The Sarajevo Haggadah Print E-mail

Haggadah is the Jewish book of rites (codex), a collection of Biblical stories, prayers and psalms related to Pesah  (Passover), the holiday to mark liberation of Jews from Egyptian slavery. The book illuminations match the contents. The Sarajevo Haggadah, written on fine parchment, represents the oldest and most beautiful example of this type of book of codes; it represents the work of the 14th century Spanish art of illumination with noticeable influence of Italian and French contemporary art of the time.

The Sarajevo Haggadah consists of three parts, the first of which is comprised of 62 figural compositions with short inscriptions in Hebrew. The second part of the book is text accompanied by purely decorative motifs (capitalisations, herbal ornaments, figures, grotesques and alike), and the third part includes unornamented prayers and psalms for the remaining holiday days.

The work of an unknown artist with all the splendour of colouring, the opulence of painter’s gift, the fantastic world of animals, capitalisations, intertwines, the floral and  geometric ornaments, images, coats of arms and symbols even today incite both admiration and astonishment at the same time.

The National Museum in Sarajevo bought the book from family Cohen through Mr. Kosta Hörman, advisor to the government and an avid collector, researcher and preservationist of historical monuments in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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