The British Library
homeHome  >   Online Gallery  >   Virtual books
   
print

Golden Haggadah - Liberation and Preparation, folios 14v - 15.

Turning the Pages - Golden Haggadah: Liberation and Preparation, folios 14v - 15.
Copyright © The British Library Board

In this last opening of the sequence of full-page miniatures, the artist concentrates on two themes: the Israelites' liberation and joyful departure from Egypt, and preparations for the Passover Festival.

The artist's mastery of contemporary Italian techniques, aimed at creating space and depth, can best be seen in the miniatures on the left-hand page. Here, architectural backgrounds of niches, arched windows, coffered ceilings, and canopies create a distinct sense of space lacking elsewhere in the manuscript.

folio 14v

This illustrates the plague of the first-born. In the upper-right scene, a man is struck by an angel's sword; in the left scene, the queen mourns her baby lying lifeless on a nurse's lap; the third scene, not recorded in the Bible, probably represents the funeral of the first-born.

Pharaoh, on a battlement, orders the Israelites to leave Egypt. Followed by Moses, the Israelites, holding lumps of dough, walk with hands raised illustrating the verse: 'And the children of Israel went out with a high hand'.

The pursuing Egyptians are depicted as contemporary knights led by a crowned king. The heraldic devices in Hebrew medieval manuscripts portrayed personal arms, but the impossibility of identification has reduced most of them to a purely decorative role.

The Israelites' safe crossing of the Red Sea is shown. Moses, holding his rod, turns back and takes a last look at the drowning Egyptians.

folio 15

Miriam, Moses' sister, holding a timbrel decorated with an Islamic motif, is joined by maidens dancing and playing contemporary musical instruments.

In this ritual scene of preparations for Passover, the master of the house, sitting under a canopy, orders the distribution of matsah (unleavened bread) and haroset (sweetmeats) to the children.

A family prepares the house for Passover. The man holding a candle searches for leaven on the night before Passover, helped by a boy. The woman cleans the coffered ceiling, while a girl sweeps the floor.

Sheep are slaughtered and prepared for Passover in the building on the right. Beneath a baldachin, a man purifies utensils in a cauldron over a fire.


 
  < Pages 15 and 16 (of 32)  
     
     

This version of Turning the Pages does not require the Shockwave plug-in. It foregoes the interactive animation that lets you 'virtually' turn pages and brings you the same high-quality images of our greatest books in standard web pages.

You can listen to the audio files on these pages with Windows Media Player

 
Accessibility Terms of use Site map
Copyright The British Library Board