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Obj. ID: 3480
Sacred and Ritual Objects
  Torah case, Tunisia, mid-18th century

© Center for Jewish Art, Photographer: Radovan, Zev, 1997

The prismatic Torah case consists of a body and a coronet.

The case opens in the centre on the front facet, forming two halves joined in the back by a steady facet (fig. 1).

The body comprises twelve facets and is encircled, at its upper edge by a wooden stepped strip, whereas its lower edge is surrounded by a pair of similar strips, creating two friezes.

Each facet is decorated with a vertical double pattern composed of a multifoil arch topped by an interlaced medallion. The arches and medallions create four circumferential bands. The medallions enclose a large open flower whereas the arches enfold a lily like vase, holding a symmetrical stem with three flowers on either side, alluding to the Ottoman Four Flower motif.  The patterns are painted in red, green, yellow and black against an orange background.

A dedication is inscribed in square Hebrew letters on a piece of parchment, attached to its front facet. The first line is illegible, while the rest of the dedication reads:

"???/ רפאל עטיא/ חרא תוניס." 

" ??? Raphael Atiya, the Jewish neighborhood (Hara) inTunis" (see: History/Provenance). 

The stepped coronet is composed of twelve units, which continue the body's facets (figs. 1, 2). Each unit encloses a painted base, surmounted by a central foliate stem, which carries a carved lily topped by a lotus. The upper edges of the lotus create stepped triangles. The carvings are painted in red and green. A black circumferential strip delineates the base from the upper part. 

The inner face of the Torah case is plain wood painted in red. Each half has a double shelf at its bottom.

Two holes for inserting the Torah staves appear at the bottom and top.

10 image(s)

sub-set tree:

Object Detail
Monument Setting
Unknown
Date
mid-18th century
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Unknown (Unknown)
Origin
Historical Origin
Unknown
Location
Unknown |
Site
Unknown
School/Style
Period Detail
Collection
Documentation / Research project
Unknown
Material/Technique
Wood, paint on wood, parchment
Structure: sawed, carved
Decoration: painted, carved
Bonding: nailed, hinged, glued
Inscription: ink on parchment
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Density
Colors
Construction material
Measurements
Height: 865 mm (general), 691 mm (body), 174 mm (coronet)
Width: 378 mm (body)
Height
Length
Width
Depth
Circumference
Thickness
Diameter
Weight
Axis
Panel Measurements
Condition
• The case is falling apart. • Part of the dedication is erased.
Extant
Documented by CJA
Surveyed by CJA
Present Usage
Present Usage Details
Condition of Building Fabric
Architectural Significance type
Historical significance: Event/Period
Historical significance: Collective Memory/Folklore
Historical significance: Person
Architectural Significance: Style
Architectural Significance: Artistic Decoration
Urban significance
Significance Rating
Languages of inscription
Unknown
Type of grave
Unknown
0
Ornamentation
Custom
Contents
Codicology
Scribes
Script
Number of Lines
Ruling
Pricking
Quires
Catchwords
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Direction/Location
Façade (main)
Endivances
Location of Torah Ark
Location of Apse
Location of Niche
Location of Reader's Desk
Location of Platform
Temp: Architecture Axis
Arrangement of Seats
Location of Women's Section
Direction Prayer
Direction Toward Jerusalem
Coin
Coin Series
Coin Ruler
Coin Year
Denomination
Signature
Colophon
Scribal Notes
Watermark
Hallmark
Group
Group
Group
Group
Group
Trade Mark
Binding
Decoration Program
Summary and Remarks
Suggested Reconsdivuction
History/Provenance
The case was originally dedicated to a synagogue in the capital city Tunis.
Main Surveys & Excavations
Bibliography
• Amar, Ariella. "Synagogues and Ritual Artifacts". In Tunisia, Jewish Communities in the East in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Saadoun, Haim (ed.), Jerusalem: Ministry of Education and Ben-Zvi Institute for the study of Jewish communities in the East of Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2005 (in Hebrew). • Amar, Ariella, and acoby, Ruth. Ingathering of the Nations. Jerusalem: Center for Jewish Art in the Hebrew University, 1998. In English and Hebrew.

Yaniv, Bracha. The Torah Case: Its History and Design (Ramat Gan: Bar Ilan University Press and the Ben Zvi Institute, 1997). In Hebrew
Short Name
Full Name
Volume
Page
Type
Documenter
Efrat Assaf-Shapira | 07.97
Author of description
Ariella Amar | 03.11
Architectural Drawings
|
Computer Reconstruction
|
Section Head
Ariella Amar | 03.11
Language Editor
Simona Gronemann | 06.11
Donor
|
Negative/Photo. No.