Focus Questions

What does this object make you think of?  Does it remind you of something you have seen before?

Which part of the object do you notice most? What does that part look like and what does it tell you about the object?

How do you think it was used? (Tip! Think about its shape, size, design, decoration, and what it is made from)

Have you noticed...The lettering under the picture? Can you guess what language it is in? Click to reveal answer

The language is Hebrew which is read right to left. It says ‘This is the goblet from which my lord drank in the presence of all his brethren when he was in happy mood. 1803’ This sentence is referring to a story in the Torah about Joseph's goblet, the story can be found in Genesis xliv

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Coconut Shell Kiddush Cup

Coconut Shell Kiddush Cup

Coconut Shell Kiddush Cup

This Kiddush cup was made in 1803 from rosewood, silver gilt and a coconut shell.

Coconut Shell Kiddush Cup
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The Object

Object name: Coconut Shell Kiddush Cup
Date: 1803
Catalogue number: JM 401
Material(s): Coconut shell, rosewood, silver gilt
On display in the Jewish Museum? Yes

  • A Kiddish Cup is used on Shabbat, an important Jewish festival that happens once a week.
  • Look closely at the kiddush cup to see how the bowl is made from a coconut shell and has been carved with scenes of stories in the Torah.
  • The scene in the middle of the kiddush cup shows a group of people around a table drinking from goblets.  The cup was made in 1803 so the people pictured are wearing what was fashionable then.

The Story

The Kiddush Cup
This Kiddush cup whose bowl is formed from a coconut shell is carved with three scenes.  The one you can see is a scene of men in early nineteenth century dress drinking, the second has three angels visiting Abraham and the third depicts the binding of Isaac for sacrifice.  All three of these stories are written in the Torah.

Shabbat
This Kiddush cup was made in England in 1803 and was designed to be used on Shabbat.  When Shabbat begins on Friday night kosher wine or grape juice is poured inside the kiddush cup and a blessing is said, then the kiddush cup is passed round so everyone can drink a sip.

Digital Takeaway

Download this PDF to design your own Kiddush Cup.