jewish peddler calling at an open window. Peddlers were vendors who traveled the countryside and sold goods to the public. They usually traveled alone and carried their goods with them as they went. Peddling was a common occupation for young Jewish men during the 18th and 19th centuries. Most peddlers hoped their hard work would serve as a springboard to more lucrative and comfortable occupations. However, old prejudices formed an antisemitic stereotype of the Jewish peddler. The stereotype 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 limited 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. This canard was often visually depicted as a Jewish peddler, an untrustworthy figure that sold cut rate items at inflated prices. This dish is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.
    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

    Object Type
    Ashtrays (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Circular, bronze plated, silver colored cast metal dish with a bas relief of an old man calling from an open window flanked by wood grained shutters with trefoil clasps. He wears a domed hat and has caricatured Jewish features: curled sidelocks and a long straggly beard, a very large hooked nose, hooded eyes, and full lips open in a nearly toothless grin. He gestures from the window ledge with the raised index finger of his right hand. The recessed lines of the design are accented with black paint. The dish has a shallow well, a flat, narrow rim, and slightly curved sides. The surface is worn and discolored. The back shows the mold impression.
    overall: | Depth: 0.875 inches (2.223 cm) | Diameter: 5.250 inches (13.335 cm)
    overall : metal

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The dish 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:
    2022-07-28 18:12:38
    This page:

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