Museum unveils 14th century hand-painted scroll depicting ancient Israel


The Israel Museum unveiled the Florence Scroll on Wednesday, a hand-painted scroll from the 14th century which is now displayed unrolled to its full duration within the glass vitrine of a museum gallery.

The just about 11-meter parchment is the aim of “Painting a Pilgrimage,” the show depicting the pilgrimage of a medieval Egyptian Jew from Cairo to the Land of Israel, the earliest regarded visible travelogue of the Holy Land.

It’s a scroll dominated by the cherry pink, leaf inexperienced and ochre yellow strains that make up its 130 illustrations, displaying holy web sites positioned from Egypt to Lebanon and offering a person painter’s concept of what the area appeared like 700 decades in the past.

“Scrolls are typically rolled up and kept out of the light, so the colors are stored sharp and vivid,” reported Rachel Sarfati, the senior curator who has been researching the scroll for the previous 14 years.

The parchment includes illustrations of Egyptian and Lebanese landscapes, a central drawing of the Temple Mount, others of Mount Sinai, the Cave of the Patriarchs and the Tower of David.

It is a relic that depicts internet sites and sites developed and frequented in ancient times, yet in a landscape that is incredibly familiar to the museum visitors, accentuated in the “Painting a Pilgrimage” show with fingers-on, digital maps and two wall-sized slide reveals presenting a pictorial perspective of people places in fashionable periods.

“Rachel Sarfati curated this, she understood its great importance and brought it to mild,” stated museum director Ido Bruno at the opening on Wednesday night time.

At the opening of the ‘Painting a Pilgrimage’ exhibit on Oct 6, 2021 at the Israel Museum, director Ido Bruno (far remaining), curator Rachel Sarfati (next from still left), Italian ambassador Barbanti and Kathleen Nicol Barbanti (Courtesy Laura Lachman)

Sarfati has been studying this particular scroll for very well about a 10 years, as it became the foundation of her doctoral exploration and thesis.

Acquiring formerly investigated scrolls from a bit later a long time for her masters degree, Sarfati to start with listened to about the ancient Cairo parchment from a colleague who was checking out Israel. The function affiliate explained to her about a parchment she had viewed in Florence, at the city’s Countrywide Central Library.

That was back again in 2007, and Sarfati requested photographs and scans of the scroll.

The Tower of David depicted in the Florence Scroll is at this time on show at the Israel Museum. (Courtesy Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze)

“I instantly knew this was the actual issue,” she explained. “The next I observed it, I knew it was from an early period of time. I could see the great facts in the scanned photos and I understood the iconography and what describes individuals periods.”

The scroll that experienced been created and illustrated by the Jewish Egyptian traveler had arrived in Italy at some point, probably touring with Italian pilgrims.

Sarfati didn’t see the scroll in particular person right until 2011, but she experienced by now started studying the parchment and its background, learning with Elhanan Reiner, a professor in the Jewish Heritage office at Tel Aviv University, who turned Sarfati’s advisor for her PhD scientific tests.

Getting ready the Florence Scroll for display at the Israel Museum show, Portray a Pilgrimage (Courtesy Israel Museum)

Sarfati finished up creating her dissertation on the issue of 14th-century pilgrimage scrolls, at some point adapting her investigate in the catalog for the show now on screen at the museum.

Her colleagues heralded Sarfati’s tenacity and historic acumen in putting with each other the show.

“It’s the result of a specific type of stubbornness to figure out how to show this variety of get the job done and transform a PhD dissertation into a museum exhibit,” mentioned Rehav Rubin, head of the exploration institute Yad Ben Zvi, who spoke at the opening celebration. “It’s a speculate!”

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