JAIC 1992, Volume 31, Number 1, Article 5 (pp. 31 to 39)
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Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC 1992, Volume 31, Number 1, Article 5 (pp. 31 to 39)

“ACCESSORIES OF HOLINESS”: DEFINING JEWISH SACRED OBJECTS

VIRGINIA GREENE


ABSTRACT—An attempt to apply a current definition of Native American sacred objects to material from another culture and religion reveals the inadequacy of a broad-based definition as a guide to the appropriate handling of sacred objects in a museum setting. These guidelines must be established individually for each culture, religion, or tribal group. Traditional Judaism divides ritual objects into two main categories, those that carry a quality of holiness; and those that are essential to the performance of a particular ritual or commandment but that have no intrinsic quality that can be defined as sacred or holy. Once they are no longer in ritual use, only some of the objects in the first category should be treated differently from the way other museum collections are treated. For these pieces, repair or restoration done by a conservator is inappropriate. For almost all other objects, conservation, repair, or restoration can be carried out without restriction.

Article Sections:

1. INTRODUCTION
2. HOLY OBJECTS
3. OTHER RITUAL OBJECTS
4. EXHIBITION AND STORAGE
5. CONCLUSION
a: Notes , References , Author Information
Entire Article

Copyright 1992 American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works