The kiddush cup is cylindrical and tapers at the bottom.
It is decorated with a wide band containing three oval medallions which are surrounded by an undulating foliate branch. Each medallion contains one of the following holy places: the Western Wall (9248), the Cave of Makhpelah (9250), the Tomb of the Kings of the Dynasty of David (9249) (read clockwise). The appropiate title is inscribed above each place in the medallions.
The central band is surmounted by a band that bears a dedicatory inscription in square filled letters encircling the top of the cup. It reads:
מנחה שלוחה מאתנו שבתי ו'ז (וזוגתו) הדס ק'ב (ק' ברכות) מעה'ק (מעיר הקודש) צפת'ו (צפת תבנה ותכונן) לבנינו היקר יעקב שלום נ'י (נרו יאיר)
Translation: An offering presented by, Shabtai and his wife Hadas, one hundred blessings from the holy city of Safed, may it be built and established, to our dear son, Jacob Shalom, may his light shine.
The smooth band beneath the central band is undecorated.
Summary and Remarks
H | Holy and other places in the Land of Israel | Holy Tombs | Cave of Machpelah (Tomb of the Patriarchs/Matriarchs)
H | Holy and other places in the Land of Israel | Holy Tombs | Dynasty of King David, Tomb of קברי מלכי בית דוד
H | Holy and other places in the Land of Israel
According to William Gross, the so-called "Zfat Cups" were mostly brought without decoration from Europe, as indicated by the silver hallmarks, and were engraved in Eretz Israel with vignettes of Holy sites. The common knowledge is that such cups were fashioned in the city of Safed and hence their common name. The earliest dated cup is from 1881, so it is probable that they were made in the last quarter of the 19th century and the first quarter of the 20th. A number of existing examples have personal dedications, but it seems that they were purchased as souvenirs of the Holy Land as well.
Most of these cups, of the later types, carry an almost identical design, while earlier examples showed more original variation. The objects of the later type are quite a standard form. The Holy sites depicted here are the Kotel, the Holy city of Safed, and Mount Zion in Jerusalem.