Menu JTA Search

Hebrew U. Announces First Chair of Near Eastern Art and Archaeology

The Hebrew University will commemorate the sixth anniversary of the death tomorrow of Sir Sassoon David, member of a noted Jewish family, with the formal announcement of the establishment of the Sassoon David Chair of Near East Art and Archaeology.

The chair, which was established for a period of eight years by his son, Sir Percival David of England and India, will be the first Chair of Near Eastern Art and Archaeology and will provide the first resident professorship in the School of Oriental Studies at the Hebrew University.

Dr. A. L. Mayer, of the Palestine Department of Antiquities and lecturer in Moslem Art and Archaeology at the University, has been named to the chair, assuming his duties on January 1.

The late Sir Sassoon David, for whom the chair is named, was a member of the large inter-related family of David, Sassoon and Ezra, whose personal chronicles are so largely bound up with successful industry and enterprise in the Bengal Presidency and other parts of India and China.

He died at the age of 77 in 1926, after a long career in industry, public welfare and communal activities.

The subject of research and teaching of the Sassoon David Chair will be the art and archaeology of the Near East with special reference to the Moslem period. In view of the special needs of this field, research work will deal mainly with the history of the material civilization of the Near East, with the development of art and the effect on it of its historical and social environment.

Palestine and the adjacent countries will be the centre of these studies, so as to give students and post-graduates a better opportunity of carrying on their research or basing their studies on a knowledge of the monuments themselves.

The donor of the chair, Sir Percival Victor David, has aided financially archaeological expeditions in the Near and Far East, notably the recent excavations at Ur of the Chaldees, Iraq, in Palestine at Gaza, and in Korea.

Sir Percival is keenly interested in Chinese ceramics and has been a collector for 18 years. Since 1929 he has served as Honorary Advisor to the Palace Museum at Peking.

Due to him, the first lectureship in Chinese Art and Archaeology was instituted at the School of Oriental Studies of London University. He is a member of the Appeal Committee of the Oriental Museum; of the Board of the London Institute of Archaeology and the Universities China Committee.

The Hebrew University has the largest collection of photographs of Moslem art and architecture in the Near East, formed by Dr. Mayer, who came to Palestine in 1921.

NEXT STORY