Model of the Tomb of Jesus Aedicule (Edicule) in the Holy Sepulchre, Bethlehem, The Ottoman Period in Palestine, Circa 18th Century

Identification Number: 501


A Rare and very fine miniature Model of the Tomb of Jesus (Edicule) in the Holy Sepulchre, The wood is veneered with finely engraved mother of pearl painted with Black lac decorated with various Christian icons.

During the 17th. Century and particularly in the town of Bethlehem in the Holy lands, the world had witnessed the emerging talents and the unique production of the Christian related works of art, that mainly involves working with the delicate craftsmanship of carpentry, items were decorated with various types of wood, ivory, bone and mainly with mother of pearl inlay.

Outstanding works of Art were produced including the making of very fine models representing the whole compound of the Holy Church of Sepulchre including the model of the burial site and the tomb of Jesus (Aedicule).

Whereas during the 18th. and the 19th. centuries the focus was to try to mainly produce the model of the burial site and the tomb of Jesus (Aedicule).

 Few of the 18th. century amazing and much loved models which are representing the Aedicule have survived and can only be found in major world collections and museums.

For while making these charming models, the main wooden structure was almost the same but the decoration of the finely carved, engraved and tinged with lac decorations was a bit different, for various types of iconography were used, for that reason, they all look unique and rather different at the same.

The subjects that were chosen to decorate the walls, the shape of the dome, the grounds and the height and style of the columns of the building were different and mainly were chosen carefully by Artist or potentially by a collective of people including the authority that is requesting the item (the commissioner) and the Artist (the engraver).

Also the quality of the of the engraving was different, some early charming examples they tend to be a bit primitive, others a bit average, and some are of exceptionally high quality, others they tend to be more commercial like the ones which were produced in the 19th. century.

The iconography that is executed on this model is of exceptionally fine quality and potentially could be better than all the other published and well-known examples.

The iconography used is the depiction of the torture of Jesus Christ by making him bear the wooden cross on which he was crucified.

Detailed Images depicting the death and resurrection of Jesus.

An exceptionally fine depiction of various Saints including the veil of Saint Veronica.

The veil of Saint Veronica is a legendary woman from Jerusalem who had witnessed the suffering of Jesus while carrying his own cross to the Calvary Hill (Golgotha) the site where the crucifixion of Jesus took place, she had offered Jesus her kerchief to wipe his face, after which he had given it back with the imprinted image of his holy face.

Various finely cut pieces of mother of pearl depicting various parts of the building including the movable door, the building entrance steps and the tomb of Jesus can also be seen inside.

Various finely pierced holes were also used on the walls and the ceiling.




21 cm is the height.
The width of the model’s base is 24 cm
8 cm is the depth including.


Very good, all the iconography of this lot is intact, all the columns had been restored and replaced by professional antique restore, in order to be able to use old restoration materials close to the production period, the materials used were taken from 19th century mother of pearl fork handles, parts of the dome top and sides had also been restored.


The European Art Market


For other similar example please see the following:
1- La Nouva Gerusalemme, Artigiannato Palastinese Al Servizio Dei Luoghi Santi, Michele Piccirillo, Edizioni Custodia Di Terra Santa, Editrice VELAR, 2007.
The New Jerusalem, Palestinian Craftsmanship at The Service of the Holy Places, by Michele Piccirillo, Custody of the Holy Land Edition, Published by Velar, 2007, ISBN: 978-88-7135-315-9.
Please see the various similar models of the Aedicule (Tomb of Jesus) available among other important world’s collections; various models are illustrated on pages 92-111.
Probably the closest model to our lot is the model available at the Civic Museum of Art And History in Brescia-Italy, the model is also decorated with the figure of Jesus and the12 figures of the Apostles, the Model is illustrated on page 101 & 198.
In terms of the quality of the engraving of the icons found on this model and if compared with our current lot please notice the superior quality of engraving on our lot, which is very evident.

2- El Arte Palestino De Tallar El Nacar, by Enrique Jidi Daccarett, Karen David Dacccarett & Martha Lizcano Angarita (The Palestinian Art of Mother-of-Pearl Carving)
Lot 39 Page 52.

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