The Luzzatto High Holiday Mahzor: Seven Centuries of Worship

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A 13th century Medieval Hebrew illustrated Prayer Book went to auction at Sotheby’s. 

This rare 700 year old Prayer book features gold leaf artwork and original writing from a scribe named Abraham. He embellished in many areas the word Abraham with an artistic crown to brand his signature.

The prayers are still used today in the Jewish high holy days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement.

Electrifying and unique, the pages burst with color and beautiful images drawn on parchment paper which are animal skins called vellum.

Each page has beautiful, handwritten script and artwork. Centuries old, the Luzzatto High Holiday Mahzor has a taken a unique trip throughout Europe amongst Ashkenaz Jewish congregations. This is known as the new owners along the book’s journeys added footnotes and prayers to sing.

The Prayer book is very rare. In fact, less than 20 such type of prayer books are currently in private hands.

The figures drawn are symbolic in their style so as not to become an icon to be worshipped. One particular character shows the “amen” coming from his mouth. To really put the reader in the moment of the prayer. The colors of the artwork shine with gold shimmering effects, flowing robes and very powerful symbolism.

Written by Nick & Grace Lossev

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