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Golden Shrine for the Ten Commandments: Small

Golden Shrine Small

Collection:  General Judaica

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

  • 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 2002

  • It took about seven 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: 43” (109.2 cm)    W: 35” (88.9 cm)

  • With frame: H: 47¾” (121.3 cm)    W: 39¾” (101 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 Lvov, 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 mostly used shades of gold for the entire needlepoint. There are approximately twenty shades of gold.  Some additional colors are incorporated in a few places to make this work distinguishable from the larger version Ilana completed about a year earlier.

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.  Ilana also designed the border.

Other comments: 

Ilana made this needlepoint as an almost exact duplicate of the larger version, which she gifted to her daughter.  This rendering is slightly smaller, has subtle variations in the design, includes a few additional color threads with the gold hues and has a unique border.

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

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