Everyone has tzochkes around their house. Some more than others. One of the things I’ve inherited over the years from a good family friend is a set of figurines from Israel. Supposedly made from bullet shells from the War of Independence, the figures were made to represent biblical characters.
Two years ago, I googled the only clue that I had as to their origin, a tag that read “Original TEPPICH.” Nothing came up and I stored them away in a small display case.
Recently, my mother shipped the dolls to me to display in my new home. I again googled “Teppich” and “Israel,” and now I found a few webpages.
Hans Teppich was a 20th century Israeli artist, born in Germany, who was known for his brass work. As it turns out the dolls aren’t made of bullets. That was a rumor started by American art dealers. But the figurines I have are originals, not the knock-offs made by many of Teppich’s employees. They date to the 1950s and 60s.
My collection includes the following characters: two Sarahs, Tamar, a dancer, Joseph, King David, Solomon, Deborah, Smadar, Joshua, Shulamit, Esther, and Ahashveros.
While not an Antiques Roadshow jackpot, it’s a pleasant discovery. They will soon have a prominent display location in the house.