Huberman Archeology in JerusalemArcheology in Jerusalem

  • Issue: December 1988
  • Designer: E. Weishoff
  • Stamp size: 30.8 x 25.7 mm
  • Sheet of 50 stamps Tabs: 5

Jerusalem has been extolled and glorified since time immemorial. More than any other city in the world, it has been crowned with honour and wreathed in praises. Jerusalem has been called "The City of God" "The Eternal City", "City of the Prophets", "City of Soul and Spirit", "City of Beauty", and a great many other laudatory appellations. Dedicated archaeologists, probing the secrets of Jerusalem's checkered past, have unearthed artifacts from a plethora of human cultures dating back through all the ages of Mankind. Since the city's very beginnings, the fine stonework of Jerusalem - its ancient reliefs and capitals - has borne silent witness to the skill and pride of its artists and masons.

Relief - Second Temple, 1st Century B.C.E.

Among the four walls of the Temple Compound on Mt. Moriah, the South Wall was considered the most important, an honour accorded it because of its frontal position. Why was it thought of as the front wall? Because it contained the main entrance and exit gates which gave access to the Temple and its courtyards. These gates, known as the Gates of Huldah, were situated, in the South Wall, separated by a distance of 80 meters (262 feet). The eastern Huldah Gate was the main entrance; and the western one was the primary exit.

People observing the traditional year of mourning after the loss of a loved one, came and went through the wrong gates". They entered through the western gate and exited via the eastern, as did those who were excommunicated or otherwise in purdah. When men and women going in or out in the normal manner met these sorry individuals coming toward them through the gates, they would ask the nature of their misfortune, and comfort them. This custom intensified the feeling of the Jews that they were one People, one Family.

Both Gates of Huldah were adorned with stone reliefs created by the finest Jewish artists of the period, which usually bore a tasteful combination of geometric designs and floral motifs.

The fragment of a relief pictured on this stamp belongs to the group of reliefs and engravings carved on the facades of the Huldah Gates, and in their vaulted thoroughfares. This specific relief came from the eastern gate, at whose base it was unearthed in the course or archaeological excavations.

The main theme of the relief is a chain of rhomboids, among which rosettes have been carved. The engraving was done in hard Jerusalem limestone; despite the difficulty of working with this material, the relief is of exquisite beauty and consummate technical skill.

This relief, and many others excavated in the vicinity, testify to the magnificence and artistic grandeur of the eastern Huldah Gate, which, from the very beginnings of that ancient age, was better known by its cognomen, "The Gate of Splendour".

Byzantine Capital - 6th Century C.E.

The capital of a column ornamented with a luxuriant floral style on its first section will be of Corinthian origin. The stonework of light grey stone is magnificent and identical to capitals of this kind found in Moslem religious buildings on the Temple Mount. The capital shown on this stamp was, in fact, found in excavations at the foot of the Temple Mount and is, today, kept in the courtyard of the Moslem Museum on the Mount. On the top section of this capital there is a cross inside a circle. When they used the capitals in their own religious buildings, the Moslems removed such crosses: but these capitals were to be used in churches of the Byzantine period, particularly in the 6th century CE.

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Archeology in Jerusalem (II)