Celebrating the wedding of Joshua ben Moses Prato and Seda bat Joshua Balanes in Florence on Wednesday, 3 Adar II 5459 (March 4, 1699).
The seventeenth century witnessed the rise of ketubbah decoration in cities throughout Italy, and the present document is the earliest known example of a decorated marriage contract from Florence. Nearly the entire surface of the parchment is embellished with shell gold and a pale green wash, and concentric circles inscribed with biblical verses and blessings enframe the text.
It was customary in ketubbot from other Italian cities such as Venice and Padua to include a depiction of Jerusalem above the text. This is a direct allusion to the biblical verse which mandates that one should “keep Jerusalem in memory even at [one’s] happiest hour” (Ps. 137:6). In this ketubbah, the same result is achieved by the insertion of the word “Jerusalem,” boldly written in monumental Ashkenazic calligraphy, under the elegantly scalloped upper border.
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