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© Center for Jewish Art, Photographer: Unknown,

The flat tulip-shaped finial consists of a shaft and a body. 
The cylindrical tapering shaft is decorated with a net of rhombuses enclosing flowers. The upper and lower borders are encircled by a foliate ring. The shaft is surmounted by a globular capital decorated with a pattern of scales. 
The flat body is inscribed and decorated on both sides; on top is a Star of David enclosing the word Zion, on the front Magen Zion (the shield of Zion), on the back, below the star are depictions of two sites: in front is the Western Wall topped by a palm tree, and flanked by two structures, representing the Temple-site and Solomon's School (Midrash Shlomo). Behind it is a walled city, inscribed "Simeon", representing the city of Shechem (Nablus). Below the inscription on the front is the sign of the tribe Reuben, represented as a rising sun and inscribed "Reuben", while on the back beneath the inscription is the seven-branched menorah (see: Remarks: nos. 1, 2).  
The Hebrew inscriptions are engraved in linear characters. The front is inscribed with Jacob's blessing to Joseph and sons, Ephraim and Manasseh (Gen. 49:22; 48:16; with some misspellings):


"בן פורת יו/סף בן פורת ע/לי אין (עין) (בראשית מט:כב) המל(א)ך הגו/אל  ייתי (אותי) מכל רע/ יברך את הנערים/ ויקר(א) בכם (בהם) שמי ושר (ושם) [אבותי]/ אב/רהם  יצחק וידגו לר(ב) בק/רב הארץ (בראשית מח: טז).

are misspelled, 

The back encloses a dedicatory inscription:

"לעילוי/ נשמת אבא יוסף/ בן מרחי פטירתו כ"ד/ לחודש טבת תשל"ח/ תל אביב ישראל תנצבה (תהא נשמתו צרורה בצרור החיים)/ מנוחתו בגן עדן"


"For the exaltation of the soul of Abba Joseph, Ben Marhi, who passed away on the 24th of the month of Tevet (5)738 (3.1.1978) Tel Aviv, Israel, may his soul be bound in the bond of life, May he rest in Eden."

A band formed by a running almond-shaped (boteh) pattern, frames both inscriptions. Chains are suspended from the body's rim and the globular capital, carrying flattened and slit drop-shaped bells.

 

Remarks:

  1. The rationale for choosing to depict two particular Tribes: Reuben and Simeon, is not clear. We do know that the visual depiction of the signs of the Tribes of Israel appeared in Jewish art, at the end of the nineteenth century, and the beginning of the twentieth, as part of the Zionist movement. A similar phenomenon is seen among the Bukharian and the Mountain Jews (Caucasus), who share common origins and a similar Persian cultural environment. For example see the group of finials from Kubachi in Dagestan (Sc. 477-4). For further reading on the depiction of the Tribes in Jewish Art see: Amar, The Tribes, Lexical Definition; Amar, L'art et L'artiste, 163-197. The Depiction of the Tribes in the Persian Jewish environment, cf. Amar, "Crown, Quill, and Crest" pp. 52 – 53, 62.
  1. The depiction of the Western Wall as a bricked wall flanked by two domes and topped by a palm tree, is a local visual interpretation of the holy site, as was customarily illustrated in Eretz Israel during the nineteenth century. The cypresses were replaced by a palm tree, and the structures, representing Midrash Shlomo and the Temple site, were depicted as two ordinary buildings. A similar depiction, identified and inscribed "כתל מערבי" "Western Wall", is depicted on Afghani ritual objects, made in the same period as two drinking bowls (Hanegbi, Afghanistan,pp.172 – 173, figs. 73, 74). For a similar visual convention see, Fisher, "Omanut ha-me'ah ha- teshah esre, be'eretz Israel" in Omanut ve-umanut, Jerusalem, 1979, pp. 96 – 100.  
  2. The inscriptions on both finials are similar, and are crudely engraved including errors and misspelled words. It seems that the silversmith who engraved the inscriptions copied them without understanding their meaning; the words are at times not divided correctly or the letters are incorrect. These errors may indicate the work of a non-Jewish silversmith or Jewish artisans unfamiliar with the Hebrew language. 
Name/Title
Torah finials | Unknown
Object
Object Detail
Description
Settings
Unknown
Date
1978
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Unknown (Unknown)
Origin
Historical Origin
Unknown
Community type
Congregation
Location
Unknown |
Site
Unknown
School/Style
Unknown|
Period
Unknown
Period Detail
Collection
Documentation / Research project
Unknown
Material/Technique
Material Stucture
cut, hammered
Material Decoration
chased, engraved
Material Bonding
screwed, soldered
Material Inscription
engraved
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
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Density
Colors
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Measurements
Height
Length
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Documented by CJA
Surveyed by CJA
Present Usage
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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
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Summary and Remarks
Suggested Reconsdivuction
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Main Surveys & Excavations
Bibliography
Short Name
Full Name
Volume
Page
Type
Documenter
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Architectural Drawings
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Computer Reconstruction
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Language Editor
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Donor
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Negative/Photo. No.
S115010