Status of monument -> National monument
Pursuant to Article 5, paragraph 4, Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Article 39, paragraph 1 of the Code of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, at a session held on 21- 27 January 2003, the Commission to Preserve National Monuments adopted the following
D E C I S I O N
The movable property known as the Sarajevo Haggadah, property of Bosnia and Herzegovina, housed in the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo, 3 Zmaja od Bosne street, is hereby proclaimed a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The provisions relating to protection measures set forth by the Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, established pursuant to Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina nos. 2/02 and 27/02), shall be implemented in regard to the National Monument referred to in the preceding paragraph.
The Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall be duty bound to ensure and provide the legal, scientific, technical, administrative and financial measures necessary to protect, conserve, display and rehabilitate the National Monument specified in Clause I of this Decision.
The Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall provide the appropriate physical and technical conditions for the safekeeping of the Sarajevo Haggadah, and shall supervise its protection.
The exhibition and other forms of display of the Sarajevo Haggadah in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall be performed consistent with the terms and conditions laid down by the Federation Ministry with jurisdiction over cultural matters.
All persons, and in particular the authorities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the cantons, city and municipal services shall refrain from taking any action that might damage the National Monument specified in Clause 1 of this Decision or jeopardize its protection and rehabilitation.
The removal of the Sarajevo Haggadah from Bosnia and Herzegovina is prohibited.
By way of exception to paragraph 1 of this Clause, the Sarajevo Haggadah may be temporarily removed from Bosnia and Herzegovina for the purposes of display or conservation in the event that it is determined that conservation works cannot be carried out within Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Approval for the temporary removal of the Sarajevo Haggadah from Bosnia and Herzegovina in the circumstances specified in the preceding paragraph shall be granted by the Commission to Preserve National Monuments if it is established beyond doubt that such removal will in no way jeopardize the said National Monument. In reaching its decision to approve the temporary removal of the Monument, the Commission shall determine all the terms and conditions of the said removal, the time limit for the return of the item to the country, and the responsibilities of individual bodies and institutions in securing the said terms and conditions, and shall notify the Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the competent security service, the Customs Authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the general public.
This Decision shall be submitted to the owner of the National Monument specified in Clause I of this Decision, the Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the competent Ministry for Culture, and the competent protection service, for the purpose of implementation the measures specified in Clauses II, III, IV and V of this Decision.
The elucidation and accompanying documentation form an integral part of this Decision, which may be viewed by interested parties on the premises or by accessing the website (http://www.aneks8komisija.com.ba) of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments.
Pursuant to Article 5, paragraph 4, Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the decisions made by the Commission to Preserve National Monuments are final.
This Decision shall enter into force on the date of its adoption and shall be published in the Official Gazette of the Federation of BiH.
This Decision has been adopted by the following members of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments: Zeynep Ahunbay, Amra Hadžimuhamedović, Dubravko Lovrenović, Ljiljana Ševo and Tina Wik.
Chairman of the Commission
No:05- 6- 80/ 03- 2
17. January 2003.
E l u c i d a t i o n
I – INTRODUCTION
Pursuant to Article 2, paragraph 1 of the Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, established pursuant to Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a “National Monument” is an item of public property proclaimed to be a National Monument by the Commission to Preserve National Monuments (hereinafter referred to as the Commission) until the Commission reaches a final decision on its status, as to which there is no time limit and regardless of whether a request for the property in question has been submitted or not.
The Jewish Community submitted to the Commission a proposal to proclaim the item of movable property known as the Sarajevo Haggadah a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Commission proceeded to take the necessary steps to proclaim the Sarajevo Haggadah a National Monument pursuant to Article 5 Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Article 35 of the Code of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments.
II – PROCEEDINGS PRIOR TO DECISION
During the proceedings prior to the adoption of the final decision to declare the said property a National Monument, the following documentation was reviewed:
• Documentation from the Archives of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the item forming the subject of the proceedings
• Video material of the conservation of the item
• Report on the work of conservation carried out on the item
• Design for the showcase for the safekeeping of the Haggadah in the National Museum in Sarajevo
• Description and photographs of the item in special monographs
The findings based on the review of the above documentation are as follows:
1. Information concerning the item:
The Sarajevo Haggadah is housed in specially arranged and secure premises in the Archeological Department of the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 3 Zmaja od Bosne street, Sarajevo.
The word Haggadah is Hebrew for story or narrative, and such books have for centuries been known as Haggadah Sel Pesach – the Pesach Haggadah. The book consists of blessings that are spoken over wine, bread, while washing the hands, after meals, and forms a collection of stories, verses and prayers for the great festival of Pesach.
The manuscript originated in northern Spain in the second half of the fourteenth century, after 1350.
This dating is based on the evidence of the clothing (robes with hoods, known to this day among the Jewish population from that area) and other objects depicted in the miniatures, and on some painted and decorative elements. For example, on the third page of the Haggadah, beginning with the words Ha lahma, three coats of arms are depicted. In the centre, near the top, above a painting of the entrance gate to a fort, there is an escutcheon with alternating dark red and gold bars, representing the arms of the city and province of Barcelona. In the right-hand lower section there is a crimson wing on a light-coloured escutcheon, the coat of arms of the Sauz family, and on the left, a bright red rosette on an escutcheon, the family crest of Queen Margaret of Aragon. The painter or purchaser paid special attention to these coats of arms, and a gilded rosette is to be found on pages six and nineteen on a flag, among lettering. All these features suggest that the Sarajevo Haggadah originated in the former Kingdom of Aragon, perhaps in Barcelona or its immediate environs (E. Weber, 1999, page 20), and that its purchaser must have been an extremely wealthy individual with certain connections at the Royal Court, or at least with access to it.
The manuscript began its journey towards Sarajevo around 1492, at the time the Jews were expelled from Spain. It was in Italy in 1609, as evidenced by a manuscript note by a censor from Rome: “Revisto per mi Gio. Domenico vostorini 1609” on page 105 (Sarajevo Haggadah, 1999, page 105). There is also a note on one of the blank pages on the sale of Haggadah, in which the names of the seller and purchaser are scratched and painted in white, stating that “the seller declares and certifies to have sold this Haggadah this day, Sunday August 25th 5270 (year 1510)”, (E. Weber, 1999, page 19). From this it may be concluded that the Haggadah was in Italy, probably in the north, that it changed hands during the sixteenth century, and that subsequently, presumably via Split and Dubrovnik, it reached the Balkans during the course of changes of residence.
Until it was sold, it belonged to the impoverished Cohen family, who retained it as a family relic, a memory of times of wealth and fame (Cohens were usually high in the clerical hierarchy). The Haggadah was sold to the National Museum by the Cohen family for 150 Forints in 1894. After four years of studying and comparing this manuscript with others of its kind elsewhere in the world, Dr. David Muller and Dr. Julius Schlosser published a study on the Haggadah in Vienna in 1898. The Haggadah was returned to Sarajevo in October 1913.
Between the end of World War II and the beginning of 1992, it was housed in a special safe in the National Museum. It was rarely on display, and then only for a matter of hours:
- in 1996, on the occasion of celebrating the quadricentenary of the Jews’ settling in Bosnia and Herzegovina
- in 1988, during the exhibition “Jews in Yugoslavia”
- in 1995 on the occasion of Pesach
It was housed in a safe deposit box in the Union Bank from 1992 until December 2002, when it was placed in a specially designed exhibition space in the National Museum in Sarajevo.
Legal status to date:
Based on information from the text of the catalogue “The Sarajevo Haggadah”, it has been established that the Supreme Court of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina issued a ruling stating that the Haggadah was the property of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that its keeper was the National Museum in Sarajevo.
2. Description of the item:
The Sarajevo Haggadah, a manuscript book, belongs to the group of Spanish-Provencal Sephardic Haggadahs. There are only a few remaining in the world, e.g. the British Museum houses a few major items, but experts regard the Sarajevo Haggadah as one of the most beautiful.
The Sarajevo Haggadah consists of 142 written or illuminated parchment pages, measuring 16,5 cm x 22,8 cm, grouped in sheets of 8, or more often of 12 pages (half-quire) and can be divided into three parts. The first two, although visually unalike, compose what is known as the Pesach Haggadah and have a total of 84 pages. The third part is an addendum to the Haggadah, of 58 pages.
The Haggadah is bound in leather.
The first 34 pages contain 69 miniatures. These illuminations are painted on the reverse of the parchment page, and are all bordered in colour, with simple chain or spiral decorations. On the first two pages the miniatures are divided into four paintings, on 29 pages they are divided into two paintings by a gold stripe, and on three pages the illuminations occupy the whole page. In these cases the facing parchment page is blank. The paintings represent scenes from the Pentateuch, beginning from the creation of the world, through the slavery in Egypt and the exodus led by Moses, to the laying on of hands of Joshua, son of Nune. The last four miniatures are particularly significant, and are not of biblical character (E. Weber, 1999, page 20). The execution of the miniatures is sharp and confident, and the colours are bright and intense, with ultramarine, cobalt-blue, cinnabar-red, red, yellow and green the most common. Gold was used with striking frequency. The stylistic features of the miniatures suggest a Provencal origin without the influence of iconoclastic Islam, but belonging to the Sephardic cultural world. There are markedly gothic decorative artistic elements (Encyclopedia of Fine Arts, 1962, page 494).
The next fifty pages contain the text of the Haggadah, which is read and sung during the first two nights of the festival of Pesach at the family table. The pages are written on both sides in Hebrew lettering of Sephardic, or more precisely of medieval Spanish type, with many initial words framed in flags or other decorations, and with illuminations on three entire pages.
The third part of the book is written without illustrations and illuminations, and features the later Hebrew square lettering. The parchment is well bleached and fine, and is written on both sides. This part of the manuscript is well preserved, with barely no signs of use, but many erasures are to be observed. It is also noticeable that some texts in this part of the book were written at a later date. These were written in italics and relate to the owners of the Code and its movements.
This part of the Haggadah consists of a collection of poems from the golden age of the Jewish-Arab culture (pages 53 – 81), the so called Pijut, and represents the poet’s lament over the exile of the Jews. Pages 81 to 83 contain prayers for the festival of Pesach, and the next 11 pages excerpts from the Teaching, to be read during the 8 days of Pesach in the synagogue. Pages 94 to 98 are the chapters read during the first two and the last day of Pesach. Pages 101 to 104 are additions to the evening prayers (E. Weber, 1999, page 34-36).
3. Particular evidence concerning the item:
See facsimile reprint of the Haggadah, Svjetlost Sarajevo, 1999 edition.
4. Conservation – restoration works:
Conservation and restoration of the leather bindings was carried out from 13 to 22 December 2001, when it was established that the pages are in good condition.
The restoration was carried out by Andrea Pataki, graduate restorer.
5. Present condition of the item:
The present condition of the item can be described as follows:
- the item suffered no war damage.
- it was held in a safe deposit box in the Union Bank until November 2002.
- further deterioration will be prevented by the construction of a showcase designed for the safekeeping and display of the item
III – CONCLUSION
The Sarajevo Haggadah belongs to a group of the world’s most valuable illuminated manuscripts of its type, dating from the fourteenth century, and is important evidence of the lost Jewish art of book-making in the classical period. In the light of its date, the wealth of its miniatures and the figure representations they contain, which are uncommon in Jewish manuscripts of that period, as well as the fact that are few surviving Haggadahs in the world as a whole, the Sarajevo Haggadah is one of the most valuable monuments of culture in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Pursuant to the above, and applying the Criteria laid down for the proclamation of National Monuments, adopted at its session held on 3-9 November 2002, the Commission has adopted a Decision proclaiming the Sarajevo Haggadah a National Monument.
Criteria forming the basis of the Decision :
A. Age determinants
C. Artistic and aesthetic value
C II Quality of the material
C V. Value of the details
E. Symbolic Value
E II Religious value – book of tales and prayers for Pesach
E III Traditional value – reading Haggadah for Pesach
E IV Connection with rituals or ceremonies
E V Significance for the identity of a group of people
G I Form and design
G II Material and content
G III Purpose and use
G IV Tradition and technique
G VI Spirit and sentiment
H. Uniqueness and representativity
H I Unique and rare example of a certain type or style
I III Comprehensiveness
I IV Undamaged condition
The following documentation is annexed to this Decision:
1. Documentation of the Archive of Bosnia and Herzegovina
ANNEX a): Application of the National Government in Sarajevo to the Joint Ministry of Finance – Department for Bosnia and Herzegovina, to grant additional funds to the National Museum for the scientific treatment of the Code
ANNEX b): Dr Julius Schlosser notifies the National Government that the study of the item will take more time than expected
ANNEX c): Josef Cohen requests a copy of the 1898 reprint of the Haggadah from the National Government
ANNEX d): Josef Cohen is granted a copy of the Sarajevo Haggadah at half price
2. Documents of the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina
ANNEX A): Copy of inventory entry showing the Sarajevo Haggadah registered under inventory no. C4436
ANNEX B): Document on the purchase of the Haggadah in 1894
ANNEX C): Agreement between the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Union Bank DD Sarajevo on the hire of a safe deposit box
ANNEX D): Agreement between the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Jewish Community of Bosnia and Herzegovina on funding the construction of secure premises for the safekeeping of the Sarajevo Haggadah
3. Report by Andrea Pataki, graduate restorer, on the work of conservation on the Sarajevo Haggadah
4. Photographs of the Sarajevo Haggadah from the reprint made in 1999.
The documentation annex to the Decision is public and available for view on written request to the Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
During the process of proclaiming the Sarajevo Haggadah a National Monument, the following reference works were consulted:
1953. Radojčić, The Sarajevo Haggadah, Belgrade, 1953.
1956/60.C. Roth, The Sarajevo Haggadah and its Significance in the History of Art, Jewish Almanac, Beograd, 1956 – 1960.
1962.S. Tihić, “Haggadah”, Encyclopedia of Fine Arts,Yugoslav Institute of Lexicography, Vol. 2, Zagreb, MCMLXII, 494.
1966.M. Karamehmedović, Sarajevo Haggadah, 400th Anniversary of Jewish arrival in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo 1966, 11 – 22.
1973.Bindings and Metal Fittings of Books from Yugoslav Collections. Catalogue of the Museum of Fine Arts, Belgrade, 1973.
1974.V. Nedomački, Form, Accoutrements and Bindings of Jewish Books, Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts No. 18, Belgrade, 1974, 95 – 105.
1999.The Sarajevo Haggadah, Sarajevo 1999 (Preface E. Weber).
2002. The Sarajevo Haggadah, Catalogue, Sarajevo, 2002.