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Daily bread: the professional activity

These images taken from medieval documents give us an idea of the main occupations of the Jewish inhabitants of Girona. Craftsmanship, commerce and money-lending were the most important among them.

Outstanding items

The Cresques Atlas

1373, a reproduction of the original kept at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris. One of the most important activities of Catalan Jews was their interest in the sciences, including astronomy and cartography. In 1373 two Majorcan Jews, Jafudà and Abraham Cresques, who were father and son, were commissioned by the King to produce a “map of the whole known world”. The result was this fine work consisting of 7 tables, offered by the Catalan monarch as a wedding present to the French Dauphin.

 

The Barcelona Haggadah

Early 15th century, Catalonia (facsimile of the original in the British Library, London). The Catalan Jews were excellent craftsmen, copiers and booksellers. The Haggadah tells the story of the Exodus and the freeing of the Jewish People from slavery in Egypt, and has been read since time immemorial on the night of Passover. Some magnificently illustrated examples are still preserved in Europe, originating from the workshops of the Jewish artists of medieval Catalonia. This volume is called the “Barcelona Haggadah” because it is thought that it was produced in that city.

 
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