Luminous Art


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Hanukkah Menorahs of The Jewish Museum

Susan L. Braunstein

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A magnificent array of Hanukkah menorahs and lamps that shed light on the Jewish traditions that produced them

The ceremonial kindling of lights each night during the eight-day holiday of Hanukkah commemorates an ancient victory for religious freedom—the liberation and rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem in 164 BCE. As their diversity and beauty attest, Hanukkah lamps are singularly important as a form of ceremonial art and are among Judaism’s best-loved traditional objects. This superbly illustrated book showcases more than 100 Hanukkah lamps selected from the extensive collection of The Jewish Museum in New York. The featured lamps date from the Renaissance to our own time, and were created from a wide variety of materials in virtually every part of the world, including the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa.

Susan L. Braunstein provides an engaging overview of the Hanukkah lamp and discusses its origins in Jewish tradition, its many innovative forms, its enduring ritual uses, and its social context. She also includes a short informative essay about each of the wonderfully varied lamps pictured in the book.

Published in association with The Jewish Museum, New York

Susan L. Braunstein is curator of archaeology and Judaica and head of the Judaica Department at The Jewish Museum in New York. She is also adjunct instructor of Jewish art and material culture at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. She is coeditor of Getting Comfortable in New York: The American Jewish Home, 1880–1951 and coauthor of Israel in Antiquity: From David to Herod.

"Learned and lively."—American Craft

Luminous Art is a very handsome publication, whose opening pages outline the historical background of the Hanukkah festival, its evolution over the centuries, the variety of forms that the lamps may take, and some of the men and women who pioneered in the collection of this material. This is followed by detailed descriptions of the lamps, each of which is illustrated by color photographs of high quality. Essential.”—Choice


“Superbly illustrated.”—From House to Home

“Exquisite. . . . The great and lasting glory of this volume is its high level of photographic work, in addition to the splendid production values that Yale has characteristically lavished on this singular project.”—Robert Leiter, Jewish Exponent

“This book is an elegant account of controlled fantasy, a romp through many decorative styles, with Judaism taking on the tincture of everything from the rococo to Art Deco.”—Jed Perl, New Republic

Finalist for the 2005 National Jewish Book Award in the Visual Arts category, given by the Jewish Book Council
ISBN: 9780300103878
Publication Date: October 11, 2004
Publishing Partner: Published in association with The Jewish Museum, New York
256 pages, 9 x 12
19 b/w + 129 color illus.
Five Centuries of Hanukkah Lamps from The Jewish Museum

A Catalogue Raisonné

Susan L. Braunstein

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