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Ketubbah, Kashan, 1840 [perhaps 20th c.]

כתובה - Ms. on vellum

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Details
  • Lot Number 54282
  • Title (English) Ketubbah
  • Title (Hebrew) כתובה
  • Note Ms. on vellum
  • City Kashan, Persia
  • Publication Date 1840 [perhaps 20th c.]
  • Estimated Price - Low 1,000
  • Estimated Price - High 2,000

  • Item # 2576009
  • End Date
  • Start Date
Description

Physical Description

One of two or more pp., 280:165 mm., on vellum, creased on folds, fresh colors, framed not examined outside frame.

Of several experts who have viewed the ketubah several contend it’s a later reproduction as the ink is too fresh with no fading of color.  Two or three maintain that it may indeed be original as it had been preserved and properly stored. Consequently this writer offers no age opinion only stating the obvious  - the document is beautiful, very well done, on vellum, ketubah text was written subsequent to painting. All agree the document was written before the mid-20th century.

The present page contains the bride and grooms details only, the mail text of the ketubah is lacking.

 

Detail Description

Ketubah for the marriage of Jekutiel b. Yitzchak with Peninnah b. Shmuel in Kashan, Persia on Friday, 21 Elul 5600. The body of the text is written in block letters in elongated rectangular compartments of illuminated gilt with three lines each. The text is framed by delicate floral patterns of red, blue, orange, gold and green. The upper center carries the tetragrammaton on a gold background with columns on each side. Directly below is the standard verse from Jeremiah 33:11.

KASHAN, city in the central part of Iran. Its industrious people made Kashan prosperous, which also benefited the Jewish inhabitants. The beginning of Jewish settlement in Kashan is unknown but the dialect spoken by the Jews points to their antiquity. The earliest reference to the existence of a Jewish community in Kashan may be found in the colophon of a book of prose written in the year 1805; however, there is no doubt that their earliest presence far predated the 15 century. We know that Kashan was a flourishing city before the Mongol invasion (early 13 century) and, although seriously damaged during the invasion, seems to have been rebuilt. Unlike many cities and towns across Persia populated by Sunni Muslims, Kashan was for the most part Shi'ite. As a result, it did not suffer from the establishment of the Shi'ite Safavid dynasty in the early 16 century, as did other Sunni cities and towns.

However, despite the beauty and prosperity of Kashan, its Jews suffered persecutions. There were several waves of forced conversion in the city. We know of these events from the account by Babai ibn Lutf , who described the suffering of the Persian Jews between the years just before 1613 and early in 1662. The reign of Shah Abbas II was particularly hard. From the beginning of 1657 to the beginning of 1662, Jews throughout the country (including 7,000 Jews of Kashan) were forced to convert to Islam. After seven years of apostasy, the Jews of Kashan were allowed to return to Judaism, thanks to the intervention of a Shi'ite priest, learned Sufi, and great poet Mohammad ibn Mortezā Mohsen Fayz (d. 1680), as well as substantial payments to the ruling authorities in Kashan and Isfahan and a change in local municipal government. According to Babai ben Farhād , Jews of Kashan suffered persecutions around 1730.

Kashan is reputed for its Jewish poets and scholars such as Judah ben Eleazar, Babai ibn Lutf, Babai ibn Farhād, Samuel Pir Ahmad, Sarmad the Sufi (who later embraced Islam), Amina , and others. The missionary Stern was twice in Kashan, in 1850 and 1852. He wrote that there lived in Kashan 150 Jewish families in the midst of 30,000 Muslim inhabitants and, due to the prosperity of the town the general condition of the Jews in Kashan was much better than those of Isfahan. On the other hand, Benjamin II , who was in Kashan about the same time as Stern, claimed that 180 Jewish families lived there in fear. According to Castleman the Jewish community of Kashan consisted of 100 families and most of them were poor. Neumark (1884), who did not visit Kashan, heard that the "plague of Bahaism which afflicted the Jews of Hamadan infected also the Kashani Jews."

According to (1906) there lived in Kashan 2,000 Jews in 130 houses among 50,000 Muslim inhabitants. A Jewish school was founded in Kashan in 1910 by a local philanthropist named Jekutiel. There were 1,380 Jews living in Kashan in 1943 ('Ālam-e Yahud, pp. 379, 472–73). Many of these Jews left Kashan to live in Teheran, London, and Israel. Lord David Alliance, a native of Kashan (b. 1932), who immigrated to London at the age of 17, became one of the greatest textile industrialists in England. At the end of the 20 century, Kashan, which once was called "the Little Jerusalem," ceased to be a dwelling place of Jews.

 

Bibliography:

EJ