Photo courtesy of Rizzoli International

A Canine-Like Abraham circumcises a puppyish Isaac (Genesis 21:4). The substitution of animal heads on human figures—as in this illumination from the Laud Mahzor, a German-Jewish, High Holidays prayerbook dating to about 1260—was another strategy sometimes adopted by artists to avoid the depiction of people. Isaac’s circumcision is a subject rarely portrayed in Jewish illumination.