The double tiered Torah crown consists of a main section and a crest. Each tier is composed of a base and arms (figure 1). The coronet-like base is comprised of a round band topped by wavy edges bearing flowers and scrolls. The band is decorated with two alternating shields and Tables of the Covenant bearing a continuous dedicatory inscription. The inscription is written in square filled letters reading clockwise (figures 2-5): "Donation of Rabbi Menahem Mendel son of Rabbi Moses Judah and Mr. Moses son of Rabbi Dov Lichtenstein to the Society for the Study of Mishnah of the Lithuanian Beit Midrash of Belaia Tserkov' (“Sadeh-Lavan”), the year (5)689 (1909)." Each shield is supported by a pair of rampant, regardant griffins. The Tables of the Covenant are supported by a pair of rampant, regardant lions.
Four medallions are interspersed between the inscriptions. The medallions are read clockwise from the right of figure 3: A bull (figure 6), Noah's Ark as a houseboat with a chimney, a closed door and windows, placed on the water (figure 7). A ram (figure 8) and a fish (figure 9). All the animals face left.
Six tapering concave arms radiate from the base converging at the convex unit which surmounts them. The lower part of each arm is decorated with cartouches containing depictions of: Noah's ark, as a house-boat, similar to the one on figure 7 (figure 10), an elephant (figure 11), blank Tables of the Covenant (figure 12), a swan (figure 13), a fish (figure 14), and a bull (figure 15). All face left and read clockwise. The arms are decorated with scrolls and acanthus leaves. At the top of each arm protrudes a rampant lion whose front legs support the crest. A flower hangs from the crest between each arm. The crest is a spherical crown comprising a round band decorated with rhomboids and dots, surmounted by arms in the shape of acanthus leaves. The arms are capped by a floral disk which is surmounted by a hemispherical apex.
According to the artist's hallmark the Torah crown is dated to the end of the 19th century. The same hallmark appears together with an assay hallmark from Odessa, active in 1883, on other objects from this region, See:IJA 10139. The city hallmark notes a later date, probably a remark hallmark by an assay who was active in Yekaterinoslave.
Similar iconography can be found on two pairs of Torah finials from Odessa from approximately the same period, (244918.doc, 774621.doc). Animal motifs without the Ark also appear on a spice box 921927.doc.
B | Bull (See also Taurus (Bull), Zodiac Sign of Iyyar, Manasseh (Tribes/Sons of Israel))
R | Ram
E | Elephant
T | Tablets of the Law
B | Bird
G | Griffin
O | Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments | Flower
L | Lion
H | Heraldic composition | Supporters | Two lions
H | Heraldic composition | Supporters | Two griffins
N | Noah | Noah, the Flood Story
H | Heraldic composition
The Torah crown is surrounded by medallions bearing scenes of the Flood, Tables of the Covenant, lions, griffins and floral motifs.