Synagogue Silver from Bohemia and Moravia
January 1, 2013 @ 12:00 pm - May 1, 2029 @ 11:59 pm
The silver collection of the Jewish Museum in Prague comprises over 6,000 objects made by thirteen generations of goldsmiths and silversmiths from Central Europe. Its current form shows the influence of various historical events that left their mark on the amount and types of pieces in the collection. In the past, silver objects were appreciated not only for their artistic value, but primarily for the amount of precious metal that could be used for other purposes when required; hence, only a fraction of the early pieces has survived. For centuries Jewish participation in the trades and crafts was restricted, which is why a large portion of Jewish silver objects stems from the workshops of Christian manufacturers who were commissioned by the Jewish community and individuals. The first extant products of Jewish goldsmiths and silversmiths date from around the mid-18th century, although much earlier works of this kind are documented in archival sources. A number of artifacts point to the commercial and personal contacts of the then owners and donors. Apart from the products of local workshops, which form the bulk of the Museum’s collection, there are also pieces that were fashioned in Germany, Austria, Silesia and other countries.