What's a Virgin Mary-like Figure Doing in a Famous Medieval Haggadah?

The mystery of Zipporah’s pout.

Zipporah in the Golden Haggadah.

Zipporah in the Golden Haggadah.

Observation
Aug. 9 2018
About the author

Marc Michael Epstein is professor of religion and visual culture and director of Jewish studies at Vassar College. He is the author of, among other books, The Medieval Haggadah: Art, Narrative, and Religious Imagination (2011) and Skies of Parchment, Seas of Ink: Jewish Illuminated Manuscripts (2015).


She sits on the donkey as a queen might sit on a throne. Yet she wears no crown, and with her shawl pulled up over her head she seems modest and unprepossessing. Her progeny, one slightly older than the other, lie swaddled in her arms, and as she looks down, her brow is slightly knit, and her tiny rosebud mouth forms a tiny but distinct pout.

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