The tas is made of gilded silver. The rectangular plate has an arched top.
The plate is decorated with two tapering, cylindrical columns with spiralling folliage, rising over rectangular pedestals with a corolla motif. The columnns' foliate capitals are surmounted by lions looking frontwards.They support a crown. Bellow the crown is a medaillion. In the medaillion and on both side of it, is an inscription in outline letters, and reads: שויתי % ה' % לנגדי ##תמיד "Ps. 16:8" Bellow the medaillion is a flower basket. A band of flowers encircles the plate.
Above the crown is a dedicatory inscription which is engraved in filled outline letters, and reads: מתנת ר' שמעיה ארי" ווייסענבעעק ואשתו ## לכבוד המקום ולכבוד התורה מן הספר והציץ הזאת. " A gift of Rabbi Shma'aia Arie (int.) Weissenbak and his wife## In honour of the Lord and in honour of the Torah from this book and this ziz (tas)"
The following description was prepared by William Gross:
Breastplates – ornamental metal plates or shields hung in front of the Torah scroll – are found in all Ashkenazi communities, as well as Italy and Turkey, but designed differently in each community. In most cases the breastplate is made of silver or silver-plated metal. In Italy the breastplate is shaped like a half-coronet and known as the Chatzi-keter, "half-crown." In Turkey, the breastplate is called a Tas, and assumes a variety of shapes – circular, triangular, oval, or even the Star of David. In Western, Central, and Eastern Europe the breastplate is called either Tas or Tziz; its function there is not merely ornamental: it designates which Torah scroll is to be used for the Torah reading on any particular occasion, with interchangeable plaques.
The most notable early breastplates, from 17th-century Germany and Holland, were either square or rectangular, but over time they became rounded and decorative, and bells or small dedicatory plaques were suspended from its lower edge. During this period, the design of breastplates was influenced by that of the Torah Ark and the parokhet (curtain) concealing it, featuring various architectural motifs, the menorah (the seven-branched candelabrum), Moses and Aaron, lions, or Torah crowns.
This one of very few Torah Shields to use the Shivit formula as a central theme. The workmanship on this shield is extremely fine as is the lettering of the inscription above. There are holes all around the circumfrance of the silver, indicating that this may have been sewn to a Torah Mantle.
Inscription: The Gift of Reb Shemaya Aryeh Weissen Berg and His Wife, for the Honor of God and for the Honor of the Torah, This Scroll and This Torah Shield (Tzitz) I Have Set the Lord Always Before Me (Psalms 16:8)
C | Columns
C | Crowns, the Four (listed according to Misnah, Avot, 4:13) | Crown of Law (Crown of Torah)
H | Heraldic composition | Central element | Medallion with inscription (central element of heraldic composition )
B | Basket | Basket with flowers
C | Columns | Columns with vine and clusters of grapes