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Bronze figurine of two Jewish men standing in conversation

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.149

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    Bronze figurine of two Jewish men standing in conversation
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    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Small bronze figurine of two Jewish men with several stereotypical physical features commonly attributed to Jewish men: large noses, sidelocks, and beards. They are wearing caftans (kaftans) belted by wide sashes at the 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. These garments were often worn by peddlers, 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 caftans and wide sashes 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.
    Date
    creation:  1850-1900
    Geography
    creation: Austria
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    Contributor
    Compiler: Peter Ehrenthal
    Biography
    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

    Classification
    Decorative Arts
    Category
    Metalwork
    Genre/Form
    Metalwork.
    Physical Description
    Cast bronze figurine of 2 Jewish men in top hats, ankle-length overcoats, and heeled boots in conversation. The man on the left stands in right profile, hands clasped to his chest. The other man stands facing forward, legs shoulder width apart, holding a newspaper etched CATALOGUE, with both hands at waist height. He appears to be listening to the other man. Both men have thick grooved sidelocks, mustache, and long beards with large, deepset eyes under thick brows, with long, large noses. They are screwed at the feet to a square, black stone base.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 3.750 inches (9.525 cm) | Width: 3.000 inches (7.62 cm) | Depth: 3.125 inches (7.938 cm)
    Materials
    overall : bronze, stone, metal

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    Austria.

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    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
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn538245

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