Brass Hanukkah lamp Menorah, Italy, circa 1750. The backplate is decorated with two winged figures holding vases and blowing trumpets, and backed by a symbol of a bent leg with vase shaped pediment upon which stands the figure of Judith holding a sword in her right hand and Holofernes's head in her left hand. The base is formed of an eight lamp tray. This particular example is unique because of the Hebrew inscription that identifies Judith.
This Hanukkah lamp features intricate brass detailing of and a stunning figure of Judith, whose demonstrations of bravery and strength in the face of adversity, illustrated in the biblical Book of Judith, gained immense popularity during the Middle Ages. After the Assyrian invasion of the city of Bethulia led by Holofernes in 100 B.C.E., as local authorities sheepishly chose to surrender to the military forces surrounding them, Judith, a young and unsuspecting widow, challenged her community’s decision by confronting Holofernes at the Assyrian army’s base camp. In distracting the general with her beauty, Judith was able to decapitate Holofernes while sleeping in his tent, allowing the Israelites to launch a surprise attack and emerge independent. While the story of Judith is not directly correlated with the events of the Maccabean revolt, the courage and perseverance of both Judith and the Maccabees have inspired the Jewish people throughout centuries of hardship and adversity.
For identical example see: Five centuries of Hanukkah Lamps from the Jewish Museum, a catalogue raisonne, p.274, photo 327.
H 7.88 in. x W 8.67 in. x D 2.37 in. H 20 cm x W 22 cm x D 6 cm