Obj. ID: 39304 Wimple (Torah binder), Halberstadt, 1611
The following description was prepared by William Gross:
The custom of the Wimpel or Torah Binder stretches back some 500 years at least in the world of classic Ashkenaz, the German speaking lands. The cloth which held the child at the time of his circumcision, almost always of linen, was cut into strips and sewn into a long textile. On this lengthy cloth was embroidered or painted a formulaic inscription, blessing the child and wishing that he grow up to "the Torah, the Chupah and good deeds". The beginnings of the custom were executed on linen cloth with silk embroidery. In the late 18th century the custom passed to painting on the textile with substantial illustration, although late examples of embroidered Wimpels do exist. Wimpels in the Gross Family Collection have their origin from Germany, Denmark, the Czech lands, Luxembourg and Alsace. The Wimpel served as a Torah Binder, being brought to the synagogue for use on the child's first birthday, his Bar Mitzvah and the Shabbat Chatan before his marriage.
One of the oldest Wimpels recorded in existing collections, this example is made with a most fine, delicate linen and beautifully died silk threads, which have retained their original colors. This Wimpel is also unusual in that the name of the city of origin, Halberstadt, is specifically embroidered in the inscription. This seems to have been a local custom, as there are other examples, such as those in the Skirball museum in Los Angeles, on which the city name is mentioned. The seams between the separate pieces of the cloth are beautifully embroidered as well. As in the other very early Wimpel in the Gross Family Collection, 019.014.0 **, the words in the inscriptions sometimes have unusually large spaces between them, unlike the later examples, which are very crowded.
Name: Yosef ben Ya'akov