CONTESSA, Andreina (2016). The Jewish Court of Venice: The heritage of Jewish Venice 500 years after the establishment of the first ghetto, Jerusalem: National Museum of Italian Jewish Art. ISBN 978-965-572-097-6, soft back, 55 pp. in English, 35 pp. in Hebrew, fully illustrated in colour and black/white.
A small catalogue to an exhibition held at the National Museum of Italian Jewish Art in Jerusalem [see TRC Blog]. There are many synagogue (notably scroll covers) and private textiles illustrated and described in the book. In addition, it looks at the role of women in making, using and in some cases, re-using textiles. It includes woven, embroidered as well as lace forms (including needle laces). In addition to the textiles, various other items such as scroll crowns and finials, contemporary illustrations, manuscripts, and so forth, are illustrated and described.
Recommendation: There are various books on Ashkenazim and Sephardim Jewish textiles, but comparatively very little about another important group, the Italian Jews. This booklet helps to redress this imbalance. It will be of interest to anyone working or interested in the role of textiles in Jewish synagogues, Jewish life in general, as well as those specifically interested in the Italian Jewish tradition.
Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, March 2020.