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The Carved Wooden Torah Arks of Eastern Europe$
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Bracha Yaniv

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781906764371

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906764371.001.0001

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Construction and Design

Construction and Design

(p.31) Chapter Three Construction and Design
The Carved Wooden Torah Arks of Eastern Europe

Bracha Yaniv

Liverpool University Press

This chapter focuses on carpentry and woodcarving as the artistic skills needed for the erection of a wooden Torah ark. It discloses how Jewish craftsmanship was restricted to professions necessary for Jewish life, such as ritual slaughtering, tailoring, book printing, and bookbinding from the sixteenth until the eighteenth century. It also discusses how local artisans gradually penetrated the more sophisticated crafts and how Jews practised carpentry, woodcarving, and painting in the mid-eighteenth century. The chapter talks about a few artisans that either worked as peripatetic craftsmen or received commissions from distant communities. It mentions Snycerz as a common name among Polish artisans, which originates from the word Schnitzer, that was adopted by Jewish carvers.

Keywords:   Carpentry, woodcarving, Torah ark, Jewish craftsmanship, local artisans, Schnitzer

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