5 Common Symbols in Jewish Art
With nearly 4000 years of history and over 15 million followers, Judaism is a rich culture filled with many symbols and iconography. Many of these motifs are widely featured in Jewish art, both contemporary and ancient. That’s because symbols often add depth to art and help convey hidden me5nings in meaningful ways.
In this blog post, Menucha Page, a prominent Israeli contemporary artist, shares with you 6 of the most common symbols found in Jewish art.
1. Star of David
The Star of David is one of the most common symbols associated with Judaism. It also happens to be one of the most popular motifs for Jewish art. Although it is said that the symbol originates from the shield of King David, the use of the Jewish Star only dates back a few hundred years. It is often used to show solidarity with the Israeli people and signifies the relationship between G-d, the Torah and the Jewish people.
2. Hebrew Letters and Hebrew Texts
The Hebrew letters and the Hebrew texts of which they are the building-blocks are the central carrier of the holiness of the Jewish Torah and the Jewish people. As such, they have and continue to be eternal themes in Jewish art.
3. Exalted Creatures
Exalted creatures, such as the human, lion, bull and eagle, are also common motifs in Jewish art. They appear frequently on wall paintings, sculptures and paintings. Despite misconceptions, these symbols are not associated with astral, zodiac and solar symbols. They are mostly used for their symbolic traditional characteristics. For example, the eagle is a symbolic representation of the power and might of the G-d of Israel.
4. The Seven Species
The Seven Species (wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates) can be frequently found in early Jewish art. These motifs were prominently used in synagogues and on common place objects, such as lamps, jewelry, coins and rings. The Seven Species symbolize sustenance, abundance and nourishment from G-d.
Chai, which means “Life”, is another one of the most recognized symbols of Judaism. The symbol also represents the number 18 because the two numbers (chet and yod) that make up the symbol add up to 18. Today, many people wear it as a jewelry piece to bring good luck and to protect properties. However, it is also widely found in paintings, tapestries, sculptures and plaques.
About Menucha Page Fine Art | Israeli Contemporary Artist
Menucha Page, working through her gallery Menucha Page Fine Art, is a prominent artist in Jerusalem. She received training from the New York Institute for Photography and studied under the direction of Rivka Bergson.
Menucha’s art is unique and unlike anything that you can see at other art galleries in Jerusalem. It elegantly combines ancient themes of Torah Judaism with the values of contemporary art techniques. It also comes in many different forms, including paintings, drawings, photography, sculptures and plastic art and uses several background media, such as glass, metal, wood and canvas.
Click here to view Menucha’s virtual art gallery at Menucha Page Fine Art. You will find a wide variety of Judaic art styles, ranging from the abstract to the expressionist to representational with themes ranging from the Hebrew alphabet to Jewish calendar.
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