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The persistence of images: Reproductive success in the history of Sephardi sepulchral art

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Chapter Summary

The dissemination of Sephardi tombstone iconography and Sephardi sepulchral language corresponds to a global network, whereby the intensive interchange and interrelationship between Sephardi communities leads to a certain standardization of artistic design and epitaphs, with only insignificant local distinctions. Foreigners in seventeenth-century and eighteenth-century Amsterdam would stand in astonishment, full of admiration and amazement, before the ornately decorated Christian and Jewish tombstones. The Christian stonemasons found patterns for the biblical imagery scriptural scenes in Jewish and Christian illustrated Bibles, Haggadot, ceremonial objects, etc., and henceforth, biblical scenes relating to the namesakes of the deceased proliferated. Both artists and clients found inspiration for artistic motifs in the community libraries, as well as in those of wealthy community members.

Keywords: biblical imagery; Christian stonemasons; eighteenth-century Amsterdam; Sephardi sepulchral art; Sephardi tombstone iconography



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