Incense Shovel

The mahta, or incense shovel, was used in the Temple in Jerusalem to remove ashes from the altar or for burning incense; little is known about its use after the time of the Temple. It is frequently depicted in ancient synagogue mosaics flanking the Torah ark, together with the menorah, the shofar, the lulav and the etrog. This mahta, c. second- third century A.D., rests on four supporting pegs; the handle is made in the form of a column with a Corinthian capital. The entire piece is 8.6 inches long.