Friday, March 30, 2012

My new Gallery about Seder Plates

Seder Plate from Germany c. 1900
Source: CC Picture uploaded to Flickr by
center_for_jewish_history NYC
See my new

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Arab Stars of David

When I lived in Gilo Neighborhood (South Jerusalem) I was told that this was the building of a Jordanian judge. Anyway, it's clear that this building  was under Jordanian control until 1967 and Jews were not living there at that time.

The building is located on Hebron Road between Mar Elias Monastery and Gilo  

On the columns - Arab Stars of David

Zoom-   Arab Star of David

Arab Star of David-General View

Monday, March 26, 2012

Alphonso X Book of Games 13th century C.E.

3 Six pointed stars on the bottom and top margins of the chess board 
Picture from Fol 9r
Six pointed stars appear several times in Alphonso X's [amazing] Book of Games 
(Book of chess, dice and tables -Libro de los juegos
Written and painted in Toledo, Spain, 1283 C.E.
Researchers argue if the apearance of this symbol has any connection to Jews 

Chi Rho Six Pointed Star

Chi Rho (1870) carved in stone at the Russian Compound in Jerusalem 

The Chi Rho was used by early christians. It is called after the names of the first two Greek letters Chi and Rho (ΧΡ). These letters start the word "ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ" =Christ. The  letter on the right is Alpha and the letter on the left is Omega. The term Alpha and Omega comes from the phrase "I am the alpha and the omega"  in the Book of Revelation (1:8) which means that Jeusu is the First and the Last, the beginning and the End, since Alpha is the first and Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet.
The beginning of this symbol is ascribed to Roman emperor Constantine (272- 312 C.E.) who called it labarum and used it as a military symbol.

There is no unequivocal proof that Constantine invented the Chi Rho and that he started its usage as a military symbol, but it is interesting to compare his legend to those about the beginnings of the star of David and the Fleur de Lis. Constantine and King David both won wars by inscribing their emblems on their shields. In 493 King Clovis I got the Fleur de Lis emblem from God, after his conversion to Christianity… like Constantine. In all three legends kings start the history of a symbol. These three symbols are actually three aspects of the same six-pointed star symbol (Fleur de Lis is a six-pointed star viewed from the side). 
The same goes for Solomon's Seal symbol which started from King Solomon . The name "Solomon's Seal" was used during the Middle Ages to mark  stars with five or six points. 

Researchers Aarne and Thompson in their typology of International Folktales proved that the same legend may appear in different cultures without any known connections between their inventors, and it seems to me that this is the case here. Usage of these symbols did not start  from historical events but from the need of folk consciousness to attribute the beginning to a supreme source of authority - a king by the grace of God.

Roman Mosaic. Center: Chi Rho 4th Century 
CC Image from Wikipedia entry: Hinton St Mary Mosaic 
The Chi Rho is flanked by two pomegranates
It is interesting to notice that in any pomegranate before the crown
(Six pointed Star) opens it looks like Six Radiuses with a common center, 
just like the Chi Rho 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Moghul star of David

Moghul star of David
 CC picture taken by "saadsarfraz" from Flickr at
Maryam-uz-Zamani Mosque
 Maryam-uz-Zaman (1542 – 1622) was the wife of 
Mughal Emperor Akbar
The Mosque was built by her son Nuruddin Salim Jahangir in Lahore, Pakistan

stars of David painted on the walls of

Mughal Emperor Humayun's Tomb ( 1508 - 1556)
Built in 1562 C.E.
 Designed by Mirak Mirza Ghiyath, a Persian architect
CC picture taken by "Saad Akhtar" from Flickr 

Tomb of Sher Shah Suri 14th century

CC picture taken by "jyoti pb" from Flickr 
Built between 1540 and 1545
Indo-Islamic architecture

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Gothic Church in Rome

Ceiling frescos in Gothic Catholic Church
 of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome 
Many gold stars of David on the triangles
looks like Cosmatesque Style
CC image by "sparkovonovinski" from Flickr

US Army Jewish Chaplain insignia 1943

US Army Jewish Chaplain insignia 1943
Source: en.wikipedia entry -Religious_symbolism_in_the_United_States_military 

Hexagram - Designs and Meanings

Otto Friedrich August Meinardus was a German Coptologist and pastor (1925 – 2005). He wrote an article titled The Hexagram or the Magen David in Byzantine Art (in the Bulletin of the Christian Archeological Society 8 (period IV)(1975-1976) p. 97-100). In this article he claims that the current meaning of the hexagram as representing the House of David or the Jewish heritage in Christendom is too dominant and leads to misconception. In the past the hexagram acceptance was wider than today, and its main function was ornamental.
Meinardus mentions several hexagram designs
a-     The Capernaum Synagogue type with straight lines which eventually became the symbol of the state of Israel.
b-     The Eshtemoa Synagogue type with curved lines [1], which is most frequently found on Byzantine ornamentation.
c-     The six rayed star [2] influenced by the I for Jesus and X for Christos
d-    The  six rayed star which "clearly signified the heavenly body, as, for example, in the case of the upper part of the Barberini Diptych in the Louvre"
[1] My teacher, Ze'ev Goldmann, thought that this Tri-loop symbol (which appears twice on the Capernaum Lintel) is frequent Samaritan one, but appears also on a Jewish Massoretic design in micrographic writing that has in its center a piece of paper with text of the Tri-partite blessing of the Cohanim. It appears also on Neo-Paphos Mosaic Floor along with Crosses and the Swastika sign. 
About 40 years ago Dr. Asher Eder took a picture of this Tri-Loop symbol on a relief in the ruins of an Herodian building in Beth-El, north of Ramallah.
 [2] G. Scholem claimed that this type ("six radiuses which come fron a single point") is not a Star of David at all.  G. Scholem mentions the appearance of this sign on Assyrian, and later Phoenician and Israeli seals. (Magen David, Toldotav Shel Semel [Hebrew] p. 29.
a.       Capernaum - straight lined star -4th century C.E.
Credit: Gabi Goldman

b.       Capernaum - curved lined star -4th century C.E.
Credit: Gabi Goldman

c.        Constantinople Christian sarcophagus with XI monogram, circa 400 C.E.
Archaeological Museum in Istanbul
Source: CC image, English Wikipedia entry: Sarcophagus

d.       Barberini Diptych in the Louvre  -6th century C.E.
 Source: CC image, English Wikipedia entry: Justinián_I.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Hexagram from the Gallo-Roman Period

Hexagram (top right) and 6-petaled flowers (bottom left) 
from the Gallo-Roman Period 123 BCE - 486 CE
Exhibited at The Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'archéologie
 (Museum of Fine Arts and Archeology)
 in the French city of Besançon
 CC Image by "heroesbed" from Flickr

Six pointed star on an ancient Roman Coin

 Six pointed star on an ancient Roman coin from Apulia, Luceria
225-217 B.C.E. Roman Coin
Terunciusa very small brass coin 
Source: wikimedia entry

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Albert Churchward's opinion about the Star of David

Not Guilty as Charged

An example of a kind of nasty attacks against the Star of David is an article titled "The Six-Pointed Star, The Mark Of The Beast, Part II, History Of The Six-Pointed Star", where the author quotes selectively from "Signs and Symbols of Primordial Man, being an explanation of the Evolution of Religious Doctrines from the Eschatology of the Ancient Egyptians" (1910) By Albert Churchward (1852-1925). 

Quote: "Six the Egyptian hieroglyphic for the ...Land of the Spirits." (Churchward, p. 177)
In the original text the Six Triangles do not comprise a Star of David, as you may have assumed by the title of the article – they are illustrated as 3 pairs of hourglasses. 

3 pairs of hourglasses

Quote:  "Ancient Egyptian Seal of Solomon" (Churchward, p. 188)
The original text is: 
"and has by some been named Seal of Solomon (see origin of triangles. 
The illustration on the left of this sentence is marked as Figure 85. It  shows not a Star of David, or a Seal of Solomon (which is another name for the six pointed star) but a rhomb surrounded by four triangles). 

A rhomb surrounded by four triangles

Quote: "This (6-pointed star) was the first sign or hieroglyphic of Amsu" (p. 65)
The words (6-pointed star) are an addition of the author. The original phrase is:
"This, as far as we can trace, was the first sign or hieroglyphic of Amsu"

More than that: on page 314 Churchward wrote that the shape of the first two triangles mentioned above as 3 pairs of hourglasses "is  much more ancient than the latter" (marked as Fig. 85)
and we can not find any reason for Brother Gould calling it "Solomon's Seal". Solomon was not born when this was first used as a sacred sign, and as far as our researches go we have not been able to trace any facts or reasons to support the assertion that Solomon ever used it as a seal". 

This quote does not appear in the Watch.Pair article mentioned above...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Throne of St Peter

Six pointed star engraved in 
13th Century marble throne of St Peter of Castello in Venice, Italy. 
Comes from Antioch. Inscribed with words from the Koran
Probably an ancient Muslim gravestone 

Star of David on Papal Coat of Arms

Star of David (representing Hope) on the Coat of Arms of Pope Pius X (1835 –1914)

"The shield displays the arms Pius X took as Bishop of Mantua: an anchor proper cast into a stormy sea… lit up by a single six-pointed star of gold. These were inspired by Hebrews 6:19, which state that the hope we have is the sure and steadfast anchor of the soul".

Source:  English Wikipedia entry: Pope_Pius_X

As I mentioned in privious posts the Fleur de Lis is a hexagram viewed from the side- so that it also hints to the connection of the Popes to the sanctity of the Shoshan (Lily) in the Old Testament.

Fleur de Lis on the Coat of Arms of  pope Urban_IV (1261-1264)
and also on the Coat of Arms of  popes:
 Innocent V (1276-1276)
Nicholas IV(1288-1292)
Paul III  (1534-1549) 
Innocent X  (1644-1655) 
Leo XIII  (1878-1903) 
Paul VI (1963-1978)  According to the prophecy of Saint Malachy in 1139: "His coat of arms features three flowers". 
Source:  English Wikipedia entry: Papal_coat_of_arms

John Frederick Peto and the Star of David

 Lincoln and the Star of David (Top Right)- 1904
by american painter
John Frederick Peto (1854–1907)

Yellow star of david on bottom right of the art work titled
Toms_River by John Frederick Peto
Source: CC image from Wikimedia Commons

Monday, March 19, 2012

British West African penny, 1936

The six pointed star represent the 6 British colonies of British West Africa:
Nigeria, Ghana, British Cameroon, Gambia, Sierra Leone, British Togoland. 
Source: CC image from Wikipedia entry: Britisch-Westafrika

The following coins are from Dr. Amir Zohar's Collection
(C) Dr. Amir Zohar

British West Africa 1945 & 1959

British West Africa 1952

Nigeria 1959

Star of David on Middle Ages Charts

Star of David on a Nautical Chart of Mediterranean area from
Source: Wikipedia entry: User:Geagea/gallery

Source:  Wikipedia Category:Star_of_David?uselang=de

Carta catalana (Mappamondo catalano) 1452 ?
Source:  Wikipedia Category:Star_of_David?uselang=de

 Evelyn Edson wrote in her book The world map, 1300-1492: the persistence of tradition and transformation that the star of david flag flying over Brisch (modern Bissa- town in North Africa) maybe refrers to the  large community of Jews in this coastel town. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The six pointed star of Armenia

Read the extensive  post by peopleofar

Harichavank Monastery, Armenia, 13th century
Source Wikipedia entry-  Harichavank Monastery

Armenia, Goshavank monastery, XII-XIII
Source Wikipedia entry-  Goshavank Monastery

Hasan-Jalal_coat_of_arms from 1214
Bottom: Hexagram framing the wheel of eternity symbol
 Source Wikipedia entry-  House of Hasan-Jalalyan
Wheel of eternity on the Tombstone of Hasan Jalal-Vahtangian
Source Wikipedia

Wheel of eternity on the Tombstone of Hasan Jalal-Vahtangian
Source Wikipedia

Hexagrams on the walls of 13th Century Noravank monastery  
Source Wikipedia entry-Noravank

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bell Tower of Santa Maria in Strada Church

Christian star of David at the 
Bell Tower of Santa Maria in Strada Church
 Monza  ITALY 1421

Friday, March 09, 2012

Non Jewish Six pointed Star

Six pointed Star from Feb. 18, 1861
commemorating the exact place
on the Capitol steps in Montgomery Alabama where 
 Jefferson Davis stood when inaugurated President of the
Confederate States of America
Photographer: silviac44 from Flickr

Monday, March 05, 2012

Finger Tattoo

Star of David Finger Tattoo 
Courtesy of Joshua Samuels

Thursday, March 01, 2012

More Stars of David in the Genizah Project

I already wrote in 2006-7 about two manuscripts from the Cairo Genizah which include Stars of David, but now that The Friedberg  Genizah Project is online it is a whole new game. I salute the organizers of this web site for their extraordinary achievement. It took me sometime to register and install Java, but eventually I found a few more Genizah manuscripts which include Stars of David:
T-S AS 54.138 (1v) shows a fine Star of David made from small lines. There's also  a rhombus in the same page.
T-S Misc 1.75 is a page from Psalms 64-66 and it has on the right side a small vertical floral ornament which ends with a tiny Star of David made from one line.
T-S 125.94 has two small Stars of David and one which is larger and in it some Hebrew words from which I recognized the Hebrew words (in capital letters): Morasha Kehilat Ya'acov. In one of the two small Stars of David I recognized one of the two cursive Hebrew words - Tor.
T-S 135.169 has on the first from four leafs two Stars of David, one with a point in its center. On the second leaf there are 5 jotted  Stars of David and in the center of the sixth there's a point in the center.
T-S 150.195 has at its bottom a few lines filled with small Stars of David.
T-S 297.90 – according to its description it has a Star of David in a magical context in Arabic but I couldn't see the image.
Cambridge, CUL: Or.1080 1.63 2v1 Arabic letters Magic many stars of David on rows 2,4,5  Source of information: Gideon Bohak, Head of FGP Magic team

Cambridge, CUL: T-S Ar.53.21 - Arabic letters; Margins contain some jottings and drawings of the Star of David and other symbols
Cambridge, CUL: T-S K1.5 Aramaic Hebrew, Magic, contain some drawings of the Star of David
Cambridge, CUL: T-S K1.62 Large star of David surrounding and surrounded by names of God
Source of information: Gideon Bohak, Head of FGP Magic team
The Cairo Genizah documents were written from about 870 C.E. to 1880 C.E. so it is hard to know when each of these Stars of David was drawn. Anyhow we have so few instances of Stars of David from that period that this treasure adds a lot of interesting content for research.