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Keter (Crown), ca. 1800
On vellum.
The crown of the Torah, symbolizing learning, is frequently used as a motif in Jewish ceremonial art. The fourfold version of the crowns on this document represents the most important worldly attainments according to Pirke Avot (The Ethics of the Fathers, 4:17): the crown of Law (the figure of Moses on the right), the crown of royalty (the figure of David on the left), the crown of priesthood (the figure of Aaron in the center), and surpassing them all, the crown of a good name (on the throne above the three). Text in Hebrew, German, and Latin.

The decorations along the borders include the sign of the zodiac with scenes from daily life according to the seasons. The drawings on top in color depict summer and fall; the drawings on the bottom in black and white are of winter and spring.

This document probably was meant to be hung in a synagogue.



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Yale University Library
Nanette Stahl, Judaica Curator
and Judy A. Schiff, Chief Research Archivist,
Manuscripts and Archives, Sterling Memorial Library
All contents copyright (C) 1995
Yale University Library
All rights reserved
URL: http://www.library.yale.edu/exhibition/judaica/