A Silver Torah Crown, Jerusalem, 1910.

A Silver Torah Crown, Jerusalem, 1910.

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An extremely rare and important early 20th century Sefer Torah crown, made in the early days of the illustrious Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts in Jerusalem, made in between the foundation of the school in 1906 and its closing in 1929. The piece is entirely handcrafted of sterling silver (measuring 90-94% in various spots), with parcel gilding. Traditional Yemeni in form, the piece features an exquisite shape, completely formed by panels and rows of filigree work, bezel set with carnelian stones, the lowest edge set with 12 miniature, hand-carved bone medallions representing the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Bedecked with bells, a balustrade, stars of David, the piece also bears the inscription applied wording from Proverbs 3:18, “She is a Tree of Life for those who cling to it, Blessed are they who uphold her.” עץ־חיים היא למחזיקים בה ותמכיה מאשר Marked on the interior with the Bezalel stamp. The Bezalel School was established in 1906 by artist Boris Schatz, as the “Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts” and focused its early efforts on both providing a school of art to Jerusalem, but also in reviving traditional Jewish art forms, melding them with European traditions as well. The school closed in 1929 but reopened in 1935 and remains so today, being the oldest higher education institution in Israel. In the ritual function of the synagogue, the Sefer Torah is ornamented with a fitted vestment and either a silver Torah crown or finials and shield. The use of either associates the Torah with royalty and pronounces its central, sacred place in Jewish life.

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