Faience tile with an image of a Jewish peddler with a large box on his back

Language of Description
Alt. Identifiers
  • 2016.184.9
1 Jan 1700 - 31 Dec 1799
Level of Description
EHRI Partner

Extent and Medium

overall: Height: 4.625 inches (11.748 cm) | Width: 8.375 inches (21.273 cm) | Depth: 0.625 inches (1.588 cm)


Biographical History

The Katz Ehrenthal Collection is a collection of more than 900 objects depicting Jews and antisemitic and anti-Jewish propaganda from the medieval to the modern era, in Europe, Russia, and the United States. The collection was amassed by Peter Ehrenthal, a Romanian Holocaust survivor, to document the pervasive history of anti-Jewish hatred in Western art, politics and popular culture. It includes crude folk art as well as pieces created by Europe's finest craftsmen, prints and periodical illustrations, posters, paintings, decorative art, and toys and everyday household items decorated with depictions of stereotypical Jewish figures.

Archival History

The tile was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2016 by the Katz Family.


United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family

Funding Note: The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

Scope and Content

French faience tile with a colorful image of a stereotypical Jewish peddler created in the 18th century. Faience is earthenware that is coated with a tin-glaze, which gives it a milky, opaque white color. This technique was popular in France from the late 16th century through the 18th century. French manufacturers produced tea sets, tiles, plates, and tureens decorated with elaborate designs and artistic images. The peddler in the image has a large nose and a long beard, two stereotypical Jewish features. Peddling was a common occupation for young Jewish men during the 18th and 19th centuries. However, old prejudices originating from the economic and professional restrictions placed on early European Jews formed an antisemitic stereotype of the Jewish peddler. They were barred from owning land, farming, joining trade guilds, and military service. These restrictions limited Jews to the occupations of retail peddling, hawking, and money lending. Additionally, medieval religious belief held that charging interest (known as usury) was sinful, and the Jews who occupied these professions were looked down upon predominantly by European Christians. They were perceived as morally deficient and willing to engage in unethical business practices. The inability of Jews to legally hold other occupations, combined with Christians’ disdain for the professions Jews were allowed to practice, helped form the canard of the greedy Jew who exploited Gentiles. This canard was often visually depicted as a Jewish peddler, an untrustworthy figure that sold cut-rate items at inflated prices. Often, they were shown carrying a sack on their back or a tray around their midsection. This tile is one of the 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.

Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions on access

Conditions Governing Reproduction

No restrictions on use

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Rectangular, glazed, ceramic tile with a painted image of a man wearing bright blue, knee-length, cuffed jacket with brown breeches and a purple tricorn hat. He has a long beard, brown hair, and a large, pointed nose. He carries a hinged, wooden box slung over his shoulder, and uses a walking stick as he strides across a grassy path. The off-white and gray background is discolored and portions of the decorated surface have worn away throughout. The tile has worn, chipped edges, and there are several losses, especially along the bottom edge and in the lower left corner. The back of the tile is unglazed, tan, and stained with mortar.



This description is derived directly from structured data provided to EHRI by a partner institution. This collection holding institution considers this description as an accurate reflection of the archival holdings to which it refers at the moment of data transfer.