Seder Haggadah shel Pesah


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HAGGADAH. Seder Haggadah shel Pesah. Venice: Alvise Bragadin, 1716. Folio, 19th-century Dutch marbled paper boards; ff. 25. Housed in a custom clamshell box.

Beautifully illustrated 1716 Venice Haggadah, with Italian translation printed in Hebrew characters. Includes Leone Modena’s commentary (Tzli Esh), based on Isaac Abrabanel’s earlier commentary, Zevah Pesah.

This early 18th-century Venice Haggadah was printed in the esteemed tradition established in the same city in the previous century. “Among its visual highlights were a magnificent architectural border surrounding every page of text, woodcut initials enclosing miniature figures and scenes, and large woodcut illustrations placed at the top or bottom of almost every page… arranged into a meaningful biblical cycle that begins with Abraham and later focuses on the narratives actually recalled in the text of the Haggadah” (Yerushalmi 44-55, regarding the extremely scarce 1609 and 1629 Venice editions, accurate for this edition as well). Includes the famous 13-panel illustration of the stages of the Seder, and the ten-panel depiction of the ten plagues, which became fixtures of illustrated Haggadahs after their first introduction in the 1609 Venice edition. Modena’s commentary first appeared in the 1629 Venetian edition; here, as in the 1629 edition, his commentary is printed within the architectural columns (alternating at times with the translation of the text). The House of Bragadin simultaneously printed three issues of this Passover Haggadah, all identical with the same layout and illustration cycle and Judeo-Italian translation, differing principally in the choice of vernacular translation of the “Grace after Meals” section: Yiddish, Ladino, and Judeo-Italian. Title page and each page throughout with decorative architectural woodcut border. Yaari 81. Yudlov 131.

Most leaves remargined or repaired along edges, at times affecting decorative border and text (supplied in neat facsimile). A very good copy of this lovely illustrated Haggadah, an excellent example of the Venetian tradition.

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