Artibus et Historiae no. 40 (XX)

1999, ISSN 0391-9064

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JOSEPH GUTMANN - On Medieval Hanukkah Lamps

Two types of bronze Hanukkah lamps with triangular back plates have since the nineteenth century been dated from the twelfth to the fourteenth century. They have been attributed to Italy, Germany, France and Spain. No scholarly consensus has been reached on either date or country of origin. Medieval Jewish literary sources and surviving medieval miniatures do not attest to bronze Hanukkah lamps with triangular back plates. It is suggested that all of the Hanukkah lamps discussed were produced in the nineteenth century, as the evidence presented for their medieval origins rests largely on unsubstantiated reports and hearsay.

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