The following description was prepared by William Gross:
Such printed textiles were made as souvenirs, as gifts from Jerusalem institutions for their supporters abroad and directly as ritual items. Such cloths are to be found in virtually every country in which Jews reside, having been sent their by institutions or as souvenirs. The iconographic scheme usually centered around images of the Holy Sites with other Jewish symbols. The textiles were printed on a variety of fabrics ranging from simple cotton to silk. They were usually textiles either for the Pesach Seder table or for use on Shabbat and Holidays as challah covers with the appropriate prayers of the Kiddush of that event. The earliest examples, yet from the 19th century, were produced by the famous printers of that period in Jerusalem.
This is among the very earliest printed cloths with illustrations of the Holy places. From the blocks used to depict the Holy places and the Temple implements it is possible to surmise that this was printed by Israel ben Avraham Bak, the first printer in Jerusalem.
Yisrael ben Avraham Bak was born in in1797 in Berdichev, Ukraine. In 1815, he founded a printing press in Berdichev where he published 30 books until the press closed. Finally in 1831 he made Aliyah to the Holy Land and settled in Safed where the following year began Hebrew printing for the first time after 245 years. His press was damaged in both the peasant revolt of 1834 and the earthquake of 1837. The final destruction came with the Druze revolt of 1838, after which Bak left Safed and went to Jerusalem. In 1841 he once again established for the third time a Hebrew press in a different city. This was the first Hebrew press ever in the Holy City of Jerusalem. For 33 years Bak continued to print in Jerusalem, some 130 volumes in all and many single sheet publications, until his death in 1874. In addition to the importance of his printing activity, Bak was also a leader of the Chasidic community and with his son Nisan established the Tiferet Israel synagogue in Jerusalem for Chasidim.
Inscription: Keter Torah
O | Ornamentation: | Full page framed | Full page framed by text
T | Tablets of the Law
T | Tribes/Sons of Israel
E | Eden, Garden of | Tree of Life
H | Holy and other places in the Land of Israel | Holy Tombs | Cave of Machpelah (Tomb of the Patriarchs/Matriarchs)
J | Jerusalem | Sites in Jerusalem: | Western Wall (Kotel) הכותל המערבי
M | Menorah | Menorah with Psalm 67
M | Menorah | Stepping Stone of the Menorah (Kevesh)
S | Sanctuary | Sanctuary Implements | Oil Jar
M | Menorah | Tongs (melkahayim)
H | Holy and other places in the Land of Israel | Holy Tombs | Rachel's Tomb
H | Holy and other places in the Land of Israel | Holy Tombs | Samuel the Prophet, Tomb of
J | Jerusalem | Zion, Holy City עיה'ק ציון