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Obj. ID: 37133
Sacred and Ritual Objects
  Torah finials, Algeria, 1847/48

© Gross Family Collection, Photographer: Bar Hama, Ardon, -

The following description was prepared by William Gross:

The finials evolved from knobs at the upper end of the staves (Atzei Chaim) on which the Torah scroll is wound. Since the shape of the spherical finial recalled that of a fruit, it was called a tappu'aḥ, "apple," among the Jews of Spain and in the Sephardi Diaspora, and a rimmon, "pomegranate," in all other communities.

The earliest known reference to Torah finials occurs in a document from 1159, found in the Cairo Genizah, from which we learn that by the 12th century finials were already being made of silver and had bells. Around the same time, Maimonides mentions finials in the Mishneh Torah (Hilkhot Sefer Torah 10:4). Despite the variations on the spherical shape which developed over the centuries and the addition of small bells around the main body of the finial, the spherical, fruit-like form was the basic model for the design of finials in Oriental and European communities.

A most significant variation appeared in 15th-century Spain, Italy, and Germany, where the shape of finials was influenced by that of various objects of church ritual, whose design often incorporated architectural motifs, The resulting tower-like structure, which seems to have appeared around the same time in different parts of Europe, became the main type of finial in 18th-century Germany and Italy, as well as Morocco, brought there by Jews expelled from Spain.

Another example of the phenomenon in certain Rimmonim from North Africa where each of the two pieces of a pair were made by different craftsmen, each of whom signed his work. This pair is further distinguished by the fact that the main body is composed of elements made at different times as well. This seems to be the early form of Rimmonim in Algeria, and another early pair is in the Jewish museum in Paris.

Inscription:

Rimmon A: Soul and spirit of the departed, precious Isaac son of Abraham Abbou, Gabbai. Soul and spirit of the departed, precious David son of Eliahu Hadjadj, Gabbai. May by the artisan Shalom Hadjadj, May the Lord protect him. Amram son of Mordechai Carcenti ((5)608 [1847/48]

Rimmon B: Soul and spirit of the departed, precious Shelomo son of Eliahu Seltan, Baggai. The departed, Precious R. Yehuda son of Joseph......, Gabbai, .... Made by the artisan Hayyim Saada, Ma6y the Lord protect him. Moseh... Masoud Levi, Moshe Chiche

12 image(s)

sub-set tree:

Name/Title
Torah finials | Unknown
Object Detail
Monument Setting
Unknown
Date
1847/48
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
Silver, Cut, Repuosse, Punched, Cast, Soldered
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Density
Colors
Construction material
Measurements
Height: 40.2 cm, Width: 8.2 cm Weight: 617 g, 532 g
Height
Length
Width
Depth
Circumference
Thickness
Diameter
Weight
Axis
Panel Measurements
Condition
Extant
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
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
Decoration Program
Summary and Remarks
Suggested Reconsdivuction
History/Provenance
Main Surveys & Excavations
Bibliography
Short Name
Full Name
Volume
Page
Type
Documenter
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Author of description
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Architectural Drawings
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Computer Reconstruction
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Section Head
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Language Editor
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Donor
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Negative/Photo. No.