A synagogue curtain at the Brandenburg Cathedral Chapter
Audio recording of the book Presentation by Vera Bendt
The Brandenburg Cathedral Chapter made a spectacular discovery in its textile collection. The pictures on a curtain described as an "Antependium" in the inventory were quite different to the others in the collection and more similar to Jewish textiles.
Dr. Vera Bendt, scientist at the Jewish Museum Berlin and lecturer on Jewish art and cultural science, arranged for the piece – which had been disregarded for a long time – to be examined closely, revealing it to be a synagogue curtain. The Jewish Museum Berlin, the Brandenburg Cathedral Chapter, and Schnell and Steiner Publishers cordially invite you to attend the book presentation on 23 November 2006.
The discovery brought up a number of questions: When and how did the curtain come into the possession of the Cathedral Chapter? Who was or is its owner? What was it used for? An attempt to throw light on the matter through a newspaper appeal in 2003 brought no success.
Iconographic research as well as that relating to the science of textiles and the history of art and religion were necessary to answer some of the open questions. The Jewish Museum Berlin released the author, Dr. Vera Bendt, from her duties in order for her to supervise the research as well as carry out her own. The Society for a Jewish Museum in Berlin e. V. provided the project with financial support.
The author examines the curtain in Jewish history from ancient to modern times, focuses on the history of the origins, the religious purpose, and symbolism. The iconographic research concentrates on the "arch, light, water" motif, which the author sets against the background of the eschatological traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The book offers an introduction to Jewish culture and a summary of the research on Jewish art.
23 November 2006