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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Prague Haggadah, 1526


The woodcut figures represent adult types. The wicked "child" is the soldier dressed in showy clothes with a feather in his ornate hat. His body language expresses arrogant self-assuredness and almost bursts the framework of the picture, while his black sword pierces the woodcut frame at a threatening diagonal. This figure has effectively read himself out of his people by assimilating to the military culture of Europe. By contrast, the wise "child" is represented by an elderly scholar whose body is smaller and weaker than that of the soldier. The simple child submissively points and gazes downward while the questionless child is wholy absorbed in the parent's story.

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