December 15, 09:26 PM GMT
30,000 - 50,000 USD
An Important Algerian Parcel-Gilt Silver Torah Crown, signed Makhlouf Oznenu, Mascara, dated 1868
with 12 arched panels pierced with scrollwork and centered by filigree bosses, gilt spiral-fluted batons between, crested by carnelian beads, the center with pierced circular panel with gilt Hebrew inscriptions and central urn finial, Hebrew presentation inscription around the base with artist's signature
Diameter 9.5 in. (24 cm)
New York, 1990: The Sephardic Journey, 1492-1992, Yeshiva University Museum, November 13, 1990 – December 31, 1992, pp. 282-83, no. 341 (illus).
On the top, various biblical verses about Israel and the Torah, among others.
Around the lip: “This Torah crown was donated by… Amram Darmon, may his Rock and Redeemer keep him, son of the honorable, venerable sage Rabbi Elijah, may God keep and redeem him, in memory of his father-in-law, the wholesome sage, rabbi, and teacher Rabbi Nissim Arvimi, o.b.m.; and in memory of his grandfather, the benefactor and genius, our teacher who pursued righteousness and lovingkindness, Mordechai ha-Kohen Bakri, may he abide in Eden; and in memory of his mother, the esteemed, modest woman of valor Ranina[?], may she rest honorably. May their souls be bound up in the Bond of Life. The work of the artisan Makhlouf Oznenu[?], may his Rock and Redeemer keep him, in the city of Mascara [Algeria], may God watch over it, in the month of Sivan, in the year 5628 from the Creation of the World .”
Mascara is an inland Algerian city, about 60 miles southeast of the coastal city of Oran. The Jewish community was established in the 15th century and flourishing by the 18th century. In 1835, many of the Jews were massacred and their possessions looted by the troops of Emir Abd el-Kader during his war with France. The survivors, protected by the French army, fled to Mostaganem then Oran, and were sent aid by James de Rothschild in Paris. Families slowly returned to Mascara, and this crown bears witness to the renewed prosperity of the community a generation after these upheavals.