The 18th World Congress of Jewish Studies

The Mystery of Animal Confrontations on East European Synagogue Ceilings

The Mystery of Animal Confrontations on Synagogue Ceilings

Among the best-known paintings of the eighteenth century in wooden synagogues of Eastern Europe are animal confrontations, such as that between a lion and a unicorn. These confrontations, which are presented on the most visible location within the overall painted area of the ceiling, were for many years a mystery for art historians. Now, in the framework of a comprehensive research of the ceiling paintings, this mystery is solved. The current research, to be published in a forthcoming book, reveals the obstacle to this decoding and provides the simple content of these confrontations, based on biblical sources