Purim is the first spring festival in the Jewish tradition. It celebrates a victory of the Jews and their survival against an evil enemy about 2500 years back, and has borrowed in time elements from the spring festivals and carnivals of many other people among which Jews lived during history, including carnivals with masks and costumes. My festive posting for Purim this year is about Jews and Masks.

 

source http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/oldest-known-masks-in-the-world-on-display-in-israel/2014/03/13/

source http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/oldest-known-masks-in-the-world-on-display-in-israel/2014/03/13/

 

The tradition is ancient in this area of the world. An exhibition at the Israel Museum last year presented some of the oldest masks in the world from the Neolithic period made of limestone, which were found in the Judean Desert.

 

source https://www.pinterest.com/janmccraw/masks/

source https://www.pinterest.com/janmccraw/masks/

 

The tradition of using masks and wearing costumes on Purim probably dates from the 15th century and was inspired by carnivals like the one in Venice, Yet, Jewish creativity left its trace and led to the creation of many masks remarkable in beauty and adapted to the Jewish themes.

 

source http://www.artmitoo.com/2014/12/13/israeli-natural-haven-in-ein-hod-established-by-jewish-artist-marcel-janco-nurtures-artists/

source http://www.artmitoo.com/2014/12/13/israeli-natural-haven-in-ein-hod-established-by-jewish-artist-marcel-janco-nurtures-artists/

 

Romania-born Marcel Janco was one of the founders of the Dadaist movement and of the European 20th century avant-garde. He came to Israel as a refugee after the breaking of WWII, and became one of the important painters of Israel and founder of the artists colony at Ein Hod. A beautiful mask created by Janco can be admired today in the Janco-Dada Museum in Ein Hod.

 

source http://jewishmuseum.net/ninth-annual-purim-mask-invitational/

source http://jewishmuseum.net/ninth-annual-purim-mask-invitational/

 

The Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma organizes each year a festival around Purim inviting works from pupils in schools in the area. Here is the poster of this year’s event

 

source http://artodyssey1.blogspot.co.il/2009/11/alex-levin-alex-levin-comes-from-kiev.html

source http://artodyssey1.blogspot.co.il/2009/11/alex-levin-alex-levin-comes-from-kiev.html

 

To end here is a beautiful work by Alex Levin – an Israeli artist born in Kiev, Ukraine.

Hag Purim Sameakh! 

A Happy Purim!