Antique Judaica Polish Jewish Women’s Sabbath Cap Kupka 19th Century Poland
A fine and rare example of the antique, circa 1850 "kupka - kupke," a cap worn by well-to-do religious Jewish women on the Sabbath and holidays, Poland, 19th century.
This magnificent Kupka is finely embellished in highest quality of Spanier Arbeit. With goldwork embroidery of intricate pattern with gold-wrapped threads and bullion on brown silk velvet and adorned with decorative appliques, silver foil, green and ruby color cut glass paste sequins, ribbed silk lining, and with two gold braided flattened tying cords.
For centuries, Poland was home to the largest and most significant community of Ashkenazi Jews in the world and was a major center of Jewish culture.
Polish Jews were known for centuries as craftsmen. Particularly they were famous throughout Europe for their skills in goldsmiths, silversmiths, and textiles.
Luxurious textiles made of silk and embroidered with gold and silver thread using an intricate decorative technique known as Spanier Arbeit were made by Polish Jews during the 17th-19th century.
Polish Jews used the Spanier Arbeit technique in luxury textiles such as Torah mantles, Parochet - Ark Curtains, Atarah (decorative neck bands for Tallit), men's Kippah-Yarmulke, women's head coverings "kupka," and women's bodice pieces known as brustikher.
These products were made for the Polish market and for export to other countries,such as,Austria, Bohemia, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and others.
The term Spanier Arbeit has been translated either as "spun work," derived from the Yiddish word "spinnen," or as "Spanish work."
However, the technique of Spanier Arbeit embroidery was most likely influenced by Ottoman Turkish goldsmith embroidery, to which most Polish Jewish luxury goldsmith embroidery is very similar. I believe so because from the late 16th century until the late 18th century, Ottoman Turkish fashion significantly influenced Polish clothing, arms, and armour.
By the mid-19th century, the main production center of Spanier Arbeit work was the town Sasów (Sassów), in Yiddish: סאַסאָװ.
This town was founded in 1615 by a Polish aristocrat and grandfather of the Polish King Jan III Sobieski, Jan Daniłowicz. Until 1772, the town was in the Kingdom of Poland. Then, until 1919, it became part of the Austro- Hungarian Empire in the Galicia district.
From 1919 to 1945, the town was once again part of Poland.
After World War II, the municipality was incorporated into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
The Spanier Arbeit technique was time-consuming and very expensive to make. Such "kupka" took about 200-300 hours of work and was affordable only for wealthy Jewish women. It was intended to be worn as a symbol of religiosity and to show off wealth and social class.
REFERENCES: Esther Juhasz, ed., "The Jewish Wardrobe: From the Collection of the Israel Museum," Jerusalem, 2012, pp. 90-91.
We will provide the buyer with copies of the pages from the mentioned reference, together with a certificate of authenticity.
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Height:11.5 cm x Width: 19 cm.
Height:4.53 inches x Width: 7.48 inches.
CONDITION: In very good condition. It shows age and use. Velvet edges with some wear.
Acquired from an old Canadian collection of Polish antiques and art, including Judaica.
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THE DISPLAY STAND IS A PROP AND IS NOT INCLUDED WITH THE KUPKA.
ACCOMPANIED BY CERTIFICATES OF AUTHENTICITY