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Oven of Achnai 1

Not in Heaven: Meditations on the Oven For this project I chose to create a series of models of possible interpretations of תנורו של עכנאי – the ‘Oven of Achnai (serpent)’. These are both of literal, usable ovens and imaginary, fantasy structures which incorporate elements of the story in the Talmud (Baba Metzia 59.) regarding purity/impurity and where the ultimate authority lies. My models thus include the types of oven used in the Roman era (similar to today’s taboons); a snake-like coil oven; a structure with falling walls; one incorporating a carob tree, another with an integral river; and models of the type of oven which is the main subject in the Talmud, where structural elements are disconnected from each other with stones or sand interspersed between layers, possibly with a surrounding layer encasing the ‘broken’ pieces. My models are all small in scale and hand-built from a variety of clays and mixed media.