Zev Radovan

A fragment of a distinctive black ceramic bowl was discovered at Nabratein. Incised in white on the sherd is a depiction of a Torah shrine. The artist simultaneously incorporated two different views into his drawing. On top we see the steeply gabled outside roof of the synagogue with its tiles represented by cross-hatched rhomboids. Below the outer roof we see the gabled roof of the Torah shrine or ark, but this roof appears in section with a circular holder for an eternal lamp hanging on a chain in front of it.

The lamp holder, suspended by a chain from the peak of the ark roof is shown as if viewed from above. Similarly, on the upper edge of the sherd several small circles with dots inside are seen. The dots apparently represent deep, oil-containing glass cups used for illumination in the synagogue. The rings held the glass cups.

The horns and hanging chains, extending from the tops of fluted columns, closely resemble the depiction of an Ark on the mosaic floor of the sixth-century Beth Alpha synagogue.