The Art History Archive

Beautiful Adaptations Of Traditional Judaica Art

META: Spirituality influences everyone in its own unique way, art and design are no different.

In the book of Exodus, Jewish artists are forbidden from creating pieces of art that resemble anything from heaven above or earth beneath - which is why most traditional Judaica is ceremonial art. Ceremonial art relates to the objects that are not just used at, but also integral to, religious holidays, like the menorah is for Hanukkah, or Kiddush cups for a long list of meaningful ceremonies. Below, we'll look at some of the most beautiful adaptations of traditional Judaica art, and how their designs have evolved over the generations.

The Menorah

The menorah is one of the most quintessential Judaica items there is. Used to celebrate Hanukkah, menorah designs have altered over the years to be more fluid, colorful, and unique. Traditionally speaking, the menorah should have seven lamps made out of pure gold. Modern-day adaptations have moved away from pure gold and instead use materials like silver, ceramic, and marble to create unique but popular designs.

You'll notice that even though the design of the menorah may have changed, the meaning behind it and its use still remains integral to the design. A beautiful example of a traditional menorah with a modern twist is available from the Israeli center of Judaica - the aluminum Hanukkah lamp matte finish with blue and white colors captures the tradition of Hanukkah with a classic finish that's easy to maintain.

The Seder Plate

The Seder plate takes center stage to one of the most celebrated religious holidays in the Jewish calendar, Passover. Seder plate designs will always have an element of tradition incorporated in as it should always have six spaces for the traditional Passover foods. Artists capture the tradition and mix it with modern-day design elements to create Seder plates like the blue and turquoise tree Passover Seder plate. The color blue is influential in Judaism, and many artists opt to use it as the primary color for many of their designs.

Kiddush Cups

The simplicity of Kiddush cups hasn't changed over the years - but the designs have become more elegant and bejewelled. Kiddush cups are used to serve wines at the meal before the Shabbath and at other religious ceremonies. Traditionally speaking, Kiddush cups should be made using gold and silver, and many of them are. Most artists like to incorporate fruit into the design, especially grapes, as they symbolize the wine that'll bless them when they drink it.

One of the best modern-day adaptations of the Kiddush cup is by Avi Nadav and still features a silver design and comes with natural lapis lazuli stones and a matching serving plate. The inside of the cup is gold coated to preserve the underlying silver and enhance the flavor of the wine.

Tradition is at the heart of all Judaica art pieces, and modern designs will always have elements of the deep-rooted traditions of Judaism. Most artists draw their inspiration from Judaism and the culture of Israel to create ceremonial pieces that reflect the religious holiday beautifully.

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