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An Elaborately Illustrated Amulet, Michele Allun, Milan: Vassalli, ca. 1830
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An Elaborately Illustrated Amulet, Michele Allun, Milan: Vassalli, ca. 1830
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An Elaborately Illustrated Amulet, Michele Allun, Milan: Vassalli, ca. 1830
Ink on paper (21 1/4 x 18 5/8 in.; 540 x 475 mm). Beautifully embellished with geometric borders, four biblical vignettes, two enlarged figures of Moses and Aaron, pairs of angels, and numerous texts surrounding a central menorah inscribed with the words of Ps. 67. Foxed; minor damage at center, particularly in menorah panel, repaired; small tears in outer edges repaired; two large dampstains at foot. Matted.
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相關資料

This rare illustrated amulet was created to adorn the walls of Italian Jewish homes and protect their inhabitants. Four biblical scenes are skillfully depicted: Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Cain and Abel, the Binding of Isaac, and the Dream of Jacob. The figures of Moses and Aaron, as well as two pairs of protective angels, are placed between the biblical vignettes. At center is a depiction of the menorah, upon which are superimposed the words of psalm 67. The texts surrounding the menorah include the mystical forty-two-letter name of God derived from the initial letters of the liturgical hymn Anna be-koah, as well as several biblical verses favored by kabbalists.

The artist who designed this elaborate amulet was Michele Allun, the gabbai (sexton) of the Great Ashkenazic Synagogue of Mantua. Allun was born in Morocco but came to Italy in the early nineteenth century. In 1828, he was appointed by Rabbi Joseph Israel ha-Levi, an emissary from Jerusalem, to act as a representative on Ha-Levi’s behalf to small Italian Jewish communities. Allun is also known to us from two other amulets he created, as well as a Hebrew manuscript he authored, Zikkaron li-benei yisra’el, recording events in the Ashkenazic community of Mantua during the years 1831-1833 (NYPL, **P [Ms. Heb. 237]).

After it was completed, Allun’s monumental illustrated amulet was lithographed by Vassalli, a publisher active in Milan between 1828 and 1839. Only four other copies of this extraordinary decorative amulet are known.

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