Recording the marriage of Abraham son of Moses Israel Suasso to Sarah daughter of Aaron de Chaves on Wednesday 11 Sivan 5563 [= June 1, 1803]. The witnesses are Daniel Cohen D'Azevedo (Chief Rabbi of the Portuguese Jewish community) and David Abenhacar Ximenes.
This engraved ketubbah is a superb example of a highly popular style of decorated marriage contracts. The design of this ketubbah is associated with Shalom d'Italia, the most famous Jewish artist of the seventeenth century. In 1648, Shalom d'Italia created two copper-etchings to be used as borders for marriage contracts. Several years later, an anonymous artist copied one of these ketubbot, making only small changes to the original design. This copy was printed in Amsterdam and was used by members of the Sephardic Jewish community throughout Europe and America for over two centuries. Periodically, minor changes were made to the design to update the clothing of the figures.
The text is inscribed within an archway supported by two columns encircled in vines and surmounted by two cherubs holding a cloth inscribed in Hebrew "be-siman tov" (with a good omen). On either side of the text, two large urns support a profusion of flowers interspersed with insects and birds. Above, a depiction of an elegantly attired bridal couple on the right and at left, a woman with two children, an allegorical representation of "charity."
The bride and groom were both members of very wealthy and prominent Portuguese Jewish families in Amsterdam. The text of the ketubbah describes the fathers of the bride and groom as honored leaders and parnassim of the community. Their firstborn son, Moses Israel Suasso also known as Augustus Pieter Lopez Suasso (1804-1877) was a renowned collector of coins and antique furniture. After his death, his wife, Sophia Augusta de Bruyn donated their art and furniture to a foundation which became the basis of the Stedelijk Museum. Originally known as the Suasso Museum, it opened on September 14, 1895.
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