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Document Details :
Title: Towers and Bells
Subtitle: The Symbolism of Torah Finials
Author(s): GELFER-JØRGENSEN, Mirjam
Journal: Studia Rosenthaliana
Volume: 37 Date: 2004
One of the problems encountered when researching Jewish ceremonial objects is that twentieth-century functionalism has tended to undermine the connection that existed between decorative motifs and their significance as symbols, thereby reducing ornamentation to the role of superficial embellishment. While preparing the first comprehensive publication on Jewish art in Denmark it became clear that many ceremonial objects are now often seen purely in terms of their function. Their ornamentation no longer has an inherent value. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, however, the relationship between the function of an object, its inscription and the way in which it was decorated was widely acknowledged. A coherent Jewish iconography existed that employed a typically Danish idiom, now forgotten but reflected in the religious items that have survived.