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Obj. ID: 45448
Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts
  Ilan Aroch, Morocco, circa 1900

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

The following description was prepared by William Gross:

 

Kabbalistic diagrams resembling Porphyrian trees have been known at least since the sixteenth century as “Ilanot” [Heb. pl. Arborae; sing. "Ilan"]. [First such reference known to me is in the work of Guillaume Postel, who refers to "Ilanoth" as a genre of rabbinic literature.] Ilanot constitute visual representations of kabbalistic cosmologies from the relatively simpler forms of the thirteenth century to the far more complex and ramified systems in Lurianic Kabbalah from the sixteenth century onward. The increasing complexity of cosmic trees between the thirteenth and eighteenth centuries directly reflects the exponential ramification of kabbalistic theosophy that took place over those centuries. Given the overwhelmingly visio-spacial conceptions of the divine in its evolutionary “becoming” in these mystical traditions, Ilanot could serve as cosmic maps. This divine cartography aspired to capture the syncronic interrelations between the various facets of the godhead and creation as well as their diachronic, evolving emergence.

                                   

                                    What’s an Ilan? Any synoptic diagrammatic presentation of kabbalistic cosmology. The basic graphical forms could range from the arboreal to the boldly anthropomorphic. Lurianic Ilanot, in their lengthy and complex presentations, often feature both, as well as spreadsheet-like tables. The iconic decadal tree is an Ilan, as is the intricately Baroque Hammerschlag Ilan. Diagrams expressing particular concepts within a larger framework, such as the illustrations that frequently accompany certain cosmogonic discussions in the Lurianic corpus, would doubtfully have been called ilanot by anyone. However simple or complex the pictorial-diagrammatic features of an Ilan, extensive textual material is frequently embedded in and around the geometrical forms. The texts may be paraphrastic chapter headings, original compositions, or the study notes of a student. Their connection to the pictorial features alongside which they appear is usually clear, with the text providing a verbal key to the quality or process depicted graphically. That said, in complex Ilanot, simple keying gives way to more complex and even inscrutable connections. Indeed, these manuscripts demand to be treated as “integrated systems of communication” that raise “questions about how verbal and visual patterns of meaning were constructed, combined, and modified.”

                                   

                                    The Ilan Aroch is a scroll that was prepared by some scholars of the kabbalah, apparently as a sort of guide to their studies of the discipline.  These scrolls are exceedingly rare in a large size. But, toward the end of the 19th century, these scrolls were prepared in miniature as well. But they were used not as a scholarly guide, but as practical kabbalah - an amulet. These scrolls, often put into a silver case, lost their original meaning and became simply a means of warding off evil. Such amuletic scrolls were prepared from a common form and are almost always nearly identical, even if with a few features of the larger form. This particular example is wider than most and more elaborate in the details of the ilan portrayed. This scroll was written in Morocco on goat skin in four sections that are partly glued and partly sewn together.

Summary and Remarks

13 image(s)

sub-set tree:

Name/Title
| Unknown
Object Detail
Monument Setting
Unknown
Date
circa 1900
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Unknown
Origin
Historical Origin
Unknown
Community type
Unknown |
Congregation
Unknown
Location
Unknown |
Site
Unknown
School/Style
Unknown|
Period
Unknown
Period Detail
Collection
Documentation / Research project
Unknown
Iconographical Subject
Textual Content
Unknown |
Languages of inscription
Unknown
Type of grave
Unknown
Material/Technique
Parchment, Ink, Written, Illustrated
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Density
Colors
Construction material
Measurements
Length: 104.6 cm, Width: 7.8 cm
Height
Length
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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
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
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Signature
Colophon
Scribal Notes
Watermark
Hallmark
Group
Group
Group
Group
Group
Trade Mark
Binding
Decoration Program
Suggested Reconsdivuction
History/Provenance
Main Surveys & Excavations
Sources
Type
Documenter
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Author of description
William Gross |
Architectural Drawings
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Computer Reconstruction
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Section Head
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Language Editor
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Donor
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Negative/Photo. No.
The following information on this monument will be completed:
Unknown |