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Olive Trees Flanking Menorah

Menorah of Zechariah’s Vision (Folio 316v), from the Cervera Bible
Illuminated by Joseph the Frenchman, Spain, 1299–1300
Tempera, gold, and ink on parchment
Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, Lisbon (BNP, IL.72)
This manuscript was recently featured in the exhibition Lisbon’s Hebrew Bible: Medieval Jewish Art in Context (on view November 22, 2011–January 16, 2012).

The menorah, a seven-branched oil lamp, was used ritually in the Second Temple. The commandment that pure olive be used to light the ever-burning lamp of the Tabernacle is found in Exodus 27:20.

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