Hanukkah Lamp

German (Augsburg)
about 1750

Object Place: Augsburg, Germany


Overall: 33 x 31.4 cm (13 x 12 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Silver gilt

On View

Angelica Lloyd Russell Gallery (Gallery 142)


Europe, Judaica



Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after the defeat of the Seleucid kingdom by the Maccabees in the second century BC. At the time, a small amount of consecrated olive oil burned miraculously for eight days, the period celebrated today by lighting one flame each night of the holiday. This splendid lamp is embellished with elaborate rococo ornament. Each of the reservoirs across the base held oil and a wick. The columns at the sides are meant to recall the Temple’s architecture and support figures of Judith (holding the severed head of Holofernes) and David, two ancient Jewish heroes. The silver lion that holds the tablets of the Ten Commandments and the two figures at the top were probably added in the nineteenth century.


Selig Meier Goldschmidt (b. 1828 - d. 1896), Frankfurt; by descent to his son, Meier Selig Goldschmidt (b. 1865 - d. 1922), Frankfurt; by descent to his daughter, Alice Goldschmidt Eisemann (b. 1896 - d. 1965), Frankfurt and London [see note 1]; by descent to her son, Meier Selig Eisemann, Minnesota and Israel; by descent to an anonymous family member; November 24, 2009, anonymous ("descendent of Selig Meier Goldschmidt") sale, Sotheby's, New York, lot 86, to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 16, 2009)

[1] She took the lamp with her when she emigrated from Frankfurt to London in the late 1930s.

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds donated by Lizbeth and George Krupp, Joyce and Edward Linde, Scott Nathan and Laura DeBonis, Barbara L. and Theodore B. Alfond, Cordover Family Foundation, Judith P. and S. Lawrence Schlager, Anonymous gift, Susan B. Kaplan, Clay Barr, and Irving W. Rabb, and by exchange from an Anonymous gift in memory of Charlotte Beebe Wilbour (1833-1914), William Francis Warden Fund, made possible by the generous assistance of John Axelrod, Bequest of Charles Cobb Walker, General Funds, The John Axelrod Collection, Bequest of Maxim Karolik, Gift of Mrs. Sidney T. Allen, Given in memory of Dr. William Hewson Baltzell by his wife, Alice Cheney Baltzell, John Gardner Coolidge Collection, Bequest of Frank Brewer Bemis, Gift of Mrs. Dows Dunham, Gift of Edward Jackson Holmes, Gift of Mrs. Forsyth Wickes, Gift of Mrs. George Linder, Juliana Cheney Edwards Collection, Gift of the Walpole Society, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen C. Greene, Gift of Mrs. Albert J. Beveridge, Bequest of Helen S. Coolidge, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John Templeman Coolidge, Bequest of Charles Hitchcock Tyler, Gift of Miss M. H. Jewell, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Newhall Smith in memory of her husband, Gift of the Western Art Visiting Committee, Gift of the John Gardner Greene Trust, Otis Norcross Fund, Gift of Mrs. Francis B. Lothrop, Gift of the Trustees of the Reservation Estate of Mrs. John Gardner Coolidge, Gift of Dr. Henry J. Bigelow, Gift of Mrs. Albertine W. F. Valentine, residuary legatee under the will of Hervey E. Wetzel, Denman Waldo Ross Collection, Gift of Mrs. Henrietta Page, Gift of Frank Gair Macomber, The Elizabeth Day McCormick Collection, Gift of the Estate of Gertrude T. Taft, Susan Greene Dexter Fund, Bequest of Maxim Karolik, Bequest of Miss Amy M. Sacker, Gift of Mrs. Frances E. Perry, Gift of Mrs. Horatio Appleton Lamb in memory of Mrs. Winthrop Sargent, Gift of Mr. Edward Jackson Holmes, Beqeust of George Nixon Black, Gift of Mrs. Frederick T. Bradbury, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William de Forest Thomson, Bequest of Susan Greene Dexter in memory of Charles and Martha Babcock Amory, Gift of Francis H. Bigelow, Gift of Bloomingdale's, John Wheelock Elliot and John Morse Elliot Fund, Bequest of Forsyth Wickes—The Forsyth Wickes Collection, Swan Collection—Gift of Miss Elizabeth Howard Bartol, Gift of Mrs. H. P. Sturgis, Gift of Mrs. Abbott Lawrence, Bequest of George Washington Wales, Alfred Greenough Collection, Gift of Mrs. Guy Lowell in memory of her husband, Guy Lowell, Gift of the Collection of Edward Jackson Holmes, Bequest of Gertrude T. Taft, Bequest of James W. Paige, Gift of Mrs. Henry Mason, Bequest of Mrs. John H. Thorndike, Gift of Richard Edwards, Gift of Miss Louise M. Nathurst, Jessie and Sigmund Katz Collection, The Phillip Leffingwell Spalding Collection—Given in his memory by Katharine Ames Spalding, Philip Spalding, Oakes Ames Spalding, and Hobart Ames Spalding, Gift of Roland Nickerson, Gift of George E. Cabot in memory of Eliza Hemenway Cabot, Bequest of Mrs. M. A. Elton, Turner Sargent Collection—Bequest of Mrs. Turner Sargent (Amelia J. Holmes), Gift of Dr. George L. Walton, Bequest of Emma M. Dimond, Gift of Mrs. Thomas P. Rich, Gift of Misses Catharine Langdon Rogers and Clara Bates Rogers, Bequest of Mrs. Edna H. Howe, and funds from Mary S. and Edward Jackson Holmes Fund and William Francis Warden Fund