The Holy Place

lampstand, incense altar, showbread tableHere’s the interior of the Tabernacle known as “The Holy Place.” Behind those cherub-adorned curtains (“the veil”) is the “Holy of Holies”, the remote chamber containing the Ark of the Covenant with its cherub-adorned Mercy Seat. For a deity that prohibited graven images, YHWH sure demanded a lot of graven images of cherubs.

From my online research it seems there’s some demand for tabernacle pictures, and some sites charge a pretty penny for their use. Ironically, my blasphemous film will result in excellent Free, high-res, high quality, carefully rendered tabernacle assets that anyone can copy, modify, play with, and use for any reason (except to establish an artificial monopoly). When Seder-Masochism is finished, I’ll post all the source (.fla) files, just like I did with Sita Sings the Blues.


Author: Nina Paley

Animator. Director. Artist. Scapegoat.

14 thoughts on “The Holy Place”

  1. You have one great mistake! There wasn’t any drawing in the temple, not in any other sacred place. In 10 commandments they had ordered “You shall not carve for yourself an image, the likeness of anything in the heavens above or the earth below, or in the waters under the earth.” Human faces were drawn only after the destruction of the second temple in 70 AD. The images you had drawn are Egyptians’, and that’s makes it more incompatible.

  2. Oh how I feel your pain with the lack of pictorial research on ancient Judaism! I am an illustrator, and I have been freelancing with a company that publishes biblical stories for children. Even though there kids and don’t know historical accuracy when they see it! (heavy sarcasm please note.) I cannot tell how I have racked the internet for accurate descriptions, pictures and drawings of this sort of stuff…from clothing to temples, it’s quite a hunt you have to go on! For what’s it’s worth, when I see this film, all that precious imagery will be sweet as honey to me!

  3. Thanks for your generous offering to use the images of your site.
    What you have done on the Old Testament Tabernacle is tremendous. Remove the Egyptian images and it will be perfect.

  4. Those aren’t Egyptian images. They are cherubs, per God’s commandment:
    “Make the tabernacle with ten curtains of finely twisted linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, with cherubim worked into them by a skilled craftsman.” –Exodus 26.1
    Exodus is full of orders to make graven images of cherubs, which probably looked much like Assyrian Shedus.

  5. Those are not cheribums as described in the Bible. They are Assyrian Shedus. So why create images that are not described by the Bible. Why distort the truth in your pictures?

  6. Cherubs: A word used by ancient Mesopotamian’s to describe a winged figured with a lion’s body, a woman’s head, which the Greeks called a “sphinx.” In the Bible, cherubim’s (plural) are seen as attendants of God, emphasizing his aloofness and holiness. As guardians of the tree of life, they indicate that life belongs to God and is granted by him. (Cherubs first mentioned in Genesis 3:24)
    Cherubs are mentioned many times throughout the Bible… Exodus 26:1 also correct.

    The idea of a Cherub is not originally Egyptian. Cherubs as a symbol have evolved from this lion, woman, winged creature to our modern idea of an human-like angel, such as cupid. This depiction of the curtain, from my understanding, is correct. Always keep in mind the time period in which these items were created. Many pagan symbols were reformed, but that doesn’t make them any less holy according to God. He uses these symbols to communicate with his people, on a level that they would understand.

  7. I see that you have mistaken with something with this “Holy Place“! The veil belongs more for Assyrian and Babylonian civelizations, and it’s called “Lammasu“, The Assyrian Winged Bull doesn’t belong to Jews people…Thank you very much

  8. There’s absolutely no correlation between various depictions of cherubs in the Bible and the Mesopotamian shebu. Your research is a disgrace, but that’s to be expected from someone who seeks only to denigrate her (former) faith. Try to make a “Life of Muhammad” animation – THAT doesn’t require too much research but a lot more guts than you clearly possess.

  9. I think you did a great job, apart from the cherubim. You did great research and there is nothing wrong with publishing these things. People should be able to find this information/pictures on the internet. There might not be a lot of pictures online, but I have found a lot of great pictures in books. The problem is copywriting of course. When the Torah/Bible refers to “graven images,” it is in the context of idolatry. Making an image that would promote the worship of anything other than God. Clearly, we can see we still have this tendency today, seeing as how people worship & adore celebrities, who are not actually any more special than anyone else. Obviously, the images of the cherubim in the temple would not be seen by most people, and it was also a solemn reminder of God’s holiness and power. A priest entering the temple might fear for his life. It is unlikely that he would be at all tempted to worship a depiction of an angel on the curtains. Which reminds me, when you think “cherubim” you should think something along the lines of “angel” only a lot more fearsome. These images definitely look more Egyptian. There certainly wouldn’t be depictions of Egyptian gods inside the Holy Place. Thank you for your hard work though.

  10. For abe Bird
    the images are not Egyptian its babylonian/ Assyrian winged bull with human head. check it out. the jewish ancestors are babylonians from Ur in Iraq today

  11. I have been searching online for a free gif animation of the altar of incense to insert in an powerpoint presentation. Thank you for allowing free use of your picture posted on I am wondering if you have a clip of just the altar of incense (transparent background) with the animation of the smoke?? Kind Regards, Kim

  12. I guess it’s too late for the movie, but according to Jewish tradition, the cherubs were male and female, and could move! And embrace! Also the cherubs on the curtains were male and female, and embracing. And there were trees on it too. (Yoma 54b) (That’s in the Talmud.)

  13. I think you’ve done a GREAT job! Let’s face it, no one ACTUALLY knows (from this viewpoint in history) what cherubim look like. The only authoritative words about them are in Scripture, and there, prophets like Ezekiel struggled to describe what they were seeing. Thanks for your artwork!

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