The art and background of the Holy Land are presented hereby prominent members of the curatorial staff of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. A series of essays analyzes this land’s rich sophistication from prehistory through the Islamic conquest of A.D. 640, and almost two hundred works of art are mentioned in texts that explore their ethnic, historic, spiritual, and aesthetic value. Maps, site pictures, and relative drawings add to the reader’s grasp of a property whose mental force that is excellent continues to determine the globe of today.
Here the Holy Land’s somber and memorable history is told in an especially suitable way. The ancient inhabitants speak directly through their functions of —those items, commonly always regal in spirit although modest in size, designed to praise the heavenly, to propitiate spirits that are malicious, to memorialize the deceased, to delight the living.
The region’s history may be read in the international visual influences that modified and improved a strong style that is native. The look of Egyptian, Assyrian, Persian, Greek, Roman signifies the ethnic, sociological, and political changes, sluggish on occasion and chaotic at others, that shaped the Holy Land.
In the Holy Land a search for the divine was evident over many millennia. This spiritual instinct is as palpable in the gold plaque of a Canaanite goddess from the thirteenth-century B.C. as in the synagogue variety from Beth Shean that has been designed in the sixth century A.D. Several objects convey a deep love of the world that is natural: necklaces of glowing carnelian beans that mimic lotus seeds; a chubby but lion that is ferocious; a mosaic pavement with seafood frolicking across its area. A longing for the delightful animates the many transcendent and the many everyday works. The same numinous spirit breathes from Hazor in the baronial Shrine of the Stelae and oil-lamps, in the shaped glasses, and dishes that Jerusalemites employed some two thousand years ago. Everyday family items make our forefathers look our near-contemporaries, but the chasm that divides us from days gone by is emphasized by additional works. The outstanding objects of the Wasteland Treasure, for example, have a great and touching beauty, but their meaning remains a profound mystery.
Some of these of sophistication that is extraordinary, numerous identities, remind us of the way that intensely the composed vocabulary of early Hebrew formed the consciousness of this land. The Israelites were the People of the Book, and their coercion to set their experience down reached its greatest flowering in the Bible. It really is therefore fitting that Treasures of the Sacred Land closes with a discussion of the many historical of biblical manuscripts, the Dead Sea Scrolls. Perhaps the greatest historical finding of the century, these scrolls have experienced an immense influence on the research and comprehension of Christianity and historical Judaism. The milestone exhibition organized by The City Museum of Nyc, Art, and the Israel Museum, Jerusalem is documented by this book. The works of art, many which are displayed for the first time in the “New World”, live messengers via a fruitful and ancient culture; they talk to us of a past that continues to animate the present.