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A Web Site by Oliver Seeler

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~ Special Feature ~

A Bagpipe in Jewish Culture:
The 14th Century "Barcelona Haggadah"


A page from the Barcelona Haggadah
"The Matsah as the Harmony of the Universe"

The above beautiful page from the large 14th century illuminated manuscript know as the Barcelona Haggadah represents the first direct connection that we at the Universe of Bagpipes have seen between bagpipes and Jewish culture. The Barcelona Haggadah is famous not only for its depictions of rituals of the vibrant Jewish community in Spain during the mid-14th century, but also for conveying many details of daily life. Perhaps it can be argued that the pipes are more Spanish than Jewish; nevertheless, the link is clearly there, and in light of no previously known connection (at least none that we're aware of) it is most interesting. Apparently the Barcelona Haggadah contains portrayals of over two dozen musical instruments; I don't yet know if bagpipes are seen again on another page. ~ O.S.

Detail: The piper in the Barcelona Haggadah

The above detail of the illumination shows what appears to be a fairly realistic bagpipe, at least in comparison to many more fanciful early illustrations.

This document, the original of which is in the British Library, was kindly brought to my attention by Daniel Bingamon , of Jubilee Musical Instrument Co. (who is involved in developing a new and interesting instrument, the bagwhistle ).

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