This book is concerned with the immanent connection of Yemenite Hebrew illuminated Bibles and the Jewish Sanaa Jewels and open a new direction to compare the painting to the Art of Architecture of The Jewish Kingdom of Himyar 320-520 A.D. and its capital Zafar, south Yemen.
Yemen – The Sunni Renaissance & Hebrew Illuminated Bibles: The Immanent Connection
At the Second Annual Symposium on Medieval & Renaissance Studies, Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies, Saint Louis University, Missouri, U.S.A., June 16-18, 2014, I gave a lecture entitled: ‘Yemen – The Sunni Renaissance & Hebrew Illuminated Bibles: The Immanent Connection’, as part of the Session: ‘Distinctions & Boundaries Across Medieval Islam’.
See: page 72 of the site (=p. 22 in the schedule of lectures). Marked W31 (painted with Yellow color). Wednesday, June 18, at 4:30PM.
In 2014, The Ben-Zvi Institiute for the Study of Jewish Communities in the East, Jerusalem, awarded me a research grant for my research entitled:
‘Yemen – Synagogues and Hebrew Illuminated Bibles: The Immanent Connection’.
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, ‘Misgav Yerushalayim’, granted me with a Research Scholarship to buy copyrighted photos for publication for my book entitled:’Sanaa: Jewels & Hebrew Illuminated Bibles’.
Yemeni jewels are very famous, however those from the eighteenth century are less scrutinize. In the frame of my Ph.D. dissertation I showed fourteen different types of Jewish jewels adorned by the Jewish bride at Ga bir al-azabקאע ביר אלעזב the Jewish neighborhood outside Sanaa and Rada’ רדאע. That includes anklets, known as כ‘לאכ‘ל in Judeo-Yemeni script, which is the Hebrew writing of the Yemeni speaking (http://www.oraberger.co.il). Jewels in couplets, such as ankletes, hardly survived from Yemen from the eighteenth century. That turns the pair of כ‘לאכ‘ל Khalakil from 1771/2 by the Jewish silversmith Salem Kasil to a test case of Jewish and Yemeni Art.
This paper is concerned with an intact original pair of Khalakil that shows ostriches and fishes as its iconography. I wish to focus on that pair of stamped anklets, signed by Salem Kasil – a Jewish silversmith from Ga bir al-azab קאע ביר אלעזב, the Jewish neighborhood outside Sanaa – as a test case of Jewish and Yemeni Art. The target is to shed light on כ’לאכ’ל Khalkil as a Jewish safeguard, due to its unique iconography of ostriches and fishes.
The iconography of ostirches in the context of Khalkil was never researched before and is shown here for the first time. The silversmith Salem Kasil chiseled his name סאלם קסיל in Judeo-Yemeni script on it. The tabi, which is the official stamp of the Zaydi imams, dates it to 1771/2 and shows al-Mahdi as the ruling Imam. At the essence of its existence lie four questions. First, why ostriches and fishes? Second, is it a new iconography of Yemen? Third, what is the art formula of ostriches and fishes in Yemen and what we can conclude out of that? Fourth, is it the same כ’לאכ’ל(pl.) of the Jewish bride of the classical Cairo Geniza community (ninth – thirteenth centuries)?
כ‘לאכ‘ל Khalakil would be examined from the point of view of Art history. The basis is the crossroad of Jewish thought and Yemeni art formulas regarding ostriches and fishes. Examples of ostriches and fishes as Yemeni brands would be provided since Antiquity up- till the twentieth century. כ‘לאכ‘ל Khalakil present the only jewels known to us today made by Salem Kasil and signed by him.
The Jubilee Volume in honor for Prof. Yosef Tobi , entitled: Ayelet Oettinger & Danny Bar-Maoz (eds.), Mittuv Yosef, Yosef Tobi Jubilee Volume. (3 volumes). Haifa, was published and its volume II [the non Hebrew volume], pp. xviii-xlv, includes my article: The Earliest Known San’a Hebrew Illuminated Pentateuch, San’a, Yemen, 1206. (Pictures from the article available here).
Yemeni Hebrew illuminated Biblesi are famous, however, those from the thirteen century were not researched yet. The aim of this article is in respect of the earliest known illuminated Pentateuch, Sanaa 1206, now in the JTS, New York. I wish to shed light on its art program, from both Jewish and Islamic Art in Yemen, as well as, its relationship with the Art of the Cairo Geniza community.
Although it is documented in the Lutzki catalog, which is the inside catalog of the Jewish Theological Seminary, New York, (henceforth JTS), its art program was never researched.
The Earliest Known Sansa Hebrew Illuminated Pentateuch, Sansa, Yemen, 1206, in JTS, New York, is much earlier than the well known ”The Sansa Pentateuch”, Sansa 1469, in The British Library, London.
The art programs of the two were never juxtaposed and never compared. I intend to do that in a different article.