The Weird Jewish Hats of Medieval Art: Antisemitic Trope, or Fashion Statement? | Unpacked

Published on Jul 24, 2021
Ever flipped through your history book and wondered “Why are all the Jews wearing these funny hats?” You find it all over Christian art from stained glass windows to manuscripts, the Judenhat ("Jewish hat") can be traced back to medieval Europe. You can even find it in the Bird’s Head Haggadah and some other Jewish books of the time! Originally a marker of eastern learning, antiquity and authority, and even fashionable with 12th century aristocracy, things took a dark turn as Jews were depicted wearing the hat while killing Jesus. Paired with a “Jewish nose”, the hat can even sometimes still be seen in Antisemitic depictions of Jews today.

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Image and footage credits:
- Auckland Museum
- Bibliothèque nationale et universitaire de Strasbourg
- British Library
- Emanuel Dayan
- Foto Marburg/Art Resource, New York
- Galit Hadari/PikiWik
- Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles
- Google Art Project
- John Court Ltd
- Museum Schnütgen
- Réunion des Musées Nationaux/Art Resource, New York
- SLUB Dresden/Deutsche Fotothek
- Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek, Bremen
- Wikimedia/Brezocnik Michael, Guschi


About Unpacked: We provide nuanced insights by unpacking all things Jewish. People are complex and complicated — yet we’re constantly being pushed to oversimplify our world. At Unpacked we know that being complex makes us more interesting. Because of this, we break the world down with nuance and insight to drive your curiosity and challenge your thinking.

#Jewish #Judenhut #Hats


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