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Obj. ID: 37212
Sacred and Ritual Objects
  Torah shield, Ancona, circa 1792

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

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.

This is a special sort of Torah shield used in Italy. It was called a "Half Crown" [Chatzi Keter] and was often used to mark the extra Torah scrolls in the order in which they were to be used on holidays. This one is backed by an iron sheet and is marked for the "Sefer Shelishi", the third scroll. In the Moldovan collection is another such shield donated by the same person and dated to 1791/92, placing this one in Ancona of the late 18th century as well. The donating Alconstantini family was an exceptionally prominent and wealthy family of the Jewish community in Ancona who was the major support for the Jewish Community.

Inscription: Crown of the Law Third Scroll Given By the Revered Gentleman the Honorable Rabbi Shimshon, Son of the Honorable Teacher Avraham Alcostantini, May His Rock and Redeemer Protect Him

3 image(s)

sub-set tree:

Name/Title
Torah shield | Unknown
Object Detail
Date
circa 1792
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
Material/Technique
Silver, Repousse, Cut, Punched
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Density
Colors
Construction material
Measurements
Height: 16.8 cm, Width: 26.5 cm Weight: 366 g
Height
Length
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Panel Measurements
Iconographical Subject
Unknown |
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
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Script
Number of Lines
Ruling
Pricking
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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
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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
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Donor
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Negative/Photo. No.