Decorative Sheet for Sukkot

The eight-day holiday Sukkot is both a harvest thanksgiving festival and a reminder off the precarious dwellings of the Israelites during their wanderings through the desert after their Exodus from Egypt. As a reminder of them living in provisional booths, Jews all over the world erect Sukkah (temporary huts made from a variety of materials) in which they, weather permitting, eat their meals and spend time. Traditionally, the interior of these Sukkah is decorated with pictures and garlands, as well as with the seven species for which Israel is praised (schiw’at haminim) – wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, oil (olives) and honey (dates).

Title: Decorative Sheet for Sukkot
Date: 18thcentury
Material: paper, printed and partially hand colored
Dimensions: 39.6 x 27 cm (15.6 ‘’ x 10.6‘‘)
Signature: unknown
Creator: unknown
Sponsor: unknown

The decorative sheet shown here contains a prayer for Sukkot and is adorned with baroque elements taken from, amongst other things, architecture. The bottom half contains a medallion with further verses. The sheet is bordered by a colorful ornamental frame and is colored by hand in some places. The circumferential lettering quotes Leviticus 23:40: “On the first day you shall take the fruit of majestic trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.”
The decorative sheet was likely printed in a large print run, as it has been found in various places in Central Europe. The Jewish congregation of Niederzissen most likely used it to decorate a Sukkot.

Further Reading:
Sarfati, Rachel. Sukkahs from Around the World. Jerusalem, 2003.