Photo © Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Avshalom Avital
Torah finials
Iraq (?)
1742
Engraved, repoussé, stamped, and gilt silver
H: 26 cm
Extended loan from the collection of René and Susanne Braginsky, Zurich
Accession number: L-B02.001(a-b) ; 147/412
 
 
These unique Torah finials are decorated with symmetrical foliage, lozenges, and a beaded band pattern. Their Hebrew inscription says that they are dedicated to the Torah and must not be sold or redeemed. It also includes the Hebrew date 5502 (1742), which tells us that they are the earliest dated Torah finials known from this area.
The small hamsa (five-fingered hand motif) crowning each finial is inscribed with words commonly adorning Hebrew amulets: on one side there is an acronym for the words "I wait for your deliverance O Lord" (Genesis 49:18), and on the other side, the divine epithet Shaddai.
The finials were previously in the renowned Sassoon Collection in England, a collection built up by David Solomon Sassoon (1882-1942), whose family originated in Iraq and established an economic empire that spanned Asia, the Middle East, and parts of the Western world.

Publications:
The Israel Museum, Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2005

Digital presentation of this object was made possible by: The Ridgefield Foundation, New York, in memory of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir