Archival 9" x 12" Digital Print
In a large medallion on the ceiling above the entrance, an eagle-like bird is shown landing on the top of a tree trunk, looking directly down at three eggs in its nest. The artist, uncharacteristically, labeled the figure as an “ostrich” in Hebrew. This figure is the only animal in the entire synagogue that was given a label. The artist painted other animals realistically, so the fact that he labeled the painting “ostrich” probably indicates that he did not know what an ostrich looked like. Most Polish Jews of the Early-Modern period would have been familiar with the term “ostrich” because it was used in legends and biblical stories, especially one about the ostrich's practice of hatching her eggs by the power of her vision. Such stories emphasized the power of vision and the importance of looking at good things and refraining from looking at evil things.
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