Collection: The Guiding Hand: Torah Pointers from the Barr Foundation Collection
On view March 24, 2022 — August 14, 2022
For hundreds of years, Jews used simple tapered wooden sticks to point the way through the text of the Torah without touching the fragile handwritten animal-skin parchment surface. These pointers are called “yads” – literally the Hebrew word for hand יד) because of the miniature hands that are typically featured on the tip of the pointer. Yads are personal, individualized objects and have developed into a unique art form with great variety since there are no rules governing their form. Some are still carved out of wood, but historical yads can be splendid objects of silver or ivory. Others are now shaped from materials as diverse and unconventional as lucite, paper, graphite, porcelain or glass, some even ornamented with gold and jewels.