The following description was prepared by William Gross:
Breastplates – ornamental metal plates or shields hung in front of the Torah scroll – are found in all Ashkenazi communities, as well as Italy and Turkey, but designed differently in each community. In most cases the breastplate is made of silver or silver-plated metal. In Italy the breastplate is shaped like a half-coronet and known as the Chatzi-keter, "half-crown." In Turkey, the breastplate is called a Tas, and assumes a variety of shapes – circular, triangular, oval, or even the Star of David. In Western, Central, and Eastern Europe the breastplate is called either Tas or Tziz; its function there is not merely ornamental: it designates which Torah scroll is to be used for the Torah reading on any particular occasion, with interchangeable plaques.
The most notable early breastplates, from 17th-century Germany and Holland, were either square or rectangular, but over time they became rounded and decorative, and bells or small dedicatory plaques were suspended from its lower edge. During this period, the design of breastplates was influenced by that of the Torah Ark and the parokhet (curtain) concealing it, featuring various architectural motifs, the menorah (the seven-branched candelabrum), Moses and Aaron, lions, or Torah crowns.
Ritual objects of this early date are few from this part of Eastern Europe. This is one of the earliest Torah silver ritual objects surviving today. Due to the many tragedies that befell the Jews of this area during the 17th and 18th centuries, very few Jewish objects remain from the period. The use of many animal figures, both real and mythical, the twisted pillars, and the baroque elements place the origin of this Tas in the area of Ukraine.
Inscription: The Holy Sabbath. Belongs to the Beit Hamidrash This Was Donated by the Our Prominent Teacher, the Rabbi Reb Meshil, Son of the Rabbi, Reb Chaim, the Righteous, of Blessed Memory, According to the Order and the Reckoning (5)528 (= 1767/8)