Obj. ID: 39171
Sacred and Ritual Objects Besomim, Galicia, circa 1800
The following description was prepared by William Gross:
In Jewish tradition the end of the Sabbath and other Jewish Holidays is marked by the ceremony of Havdalah (Separation) that differentiates between the Holy nature of the holdiay and the profane nature of the following day. This ritual is accomplished by lighting a special candle with several wicks, drinking wine from a cup and the inhalation of the sweet smell of spices. In the Ashkenazi world these spices were usually held in a container which was often shaped in varying forms.
This is a special form of Besomim container used in the Polish lands. Its small size and shape are said to make it convenient as a portable container for the Jew who traveled and was not at home to perform the Havdalah ceremony. The shape is known as the "pear form”. The use of decorative motifs of animals rendered by the piercing of the silver, especially that of the squirrel, point to Galicia as the area of origin.