This ceremonial chair in the collection of the Israel Museum, designed by Ze’ev Raban (1890-1970) and constructed over almost 10 years, epitomizes Bezalel‘s work with its eclectic combination of materials and techniques from its workshops: worked leather, ivory, enamel, bronze, wood carving and mother-of-pearl inlay. This imposing object reverberates with symbols of Judaism – the Ten Commandments, the Twelve Tribes, the Lion of Judah – as well as a depiction of Elijah going to heaven in his chariot (II Kings 2:11). This chair was meant to be used at the circumcision ceremony, where Elijah, according to Jewish tradition, is always present. (Image by David Harris, copyright the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; item purchased through the gift of Yossi Benyaminoff, New York, to the American Friends of the Israel Museum)
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