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What is the Meaning of the Bleeding Pelican? Symbol of the Portuguese Jews of Amsterdam


Video from Henry Abramson


What is the Meaning of the Bleeding Pelican? Symbol of the Portuguese Jews of Amsterdam

"A brief look at a fascinating symbol used in the Portuguese Jewish Community of Amsterdam." from video introduction


Bloodsucking Pelicans, a Dutch Jewish Symbol? Amsterdam's Portuguese Jewish community adopted a seemingly strange image from Medieval Christian art. A bleeding pelican who wounds its breast and feeds its three young birds with its own blood is an unusual type of decoration in a synagogue. In church art, on the contrary, this very image appears not infrequently. The source of the iconography is in all probability the Physiologus, a collection of moralized beast tales from Late Antiquity. Originally written in Greek (though none of the original versions have survived) and translated into Latin, it was later introduced into most European languages, and is also known as Bestiary..." from the article: Bloodsucking Pelicans, a Dutch Jewish Symbol?

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