Friday, July 20, 2012

Jonah and the Whale Porcelain Pipe

According to the Book of Jonah in the Old testament (Tanakh),

Fragments of the Book of Jonah were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) (4Q76 aka 4QMinorProphetsa, Col V-VI, frags. 21-22; 4Q81 aka 4QMinorProphetsf, Col I and II; and 4Q82 aka 4QMinorProphetsg, Frags. 76-91)

Jonah (Hebrew: ‫יוֹנָה‬, Modern Yona Tiberian Yônā ; dove; Arabic: يونس‎, Yūnus or يونان, Yūnān; Greek/Latin: Ionas) was a prophet from a small village north of Nazareth during the reign of Jeroboam II, the fourteenth king of the ancient Kingdom of Israel (c. 786-746 BC).
Jeroboam II, Promptuarii Iconum Insigniorum, 1553, Published by Guillaume Rouille (1518?-1589)

God instructed Jonah to go preach to the people of Nineveh, capital of Assyria "for their great wickedness has come up before Me". Jonah refused and boarded a ship bound for Tarshish, which is geographically in the opposite direction.

God sends a great storm and Jonah is cast overboard, and swallowed by a whale.

Carving of five main scenes from the Book of Jonah, made for a sarcophagus in 3d Century Mainz, Vatican Museum

For three days and three nights in the belly of the beast, Jonah prays to God for forgiveness. God forgives Jonah and commands the fish to release him.

"Jonas rejeté par la baleine" - Mosaïque paléochrétienne - IV° siècle
 Jonah returns to Nineveh where he preaches, 
Stone laver from Assyria, Pergamum Museum in Berlin
 and his message is heard. The Assyrians repent.

The Biblical Story of Jonah is repeated in the Qur'an,

This page in Maghribi hand, is from a Qur'an probably copied in the 13th century in the Muslim Kingdom of Grenada, the last bastion of Islam in Spain. It shows the end of Sura Yunus (The Prophet Jonah) and the beginning of Sura Hud (The Prophet Hud) separated by an illuminated chapter heading in Andalusian Kufic.

 and in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke in the New Testament.

"Jonas jeté à la mer" -  Enluminure du Moyen-Âge.
Jonas rejeté par la baleine. Enluminure de la Bible de Jean XXII. France, XIVth century
Jonas - Speculum humanae salvationis - XV°century

 The Story of Jonah would continue to inspire great artists through the centuries,

The Prophet Jonah, as depicted by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, 1471 - 1484

Jonas and the Whale, 1621, Pieter Lastman (1583-1633), Oil on canvas - 36 x 52,1 cm
Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf, Photo : Didier Rykne

Rare XVIIIth century opera knob in bronze sculpted of Jonas emerging from the whale's mouth.This knob delicately chiseled, shows Jonas's chest, he has curley hair with moustache and beard. The fabulous animal has a very important head and shows sharp teeth, an important snout, eyes nearly humans, sculpted scales and a coiling tail. On the base of the knob, waves. On each side two precious stones one cut amethyst and a cut tourmaline.
On a high ebonized wood shaft, high copper ferrule.
So it should be of no surprise that the superbly talented German porcelain makers of the XVIIth/XVIIIth century would immortalize the Story of Jonah...on a pipe.

1 comment:

  1. Great piece which makes this pipe even more meaningful. Is the pipe available for acquisition? If yes, what would be the opening bid or price?