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Lot 286

Decorative Porcelain Plate – "Until One Hundred Years" – Germany, Third Quarter of 20th Century

Gold-trimmed porcelain plate, inscribed "until one hundred years". Made by PRM Bavaria, Jaeger & Co, Bavaria, Germany, [third quarter of the 20th century].
Decorative plate, inscribed in gold "until one hundred years" (Hebrew), short for "May you live one hundred years".
Diameter: 29.5 cm. Loss to gilt elements. Chip to lip.

The common wish "[may you live] until one hundred and twenty years" is relatively new. Until the 19th century, a different version was more common, wishing "May you live until one hundred years". Rabbi Naphtali HaKohen Katz (1649-1718), in his will, prays that his wife "may live until the age of one hundred years and do good deeds…" (Will, Mukačevo, 1904, p. 24). In her memoir, Glikl of Hameln (1646-1727) uses the wish "may they live until one hundred years" (see Turniansky, Glikl: Memoirs 1691-1719, Waltham, Massachusetts: Brandeis University Press, 2019. Turniansky notes that this wish is rare in contemporary Yiddish texts but can be found in Hebrew ones). The Nancy community regulations of 1789 also include the expression "until one hundred years" (Schwartzfuchs, Kovetz Al Yad 27, p. 305). A famous anecdote relates that the Gaon of Vilna blessed a fellow Jew that he may live one hundred years (Landau, Hagaon Hechasid Mivilna, p. 255).
The common wish nowadays is "may you live until one hundred and twenty years". This expression has no equivalent in non-Jewish contexts, which leads to the conclusion it is a translated Yiddish greeting, originally "zolst lebn biz hundert un tsvantsig". Presumably, it draws upon the verse “his days shall be a hundred and twenty years” (Gen 6:3), which commentators explain limits the human life expectancy to one hundred and twenty years. The greeting has been adopted by Hebrew writers around the turn of the 20th century, and since can be found in rabbinical works and in Hebrew literature. Various Jewish communities used the expression in different versions, such as the Jewish-Afghani blessing to brides: "may the bride live until one hundred and twenty years, with one hundred and twenty aspects of beauty" (Pozailov, The Customs of the Jews of Afghanistan, in Vasertil (ed.), Yalkut Minhagim, p. 49).

PLEASE NOTE: Item descriptions were shortened in translation. For further information, please refer to Hebrew text.