The silver Torah pointer consists of a bar and a pointer. The bar is divided into an upper arm and a forearm by an upper, a middle and a lower joints. The upper arm is flat and has a foliage shape. It is surmounted by a floral upper joint set with tourquise gems.
The bar is divided by a flat floral shaped middle joint. The forearm is flat and straight and is tapering towards the lower joint. The floral lower joint is set by tourquise gems.
The bar bears a dedicatory inscription. Its borders are decorated with foliate pattern. The Torah pointer terminates with a hand.##A narrow bar is attached to the back of the Torah pointer. Its upper edge is folded creating a ring. The inscription is engraved in outline letters, and reads: זה הכסף הקדיש מ' באבא בן באקי לבית הכנ!סת של בלך תנוח צרורה בצרור החיים !This silver was dedicated by Mullah (int.) Baba son of Baqi to the synagogue of Balkh, may [his soul] rest, [may his soul] be bound up in the bond of life!
The following description was prepared by William Gross:
The pointer used by the Torah reader to keep the place is known in European communities as the *yad, "hand," or the eẓba, "finger," and in Sephardi and Eastern communities as the moreh, "pointer," or kulmus, "quill," the former because of its function and the latter because of its shape. Halakhic sources also use the terms moreh or kulmus. The pointer was originally a narrow rod, tapered at the pointing end, usually with a hole at the other end through which a ring or chain could be passed to hang the pointer on the Torah scroll.
The original form of the pointer was preserved in Eastern communities, the differences from one community to another being mainly in length and ornamentation. In certain communities a hand with a pointing finger was added, and accordingly the pointer came to be known as a yad, "hand," or eẓba, "finger." Pointers are made for the most part of silver or silver-plated brass, but in a few European communities they used to be made of wood. In such cases the pointers were carved in the local folk-art style.
The community of Balch, from which this Torah pointer originates, was closely associated with the Jewish communities of Bukhara. The unusual shape of the attractive object is clearly oriental and it is set with blue stones as are sometimes seen in Rimmonim from the area (see exh. cat. "50 Rimmonim", see e.g. 050.001.003). The Jewish communities of Afghanistan, although small in number, produced an impressive number of ritual objects, many of them in forms unique to this area, such as this Torah pointer.
Inscription: This is the silver (Torah pointer) which was dedicated by Chaba(?), son of Baki, to the synagogue of Balkh, may his (soul) rest, bound up in the bond of life