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Golden Shrine for the Ten Commandments: Large

Golden Shrine Large

Collection:  General Judaica

Other in the set: Golden Shrine for the Ten Commandments: Small

  • Needlework by Ilana Limoni

  • Illustrations painted by Lindy Tilp

  • Illustration based on a Torah shield likely crafted in Lvov, Ukraine in the early 19th Century

  • Completed in 2001

  • It took about ten months to make

Materials and technique:

  • Petit Point Canvas made from cotton with an 18 mesh mono weave (i.e., 324 stitches per square inch)

  • Threads are silk, wool and metallic fibers

  • Technique is a variety of stitches including couching


  • H: 48¼” (122.6 cm)    W: 36¾” (93.3 cm)

  • With frame: H: 54” (137.2 cm)    W: 42½” (107.9 cm)


Details of note:

Inspiration.  The illustration was based on a picture of an antique Torah shield on the cover of a Sotheby’s catalogue for an auction of the Sassoon family collection in 2000.  Based on research, this artifact was most likely gilded in the early 1800s in Lemberg, the Polish part of the Austrian Empire (today Lviv, Ukraine). The use of mythical beasts intertwined with foliage was a prevailing motif in Polish Jewish art.   

Colors.  Since this was inspired by Jewish ritual objects that are commonly crafted from precious metals, Ilana only used shades of gold for the entire needlepoint. There are approximately twenty shades of gold.

Process in general:

Ilana collaborated with her artist Lindy as to how she wanted the illustration to be adapted from the original object.  Once the canvas was painted, Ilana decided how to best utilize the different shades of gold threads.  She also employed the couching technique to enhance certain areas of the design she wanted to highlight.

Other comments: 

This is the first time Ilana used the couching technique.

Ilana’s husband Uri enjoyed looking at decorative ancient objects and found the picture that inspired this work. Consequently she dedicated this needlepoint to him.

The Torah Shield is now located at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

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