15th Century

Haggadah Shel Pesah

Hagadah shel Pesah. Passover Haggadah. Yerushalayim: V. Turnovski, [1990?]    
BM 675 P4 Z523328 1990 Special Collections

Illuminated manuscripts of the Haggadah fall roughly into two types: the Sephardi and the Ashkenazi.  The Sephardi, from Spain, is characterized by biblical illustrations, narrating episodically the Exodus and the events leading up to it.  The Ashkenazi (mostly from Germany, Northern Italy and France) are illustrated more typically in the margins of the text.  This is a photographically enlarged facsimile of an Italian-rite Siddur, Mantua, 1480. The scribe was Avraham Farisol from Avignon. The manuscript is in the Jewish national and University Library in Jerusalem.  It is not a true fine art facsimile, but it does present the content photographically. In the 13th and 14th centuries, economic pressures motivated Jews to migrate to Lombardy. Expulsions from Spain, Sicily and religious persecutions in France and Germany also drove Jews to northern Italy. Mantua attracted many of the émigrés. The city began to flourish in 1480 and became the center of a new humanistic spirit in Jewish scholarship. The first “printed” rather than illuminated Haggadah is ascribed to the Hebrew press in Guadalajara, Spain, around 1482. But Mantua would become a center for Haggadah printing in the mid 1500s.

The University of Arizona Library