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Look at what I found on the Online Galleries website!
English School, late 18th century, circa 1780-1800
Height 24.5” (62cm) Width 21” (31cm)
Stock No. 4230W
SALE PRICE: £1,480
As the sole place for Jewish Sacrifice, the Temple replaced the portable sanctuary constructed in the Sinai Desert under the auspices of Moses as well as altars in the hills and local sanctuaries. The bible reports that it was first built by Solomon in 957BCE, but suffered sacking a few decades later by Sheshonk 1, Pharoah of Egypt. It was rebuilt, thereafter, in 835BCE by Jehoash, the King of Judah, who invested great sums of money in its reconstruction, only to have it further desecrated by Sennacherib, King of Assyria in about 700BCE. It was completely destroyed by the Babylonians in 586BCE when they sacked the city of Jerusalem.
The construction of the Second Temple was begun by Cyrus the Great in 538BCE and work was completed 23 years later. It remained an important structure throughout the Persian rule until it was rededicated to Judas Maccabaeus in 164BCE. The Romans, under the rule of Crassus were to desecrate the Temple in 54BCE, only for Herod the Great to renovate it around 20BCE. It was then to become known as Herod’s Temple, staying under control of the Jewish people even throughout the Roman occupation, only to be totally destroyed by a band of Roman soldiers, allegedly not acting under orders, in 70CE, during the siege of Jerusalem.
According to the Talmud, the Temple had a Women’s Court – Ezrat Nashim to the east and a main area to the west, which contained the butchering areas for the sacrifices and the altar on which most of the offerings were burned and where blood was poured or dashed. Sacrifices were divided into two types, those of greater and those of lesser sanctity. Those of greater sanctity had to be slaughtered north of the altar and those of lesser could be slaughtered anywhere in the Azarah – main area. The firstborn offering and atonement was one of the more common sacrifices of lesser sanctity and was therefore brought through a southern gate – Sha’ar HaBechorot – The Gate of the Firstborn.
It was the women who were required to offer sacrifice for atonement according to Leviticus 12:6-7 as part of the purification rite for cleansing after childbirth:
'When the days of her purification are fulfilled, whether for a son or a daughter, she shall bring to the priest a lamb of the first year as a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or a turtledove as a sin offering, to the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Then he shall offer it before the Lord, and make atonement for her. And she shall be clean from the flow of her blood. This is the law for her who has borne a male or a female'.
During the 17th century there was considerable fascination with and interest in the Temple of Solomon following the publication of a major work by the Spanish Jesuit scholar, mathematician and architect Juan Bautista Villalpando (1552-1608). Called Ezechielem Explanationes, it was a commentary that included detailed and imaginative reconstructions of buildings in Jerusalem, especially Solomon’s Temple, according to the visions of the Prophet Ezekiel. Villalpando’s reconstructed drawings were based on the assumption that the buildings were designed using the laws of geometry and were drawn in parallel or orthographic projection, which is a form of image that he likened to God’s vision. His drawings inspired many European artists and illustrators and were circulated widely among the master builders of the 17th century. It was a time when there was great public demand for engravings and physical models of these ancient structures.
Sir Isaac Newton (1642 – 1727) was also gripped by a fascination for these ancient buildings. He was of the belief that, just as the writings of ancient philosophers, scholars and biblical figures contained within them unknown sacred wisdom, the same was true of their architecture. He believed that the architects had hidden their knowledge in a complex code of symbolic and mathematical language that, when deciphered, would reveal an unknown knowledge of how nature works. His most comprehensive work on Solomon’s Temple, found within ‘The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms’, was published posthumously in 1728 and further fuelled the public interest and demand.