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A Splendid Tallit Katan, Italy, early 18th century

Auction Closed

December 15, 09:26 PM GMT


20,000 - 30,000 USD

Lot Details


A Splendid Tallit Katan, Italy, early 18th century

A tallit katan (little prayer shawl) is a fringed ritual garment traditionally worn either under or over one’s clothing by Jewish males. At center is a hole large enough for a head to go through, and it also has small holes for tsitsit on each of the four corners. This luxurious textile was likely made for a young boy to wear at a special occasion or celebration, such as his bar mitzvah. Only three other examples of a tallit katan with comparable exquisite workmanship and of such superb quality are known to exist:

1. A tallit katan in the Strauss Collection (#127), dated to the eighteenth century and localized to Italy, presently on long-term loan to the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire du Judaïsme in Paris (#D.98.4.112).

2. A tallit katan in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (#38.1093).

3. A tallit katan in a private collection (sold Sotheby’s New York, December 13, 2006, lot 211).

Physical Description

Sea blue silk satin on one side and salmon colored silk on the other side. Both sides elaborately embroidered with gilt thread (34 x 16 in.; 860 x 405 mm). The border of the neck opening designed with a meandering pattern of pomegranates and floral motifs; borders edged with gold bobbin lace. Each of the four corners has a hole with stitched edge of gilt thread for the tsitsit (fringes). 


Victor Klagsbald, Catalogue raisonné de la collection juive du Musée de Cluny (Paris: Réunion des musées nationaux, 1981), 86-87.

Esther Juhasz, The Jewish Wardrobe: From the Collection of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem (Milan: 5 Continents Editions; Jerusalem: The Israel Museum, 2012), 44-49.