Photo © Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Yoram Lehmann
Bridal casket (cofanetto)
Northern Italy
Silver, engraved and partly gilt, niello
H: 13, W: 6; L: 6.6 cm
Gift of Astorre Mayer, Milan
Accession number: B51.04.0207 ; 131/030
 
 
On the side of this rare box, the three religious precepts given specifically to women are depicted: separating hallah, immersing in a ritual bath, and lighting Sabbath candles. The box was presented to a woman in honor of her marriage, and was probably designed to hold the keys to clothes chests. Due to the prohibition against carrying anything outdoors on the Sabbath, the keys were placed in this box and the owner wore the tiny key to the box as an ornament. The dials on the lid enabled her to keep track of the assorted tablecloths, sheets, and clothing used in the household.

Publications:
The Jewish World 365 Days, from the Collections of The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York, USA, 2004
The Israel Museum, Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2005
Zalmona, Yigal, ed., The Israel Museum at 40: Masterworks of Beauty and Sanctity, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2005

Exhibition:
Highlights of the Judaica and Jewish Ethnography Collections Online, Israel Museum, Jerusalem

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