View full screen - View 1 of Lot 63. MINIATURE TORAH SCROLL [19TH CENTURY]  WITH GOLD WOVEN MANTLE AND BINDER AND MINIATURE SILVER-GILT FINIALS, SHIELD, AND POINTER, POSSIBLY DUTCH 1840-1860.
63

MINIATURE TORAH SCROLL [19TH CENTURY] WITH GOLD WOVEN MANTLE AND BINDER AND MINIATURE SILVER-GILT FINIALS, SHIELD, AND POINTER, POSSIBLY DUTCH 1840-1860

Estimate:

80,000

to
- 120,000 USD

MINIATURE TORAH SCROLL [19TH CENTURY] WITH GOLD WOVEN MANTLE AND BINDER AND MINIATURE SILVER-GILT FINIALS, SHIELD, AND POINTER, POSSIBLY DUTCH 1840-1860

MINIATURE TORAH SCROLL [19TH CENTURY] WITH GOLD WOVEN MANTLE AND BINDER AND MINIATURE SILVER-GILT FINIALS, SHIELD, AND POINTER, POSSIBLY DUTCH 1840-1860

Estimate:

80,000

to
- 120,000 USD

Lot sold:

252,000

USD

MINIATURE TORAH SCROLL [19TH CENTURY] WITH GOLD WOVEN MANTLE AND BINDER AND MINIATURE SILVER-GILT FINIALS, SHIELD, AND POINTER, POSSIBLY DUTCH 1840-1860


Scroll of 42 membranes (2 3/4 in. x approx. 28.66 ft.; 70 mm x approx. 8.72 m) made of parchment; written in Sephardic script in black ink with three to eight columns per membrane (membrane widths ranging from approx. 4 to 10 3/8 in.; 102 to 263 mm) (total: 264 columns) and forty-two lines per column; some small later corrections intermittently throughout; horizontally and vertically ruled in hardpoint on the recto; justification of lines via dilation or contraction of letters (average justification: 2 1/8 x 1 1/16 in.; 54 x 27 mm). The Songs of the Sea (Ex. 15:1-19) and of Moses (Deut. 32:1-43) are laid out to look like brickwork (ariah al gabbei levenah and ariah al gabbei ariah, respectively); a variant of the custom of vavei ha-ammudim is observed (see the third column on membrane 22 [shenei ha-se‘irim]); space is sometimes left between the end of one verse and the start of the next one. Slight scattered staining (see, e.g., membranes 15-16); minor creasing on membrane 8; sinews connecting membranes 7-8, 22-23 beginning to loosen at foot. Mounted on chased silver-gilt rollers with gilt or gold filigree discs; partially backed with gold silk. Accompanied by two silver-gilt filigree crowns with ball finials and matching chased staves, come with bells; breastplate with crowned Tablets of the Law flanked by filigree pilasters on chased ground, including a portion plaque compartment with four double-sided inscribed plaques (Shabbat / Shabbat Rosh Hodesh; Rosh Hashanah / Yom Kippur; Sukkot / Shemini Atseret; Passover / Shavuot); gilt Torah pointer chased with scrolls; gold and varicolored silk brocade Torah mantle with matching fringes and a matching Torah binder. The whole assembly housed in a fitted blue morocco fold-top silk-lined case with two brass clasps, slightly worn around the edges.


An exceptionally well executed Torah scroll of minuscule proportions, outfitted with elegant silver-gilt and silk accoutrements.


In order to fulfill the biblical ordinance enjoining every Jew to write a Torah scroll, people of means who are not themselves expert in the laws attaching thereto sometimes sponsor a scribe to write one on their behalf. While most communal scrolls used in synagogues for ritual purposes are large and heavy, their privately-owned cousins tend to be diminutive and portable. This allows their owners not only to store them more easily, but also to transport them from place to place. Naturally, the degree of proficiency required to produce a small scroll like that of the present lot is beyond the ability of all but the most skilled scribes. Torah scrolls of such minute dimensions are thus highly rare and greatly prized.


The present scroll is further distinguished in that its master scribe, possessed of a virtuosic aesthetic sensibility, laid out the text with considerations of symmetry and proportion in mind, even as he attempted to achieve two seemingly contradictory goals: starting each column (with specific, customarily-mandated exceptions) with the conjunctive letter vav, a feature known as vavei ha-ammudim (lit., the hooks of the columns; see Ex. 38:10), and ending each column with the last word of a verse. (Many Yemenites similarly try to end each column in this way.) This remarkable scroll is also accompanied by delicately designed and beautifully preserved miniature appurtenances, the whole ensemble producing a stunning visual effect.


Provenance

Mrs. Solomon D. Sassoon, 16 Hertford Street, Mayfair (#45) (exhibition label on underside of case)


Literature

Anon., Whitechapel Art Gallery Exhibition of Jewish Art and Antiquities Catalogue (Whitechapel: Penny and Hull, 1906), 14 (no. 171).


Joseph Jacobs and Lucien Wolk, Catalogue of the Anglo-Jewish Historical Exhibition, Royal Albert Hall, London, 1887 (London: F. Haes, 1888), 130 (no. 2046).

To request a condition report for this lot, please contact Shaul.Seidlerfeller.consultant@sothebys.com.