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Obj. ID: 40824  Torah crown, Rhodes, 1814

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

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Name/Title
Torah crown | Unknown
Object
Object Detail
Date
1814
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Unknown (Unknown)
Origin
Historical Origin
Unknown
Community
Location
Unknown |
Site
Unknown
School/Style
Unknown|
Period Detail
Gross Family Collection No.
053.001.004
Material/Technique
Silver, Chased, Engraved
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Density
Colors
Construction material
Measurements
Height: 6.9 cm, Diameter 17 cm Weight: 340 g
Height
Length
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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
Description

The following description was prepared by William Gross:

The earliest Torah ornaments are the Torah crown and the finials mounted on the Torah case or on the staves of the Torah scroll. We first hear of a Torah crown in the 11th century, in a responsum of Hai Gaon concerning the use of a crown for a Torah scroll on Simḥat Torah. The use of the Torah crown is linked in this responsum to the custom of crowning the so-called "*Bridegrooms of the Law," i.e., the persons called up on Simḥat Torah to complete the annual cycle of the Torah reading and to initiate the new cycle. At the time, the Torah crown was an ad hoc object made from various decorative items, such as plants and jewelry. About a hundred years later, fixed crowns, made of silver and used regularly to decorate Torah scrolls in the synagogue, are mentioned in a document from the Cairo *Genizah. Their earliest depiction is in the 14th-century Spanish Sarajevo Haggadah.

Torah crowns are used in almost all communities (the exceptions are Morocco and Yemen), their design being influenced in each locality by local tradition. The onion-shaped or conical crown of the Iraqi-Persian Torah case follows the tradition of the crowns of the Sassanid kings, the last Persian dynasty prior to the Muslim conquest. In Cochin, India, and in Aden, the independent port of Yemen, a tapering dome-like crown developed through which protrude finials mounted on the staves on which the Torah scroll is wound; the crown is not fixed to the case. By the 20th century, the Torah crown in Cochin showed distinct European features. In Eastern Iran, where the Torah had a small crown, the outer sides of the crown lost their spherical shape and became flat dedicatory plaques. Today this crown looks like a pair of flat finials, and only their designation as "crowns" hints at their origin in the Torah crown. The circlet or coronet on the Mediterranean case, which became an integral part of the case, was based on a local medieval crown tradition typified by floral patterns. The European crown is shaped like a floral coronet with arms closing over it. In Eastern Europe, a two- or three-tiered crown developed, inspired by the crown motif on the Torah Ark in this region. In Italy, on the other hand, the Torah crown was a coronet, known in Hebrew as the atarah.

This small tiara form Torah Crown carries a guilloche form decoration with leaves in the center of the ovals. The inscription gives the donation date as 1814, an exceptionally early date for Ottoman ritual silver but one completely in concert with the guilloche decoration. It is, in fact, one of the very earliest dated Ottoman silver objects. The form of a solid silver band is a known form for crowns of the island area, at least for Rhodes. This crown is tied by the design and the workmanship to Rimmonim that are in the collection of The Museum of the Bible in Oklahoma City. The Rimmonim, then, probably carry the same date of origin and these two items were probably used together on the same Sefer Torah.

Inscription: This was donated by Rav Chananiah, the son of the honorable Rav Mordechai, May the Lord sustain him and protect him, the year (5)574 [=1814], May his seed see the length of days

Custom
Contents
Codicology
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Endivances
Location of Torah Ark
Location of Apse
Location of Niche
Location of Reader's Desk
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Temp: Architecture Axis
Arrangement of Seats
Location of Women's Section
Direction Prayer
Direction Toward Jerusalem
Signature
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Scribal Notes
Watermark
Binding
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Summary and Remarks
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Bibliography
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