Home
    Under Reconstruction!
Object Alone

Obj. ID: 37135
Sacred and Ritual Objects
  Torah finials, Morocco, circa 1900

© 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.

Fine metalwork was an almost exclusive Jewish trade in Morocco. There are a wide variety of forms of Rimmonim from Morocco and it seems as if each community in Morocco had its own form. This example of a pair of Rimmonim is crafted with typical North African designs engraved into the sheet silver. The silver is of poor quality, probably indicating an origin in a rural area. The workmanship and motifs indicate the same non-urban origin. The place of the fabrication is probably in the South East area of Morocco, in the area of Tafilalet and Erfoud. On the top is a stylized crescent inside of which is a hamsa, both of which would confer protection against the evil eye on the worshippers who used these finials. The crescent with it skyward facing ends serves to catch, deflect and disperse in multiple directions the power of the evil eye. Hanging from the chains are coins of French origin such as were used in the North African territories.

Of the two main motifs in the decoration, one is a stylized cross, a device against the evil eye, which, with its four outward directions away from a center point in the round shape of an eye, will lead the evil eye to be "cast to the four winds". The other, of course, is the hamsa at the very peak of the object.

4 image(s)

sub-set tree:

Name/Title
Torah finials | Unknown
Object Detail
Date
circa 1900
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, Engraved, Cut
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Density
Colors
Construction material
Measurements
Height: 32.5 cm, Width: 6.5 cm Weight: 238 g, 234 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
|
Author of description
|
Architectural Drawings
|
Computer Reconstruction
|
Section Head
|
Language Editor
|
Donor
|
Negative/Photo. No.