Israel Museum (2)

´╗┐The Israel Museum (Hebrew: Moze'on Yisrael) was founded in 1965 as Israel's national museum and it is considered one of the leading art and archaeology museums in the world. It is situated on a hill in the Givat Ram neighborhood of Jerusalem, near the Knesset, the Israeli Supreme Court, and the Edmond Safra Campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek was the driving spirit behind the establishment of the Museum.

Israel Museum houses works dating from prehistory to the present day in its Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Jewish Art and Life Wings, and features extensive holdings of biblical and Land of Israel archaeology. Since its establishment in 1965, the Museum has built up a collection of nearly 500,000 objects, representing a broad sample of world material culture.

From 1965, the museum was housed in a series of masonry buildings designed by the Russian-born Israeli architect Alfred Mansfeld. An urn-shaped building on the grounds of the museum, the Shrine of the Book, houses the Dead Sea Scrolls and artifacts discovered at Masada. Adjacent to the Shrine is the Model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period, which reconstructs the topography and architectural character of the city as it was prior to its destruction by the Romans in 66 AD. The Billy Rose Art Garden is a 20-dunam garden featuring modern and abstract sculptures. The Art Garden, designed for the original campus by the prominent Japanese-American artist and landscape architect Isamu Noguchi, is counted among the finest outdoor sculpture settings of the 20th century.

The museum attracts more than 800,000 visitors a year, including 100,000 children who visit and attend classes in its Youth Wing. A $100-million campaign to renovate the museum and double its gallery space was completed in July 2010. The wings for archaeology, the fine arts, and Jewish art and life were completely rebuilt and the original buildings were linked through a new entrance pavilion. The passageways that connect between the buildings and five new pavilions were designed by James Carpenter.

In addition to the extensive programming offered on its main campus, the Israel Museum also operates two off-site locations: the Rockefeller Archaeological Museum in East Jerusalem that opened in 1938 for the display of artifacts unearthed mainly in the excavations conducted during the British Mandate of Palestine, in the 1920s and 1930s; and Ticho House in central Jerusalem, which offers an ongoing program of exhibitions by younger Israeli artists in a historic house and garden setting.

The stamp series Israel Museum was issued in 1966. Designer: O. Adler. Its 6 stamps display various artifacts from the Museum: a bronze panther figurine; a synagogue stone menorah; a Phoenician ivory sphinx; a gold earring; a miniature gold capital; and a gold drinking horn.

Israel Museum(1): Panther

The bronze figurine of a crouching panther with lolling tongue and raised left fore-leg, was found at the excavations of Avdat. The figurine shows the mixed Greco-Oriental character of the Nabataean culture of that period.

Avdat was founded as a caravan station by the Nabataeans near the junction of the two main Negev trade routes.

Israel Museum(2): Synagogue stone

Art was introduced into the many new synagogues built after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the first century CE: mosaic floors and architectural relief decorations. The low-relief stone menorah, with flowers and pomegranates alternating on its seven branches comes from a second century CE synagogue excavated near Tiberias.

Israel Museum(3): Sphinx

The ivory relief depicts a "sphinx" - a mythical figure with the body of a lion, wings and a human head - in Phoenician style. It was found at Arslan Tash in Northern Mesopotamia together with many ivories, one of which bore the name Hazael (the Bible mentions an Aramean king named Hazael). These were decorations and inlays for wooden furniture. The sphinx and the other ivories are similar to those found in the palaces at Samaria (9th Cent. BC).

Israel Museum(4): Gold earring

This head of an ibex - a wild goat with recurved horns - is part of a tiny gold earring; of Persian style, it was discovered in the "Persian stratum" at Ashdod, together, inter alia, with a Hebrew ostracon and Attic red-figure vases, indicating that harbor's far-flung cultural and commercial links. Similar items are known from Cyprus.

Israel Museum(5): Miniature gold capital

At the great royal city of the Achaeminian rulers, Persepolis, the capitals which supported the ceilings were composite in style, with floral and animal ornaments set one upon the other. This 5th century BC golden model of one of them - possibly used by sculptors or architects - is extremely rare.

Israel Museum(6): Drinking horn

Drinking horns in gold, silver and terracotta with heads of griffins, rams, bulls and lions have been found. At least one bears an inscription mentioning an Achaeminian king (550 to 330 BC).