Auction 86 - Part I - Rare & Important Items

Printed Tablecloth with the Kiddush and Eruv Tavshilin Texts – Augsburg, 1759/60

Opening: $3,000
Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000
Sold for: $16,250
Including buyer's premium
Tablecloth for the Sabbath and holidays. Augsburg, Germany, 1759/60.
Printed cotton fabric; red ink.
The texts of the Kiddush for the evening meals of the Sabbath and Sabbatical holidays and the ritual of "Eruv Tavshilin" (performed when preparing a cooked food item prior to a holiday immediately followed by the Sabbath) appear at the center of the tablecloth, printed in elegant Ashkenazi script and enclosed within a decorative frame. The name of G-d is represented by a ligature, customarily used in Ashkenazi manuscripts and books. The place and date where the tablecloth was made are given in a Hebrew inscription which appears (in faded ink) outside the decorative frame: "Made in the City of Augsburg in the year ‘The Almighty illuminates my spirit to benefit the public'" [chronogram equivalent to Hebrew year 5520 = 1759/60].
Above and below the texts are images of winged putti holding flowers, and, in each of the four corners, vases filled with flowers. Geometric design at top and bottom; floral frame.
It was customary among the Jews of Germany to create elegant textiles for household use during the Sabbath and holidays. In addition to tablecloths printed and embroidered with the text of the Kiddush, we know of elegant embroidered tablecloths and towels specially made for the Passover holiday.
Tablecloths similar to the one here can be found in the collection of the Jewish Museum, New York ("Fabric of Jewish Life, " 1977 [see below], Item No. 192), and in the Gross Family Collection, Tel Aviv (documented in the Bezalel Narkiss Index of Jewish Art, Item No. 39219). The date given for the items in these two collections is Hebrew year 5525 (1764/65). Another similar but undated tablecloth is found in the collection of the Jewish Museum London ("Catalog of the Jewish Museum, London, " Item No. 365). The measurements, the colors, and the decorative elements and their placement around the text – all vary to a minor extent from one tablecloth to the next: some are printed in black and others in red; on some, the putti and flowers are embellished in gold ink; and on one tablecloth, the text is encompassed by putti on all sides. On the present tablecloth, both text and decorative elements are entirely in red.
Approx. 186X103 cm. Good condition. Several dark stains. Some unraveling and small open tears (with minor damage to print). Lightly mended.
1. Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett and Cissy Grossman, "Fabric of Jewish Life, " The Jewish Museum, New York, 1977, p. 109.
2. R.D. Barnett, "Catalog of the Jewish Museum, London, " The Jewish Museum, London, 1974, p. 71, pl. CX.
Jewish Ceremonial Art, Carpets