A VERY RARE GERMAN SILVER CIRCUMCISION FLASK, INSCRIBED EMDEN, DATED 1621-22
engraved on one side with scene of a Circumcision in an interior, with four adult figures in rich clothes, the mohel entering the door at left with a knife in his hand, greeted by the mother and father, the sandak seated in an impressive chair, the child on his lap, and a flagon in the foreground, the other side with Hebrew inscription, on four ball feet, crouching lion and shield stopper connected by a chain
height 3 1/8 in.
pushed in slighly on sides, bruise at one corner and light wear to engraving, double scratch at top of scene, otherwise good, very rare
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
The Hebrew inscription reads, “Kalonymus bar Moses Abraham, of blessed memory, 382 [1621-1622], Emden.”
Jews have been living in the Northern German city of Emden since at least the sixteenth century. Though their numbers were never large -- six families in 1589, sixteen in 1613, twenty-one in 1624, ninety-eight in 1741, etc. -- they were strong enough to support a rabbi beginning in the seventeenth century. At the time, Emden was a free government city under the protection of the Dutch Republic, which meant that transplanted Portuguese conversos could revert to their ancestral Jewish faith without fear of retribution by the Inquisition. In addition to their right to practice the Jewish religion openly, this mixed Ashkenazic and Sephardic community also enjoyed certain trade and economic freedoms, including the right to own houses and land.