Art Alone

Img. ID: 36254

© Center for Jewish Art, Photographer: Radovan, Zev, 2001


"רגינה פינצי בתולת ישראל בת היקר מר משולם בר מצא בר מאיר יצ (ישמרהו צורו)."

 "The virgin of Israel Regina Finzi, daughter of the dear Meshulam Maza son of Meir, may his Rock protect him."



"הבחור הנחמד בר' (בן רבי) חיים פצ'רילו יצ (ישמרהו צורו) בר נחמיה היקר מר בר' (בן רבי) יעקב פצ'רילו נע (נוחו עדן)."

 "The nice lad, son of Rabbi Haim Picerillo, may his Rock protect him, son of the dear Nehemia, the son of Rabbi Jacob Picerillo, may he rest inEden."


"בשישי בשבת חמישה עשר יום לחודש שבט שנת חמשת אלפים וחמש מאות ושמונים ושניים לבריאת עולם ושנת אלף ושבע מאות ועשרים וארבע לחרבן בית המקדש שיבנה במהרה בימינו אמן."

 "On a Friday, 15th of the month Shevat in the year 5582 to the Creation (6.2.1822) and the year 1724 of the destruction of theTemple ( 68 – according to the local counting = 1822), May it be established soon Amen." (See: Remarks: no. 1).

 Place of marriage:

"כאן קושטודיאה יע"א (יבנה עירו אמן) מעל ימא אור (שטאד)"

"Here in Castoria (Coshtodea), may He build his city, amen, (located) above the lake Orestiada (Oreshtad)."


-          Samuel Hayim

-          Ze'ev son of Rabbi Joseph Bechar

-          David Bechar



The rectangular ketubbah is topped by a trapezoid arch. The single column text is enclosed within a horseshoe arch and flanked by two Corinthian-like columns and framed by a band with the Zodiac signs. Two rosettes are set symmetrically in the spandrels, while below them are two vases, small flowers and palm bouquets, one under the other. 

An inscribed strip surrounds the text on top and on its sides. The inscription reads counterclockwise, beginning in the right corner:

"שוש/ אשיש/ ב''יי (ביהוה)/ תגל/ נפש/ באלהי / כי הלבישני/ בגדי/ ישע/ מעיל/ צדקה/ יעטני/ כחתן/ יכהן/ פאר/ וככלה/ תעדה/ כליה/ כי/ כארץ/ תוציא/ צמחה/ וכו'" (ישעיה סא:י -יא).

"I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud…" (Isa. 62:10-11).

The Zodiac signs band is decorated with interlacing foliate scrolls framing the signs alternating with a flower, four signs on top and below and two on the sides arranged chronologically, and read counterclockwise. Starting on the top right corner with the sign of the month of Nisan, the Lamb (Aries) is depicted as a sheep; the sign of Iyar is a horned Bull; Sivan is Twins (Gemini) represented as naked embracing boy and girl with crossed legs (fig. 1);

Cancer is the sign of Tamuz. On the left column are the lion (Leo) of Av, revealing its tongue and the Virgin (Virgo) of Elul is a woman riding a unicorn with a flower in her hair (fig. 2; see: Remarks: no. 2).


Fig. 1. Gemini, the sign of Sivan.

Fig. 2. Virgo, the sign of Elul.

Fig. 3. Sagittarius, the sign of Kislev.

Fig. 4. Aquarius, the sign of Shevat.


In the lower row are the Scales (Libra) of Tishrei, as balanced scales; Scorpion of Heshvan; Bow (Sagittarius) of Kislev (fig. 3), features a Centaur holding a bow; Kid (Capricorn) the symbol of Tevet is a goat. In the right column are the Bucket (Aquarius) of Shevat, depicted as a man holding a vessel in each hand and water pouring out of them (fig. 4); the Fish (Pisces) of Adar, as two inverted fish, connected by a rope. Four medallions are set in the four corners of this band, each with one word forming a verse from Proverbs:

"מצא/ אשה/ מצא/ טוב" (משלי יח: כב).

"Who so findeth a wife findeth a good thing" (Prov. 19:22).


A rectangular panel surmounts the main part, decorated with a knotted ribbon, symbolizing endless love. It is inscribed:

 "צרור המר/ דודי לי."

"My beloved to me is a bundle (zeror) of myrrh" (Songs. 1:13; fig. 5; see: Remarks: no. 3). The knot is flanked by two vases with two open flowers and by two facing birds. 

Fig. 5. The knot of myrrh


A narrow band frames the main rectangle, inscribed with various verses starting at the top:

"ויתן/ לך/ האלהים/ מטל/ השמים/ ומשמני/ הארץ/ ורב/ דגן/ ותירש." (בראשית כז:כט)

"Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine" (Gen. 27:28)

The ketubbah and the top rectangle are surrounded by an inscribed band on both sides and bottom, starting at the upper right corner:

"ואמרו כל העם אשר בשער והזקנים עדים יתן יי את האשה הבאה אל ביתך/ כרחל וכלאה אשר בנו שתיהן את בית ישראל ועשה חיל/ באפרתה וקרא שם בבית לחם: ויהי ביתך כבית פרץ אשר ילדה תמר ליהוד' וכו'." (רות ד:יא-יב)

"And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders said, we are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house ofIsrael: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Beth-Lehem. And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bore untoJudah…" (Ruth 4:11-12).

The family emblem of Finzi, enclosed within an oval shield is depicted in the centre of the trapezoid top, and features a rampant lion, revealing its tongue, turning left and holding a branch (see: Remarks: no. 4). Two branches with leaves and various flowers grow symmetrically from the medallion, while a crown adorns it and is flanked by an inscribed ribbon:

"אשת חיל/ עטרת בעלה" (משלי יב:מט)

"A capable wife is a crown for her husband" (Prov. 12:49)


Fig. 6. The family emblem of Finzi.


The emblem surrounded by various flowers is flanked by a display script:

"בסימנא טבא"

"With a good omen."

A paragraph was added to the lower left margins, after the wedding, testifying that the bride was found to have been a virgin:

"גן נעול מעיין חתום." (שיר השירים ד:יב)

"A Garden enclosed is (my sister, my spouse); a spring shut up, a fountain sealed" (Songs. 4:12), signed by few additional witnesses. 


Fig.7. Aparagraph testifying that the bride was found to have been a virgin.

Ketubbah | Unknown
Object Detail
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Unknown (Unknown)
Historical Origin
Community type
Unknown |
Unknown |
Period Detail
Documentation / Research project
Material / Technique
Paint parchment
Colours: blue, red and gold
Sephardi Cursive script
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Construction material
590 mm (overall), 735 mm (top)
Panel Measurements
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
Textual Content
Unknown |
Languages of inscription
Shape / Form
This ketubbah is typical in its decoration program and visual components to Marriage contracts made in the Veneto region, and especially in Venice (see: Sabar, Ketubbah, pp. 87-88, 184- 189, 257-258). The Italian influence is also apparent in the Italian family names of the bride and groom; Finzi and Picerillo and the emblem of the Finzi family. However, the horseshoe arch enclosing the text and the ornamentations in the spandrels are of local Greek origin. The text also attests to the Romaniot rite written in one column, and comprises a special obligation declared by the bride for maintaining her purity and ritual cleanliness, according to Jewish law; in addition, the groom is required not to divorce her or marry another woman (see also: Remarks: no. 1).
Number of Lines
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Façade (main)
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 Series
Coin Ruler
Coin Year
Scribal Notes
Trade Mark
Decoration Program
Summary and Remarks
  1. This ketubbah is typical in its decoration program and visual components to ketubbot made in the Veneto region, and especially in Venice of the eighteenth century onward (see: Sabar, Ketubbah, pp. 184-189; 257-258). The arch- shaped parchment enclosing the emblem of the Finzi family, and the symbol of love, represented as a knotted myrrh (zror ha-mor), are some of the characteristic elements of the Venetian visual tradition, along with the Zodiac signs, framing the text. A contract very similar to the above described contract is the ketubbah with a cut out text, originated in the Veneto region in the early 1700s, now part of the Klau Library (Sabar, Ketubbah, p. 231, fig. 148). Another example is the ketubbah in the Lipshutz Collection (34.10), made in Corfu in 1714 where  the text column is divided into two, including the tena'im (conditions) as customary in the Sephardi rite (Sabar, Ketubbah, pp. 259-60, fig. 164).
    However, in our ketubbah, the horseshoe arch enclosing the text, and the ornamentations in the spandrels are of local Greek origin (for similar arches see: ketubbah, Ioannina, 1787, Jerusalem, National and University Library, no. 0150868). So is the text written in one column, and attests to the Romaniot rite known as Minhag Corfu (the rite of Corfu). This includes a unique clause pronounced by the bride who promises: "to honor him and serve him in cleanliness and purity, as decent and modest Jewish women…" (lines 12-13). An additional textual component typical to Greek Romaniot ketubbot is the double dating to the Creation and to the destruction of the Second Temple (mistakenly here considered to be 68 AD, see: Sabar, Ketubbah, pp. 236; 257-258).
  2. The sign of Virgo is derived from the traditional depiction of the Virgin Mary, holding a lily and riding the unicorn as her attributes.  
  3. The inscription "knot of myrrh" (zeror ha-mor; Songs. 1:13), associates the image of the knot with a biblical idea of courtship and love, and it was adopted into an accepted pictorial symbol of endless love in Venetian ketubbot (Sabar, Ketubbah, p. 74).
  4. For the Finzi family emblem, see: Sabar, Ketubbah, fig. 25, pp. 87-88; fig. 32, p. 94; fig. 56, pp. 122-124.
Suggested Reconsdivuction
Main Surveys & Excavations
- Roth, Cecil. "Stemmi Di Famigilie Ebraiche Italiane." In Scritti in Memoria Di Leone Carpi, Fondazione Sally Mayer, Scuola Superiore di Studi Ebraici. Milano: Gerusalemme, 1967. In Italian. - Sabar, Shalom. Ketubbah: Jewish Marriage Contracts of the Hebrew Union College, Skirball Museum and Klau Library, a Philip and Muriel Berman ed. Philadelphia, New York: The Jewish Publication Society, 1990.
Short Name
Full Name
Einat Ron, Ariella Amar | 08.01
Author of description
Irina Chernetsky, Ariella Amar | 04.03; 07.07
Architectural Drawings
Computer Reconstruction
Section Head
Ariella Amar | 09.07
Language Editor
Judith Cardozo | 09.07
Negative/Photo. No.