The Halpern Judaica Collection: Tradition and Treasure | Part I

The Halpern Judaica Collection: Tradition and Treasure | Part I

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 114. An Important Ketubbah from Casale Monferrato, 1772.

An Important Ketubbah from Casale Monferrato, 1772

Auction Closed

December 15, 09:26 PM GMT


50,000 - 70,000 USD

Lot Details


An Important Ketubbah from Casale Monferrato, 1772

Celebrating the marriage of Meir ben Johanan Solomon (known as Jonah Zalman) and Zipporah bat Simeon Hayyim Levi Morello on Friday, 1 Adar II 5532 (March 6, 1772).

This exquisitely decorated marriage contract records the wedding of members of two of the most important families in the Piedmontese town of Casale Monferrato. The groom, Emilio Meir Vitta Zalman (1756-1820), was the scion of a prominent family of landowners and bankers. He was a lay member of Napoleon’s Sanhedrin, and his son, Giuseppe Raffaele Vitta, was made a baron in 1855 for his contribution to the nation in assisting soldiers wounded in the Crimean War. 

The document is lavishly decorated with a richly colored floral border within which cupids frolic. The family emblems of the groom and bride adorn the ketubbah and appear in ovals at the top right and left of the document. The tapered shape of the parchment’s lower portion is a characteristic feature of ketubbot from Casale Monferrato and gives the document the appearance of a shield. The small but active Italian Jewish community of Casale Monferrato is well known for its synagogue, an architectural jewel of baroque magnificence, as well as for the production of beautiful ceremonial objects. Surprisingly, however, fewer than a dozen decorated ketubbot from seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Casale Monferrato survive, and the present marriage contract is a rare, splendid example of the manner in which the Jews of Piedmont would celebrate their joyous occasions.

Physical Description

Ink and gouache on parchment (34 x 26 in.; 863 x 660 mm). Mounted in a gilt wood frame.


Jay Weinstein, A Collectors’ Guide to Judaica (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1985), 198, 206.