Book cover for Pentateuch and Five Scrolls

Tobias Schier Polish

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 551

Jewish prayer books printed in "Typographical Amsterdam Hebrew Characters" were sought after in the decades around 1700 and well into the eighteenth century in Europe. Treasured and handed down all over Europe for generations by Jewish families, these books represent the learned and sophisticated standing of their owners. The utmost precious protection for the sacred text was a silver book cover. Complete ensembles are extremely rare. The goldsmith Tobias Schier was a specialist for such ostentatiously crafted silver covers. Several examples by Schier have survived and document the master’s outstanding abilities to transform the precious metals silver and gold into objects of great elegance and exuberant appearance.

Book cover for Pentateuch and Five Scrolls, Tobias Schier (Polish, active 1702–33), Silver, chased, pierced and embossed and partially gilt, German, Breslau (Wrocław)

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