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Bronze figurine of a Jewish man reading a newspaper

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.148 a-b

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    Bronze figurine of a Jewish man reading a newspaper


    Brief Narrative
    Small bronze figurine of a Jewish man reading a newspaper titled, “catalog.” The man has several stereotypical physical features commonly attributed to Jewish men: a large nose, sidelocks, and a beard. He is wearing a caftan (kaftan) and has a large, curved umbrella handle protruding from the sash at his waist. A caftan is a long-sleeved, ankle-length coat with an open-cut at the front. Many Eastern Polish and Western Russian Jews began wearing caftans fastened with wide oriental-style sashes in the late medieval period. The garb later spread to Central Europe, but in place of the sash, a cord was used to close the front of the garment instead. Umbrellas were a common accessory carried by Jewish peddlers who spent most of their time outdoors. Peddlers were itinerant vendors who traveled the countryside and sold goods to the public. However, old prejudices stemming from the economic and professional restrictions placed on early European Jews, along with Christians’ disdain for the professions Jews were allowed to practice, formed an antisemitic stereotype 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. Both umbrellas and caftans were featured prominently in antisemitic depictions of Eastern European Jews. This figurine is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.
    creation:  1850-1900
    creation: Austria
    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
    Cast bronze figurine of a Jewish man in a top hat, ankle-length overcoat, and heeled boots. He holds a newspaper etched CATALOGUE, before him with both hands and has a crook umbrella handle emerging from his waistband. He has thick, grooved sidelocks, mustache, and long beard with large, deepset eyes under thick brows, and a long, large nose. He stands facing forward, legs shoulder width apart.
    overall: Height: 3.250 inches (8.255 cm) | Width: 1.250 inches (3.175 cm) | Depth: 1.125 inches (2.858 cm)
    overall : bronze, stone, metal

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name

    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:
    2022-07-28 18:12:38
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