The mahzor is a prayer book that Jews use on the High Holy Days of Rosh ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur as well as on the three pilgrimage festivals of Sukkot, Passover, and Shavuot. This superb vellum mahzor in two volumes appears to be an example of the large-format, illuminated mahzorim created in Ashkenaz (Germany and Central Europe) in the mid-13th to mid-14th centuries. This panel illuminates the word kol—the initial word of the Kol Nidre declaration annulling the vows between the penitent and God for the coming year.
With its hunting scene and grotesque images of diverse creatures, the volume’s illustrations exhibit graphic elements common to much medieval book design. The New York Public Library acquired this treasure as a gift from manufacturer and bibliophile Louis Rabinowitz (1887–1957), who purchased it from the Jewish community of Padua, Italy.
Currently on View at Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
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