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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