David Harris

Gold glass disc depicting seven-branched menorahs and an array of other Jewish symbols. To make gold glass a thin layer of gold leaf was laminated between two layers of glass, a technique known as early as the third century B.C. in Alexandria and practiced for hundreds of years thereafter. Scholars have noticed that a fairly large Jewish population lived in the cities and towns of Europe and the Mediterranean where gold glass has been discovered. It is therefore likely that most gold glass, with or without Jewish symbols, was made by Jewish artisans. In both examples pictured here, the structure above the menorahs is an open Ark of the Law. Inside the Ark can be seen rolled-up Torah scrolls, the ends of which face the viewer. Lions of Judah and shofars (rams’ horns) are also included in the decoration. This gold glass probably dates from the 4th century A.D.