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Obj. ID: 4002
Sacred and Ritual Objects
  Torah finials, Vienna, 1806

© 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.

This very heavy, solid pair of Torah finials, in Hebrew "Rimmonim", is excellently crafted by the silversmith Franz Lorenz Turinsky, a master silversmith in late 18th and early 19th century Vienna. He made a number of pieces of Torah silver which are found in collections around the world and almost 50 Jewish articles are recorded from his workshop. The earliest piece is a pair of Rimmonim from 1792, in the Eisenberger collection, which is possibly the earliest Viennese Torah ornament after the growth of the Jewish community in Vienna from the second half of the 18th century. Almost identical pairs of Rimmonim from the same year as the present pair are in the Perry collection (Tel Aviv) and the raj collection (Budapest). Massive Torah shields, created in the same year and probably intended to be used as a set with this type of Rimmonim are in the Jewish museum in Vienna and the Gross Family Collection (053.001.060). Other Jewish ritual pieces by this silversmith are found in the Budapest Jewish museum, in the Jewish museum in New York, in the temple museum in Cleveland, and in the Finkelstein collection in Antwerp. The use of the form of the Hapsburg crown is very prominent on the top of these Rimmonim.

14 image(s)

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Name/Title
Torah finials | Unknown
Object Detail
Date
1806
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Historical Origin
Unknown
Community type
Congregation
Unknown
Location
Unknown |
Site
Unknown
School/Style
Unknown|
Period
Unknown
Period Detail
Collection
Documentation / Research project
Unknown
Material/Technique
Silver, Partly Gilt, Repousse, Cast, Rolled
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Density
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Measurements
Height: 37 cm, Diam: 12 cm Weight: 1037 g, 1060 g
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Historical significance: Collective Memory/Folklore
Historical significance: Person
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Architectural Significance: Artistic Decoration
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Languages of inscription
Unknown
Type of grave
Unknown
0
Ornamentation
Custom
Contents
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Direction/Location
Façade (main)
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Location of Apse
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Direction Toward Jerusalem
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Hallmark
Maker - Neuw #157, Kn p. 11, Reitz #947; City/Date - Reitz #P119

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