Judaica Collection
Ketubah

Images of some of the ketubah found in Yale University's collection


Ketubah : Edirne, Turkey, 1990, October 28.

Marriage contract, manuscript, ink and paint on paper, dated 5th of Marḥeshṿan, 5661(1900) at Adrianopoli. The document has a scalloped top decorated with domes and flowers. The text is written in two columns in separate frames. Above the text are the initial letters of phrases of good wishes for the bridal couple. The letters, scallops and borders are colored with metallic gold paint. Additional floral decorations and repeating stamped patterns fill the borders.

Ketubah : Modena, Italy, 1876 November 19.

Bridegroom: Avraham ʻOvadyah ben Yosef Elʻazar Almansi. Bride: Margalit bat Mazal-Tov Yitsḥaḳ Formigini.

Marriage contract, manuscript, ink and paint on vellum, dated 3rd of Kisleṿ 5637 (1876) at Modena. Above the text is a six-pointed star. In the middle of the text is a sentence in Italian noting the secular date of the evening of November 18th [after the conclusion of the Sabbath]. The text is framed by an inner border of Biblical quotations in honor of the bride and groom written in square Hebrew characters in green and red ink. In the corners are the four words for happiness from the traditional Sheva Berakhot (the seven blessings recited during the marriage ceremony). The outer border consists of a design in the form of a decorative chain. The signatures of the witnesses at the bottom are written in Italian and Hebrew.



Ketubah : Pisa, Italy, 1804, May 15.

Bridegroom: Yosef Ḥayim bar Avraham Bonaṿenṭura. Bride: Dona Ḥanah bat Yeshaʻyah Arbiv.

Marriage contract, manuscript, ink and paint on vellum, dated the fifth of Sivan 5564 (1804 May 15) at Pisa. The two sections of text contain the marriage contract and betrothal conditions (tenaʼim), The two parts are separated by the image of a vine with a flower on the top. The text, written in small cursive letters, is surrounded by borders which include biblical verses relating to the joys of marriage written in large Hebrew block letters. One of the verses concerns the biblical figure of Joseph, which is also the name of the groom (Gen 39:21). There is a gilt stamp on the upper left hand of the ketubah but it is hard to make out what it represents.. The signatures of the groom and the witnesses appear in Italian at the bottom of the document.





Ketubah, Yazd, Iran, June 14, 1827

In Aramaic and Hebrew Bridegroom: Yitshak ben Mordekhai Kohen Bride: Ester bat he-hakham Tsemah Marriage contract, manuscript, ink and paint on paper, dated 19th of fSivan 5587 (1827) at Yazd. Text surrounded by floral border. The upper register of the decoration has a cypress tree in the center with peacocks and flowers on either side. Though the decorations on the ketubah follow the conventions of ketubah illumination in Iran, the art on this ketubah is particularly expert and colorful. The ketubah is signed by seven witnesses with each signature in its own register.





Ketubah : Yazd, Iran, March 1, 1861

In Aramaic, Judeo-Persian and Hebrew Bridegroom: Yeḥezḳel ben ha-zaḳen Yiśraʼel Kats. Bride: Bibi bat Binyamin. Witnesses: Yitsḥak ben Daṿid ; Raḥamim ben Yaʻakov ; and others. Marriage contract, manuscript, ink and paint on paper, dated 19th of Adar 5621 (1861) at Yazd. Text surrounded by floral border. The upper register of the decoration has a cypress tree in the center with peacocks and flowers on either side. Below the main text of the ketubah, is a statement in Judeo-Persian, written in Hebrew cursive characters, which may concern additional gifts given by the groom. The ketubah is signed by six witnesses directly below the text, not within the six cartouches in the bottom border which are blank.





Ketubah. Yazd, Iran, April 18, 1917

In Aramaic, Hebrew, and Judeo-Persian Bridegroom: Rahamim ben Moshe Bride: Rahel bat David Marriage contract, manuscript, ink and paint on paper, dated Tuesday, the 8th [i.e. the 18th?] of Nisan 5677 (1917) at Yazd. The date contains a mistake because the 8th of Nisan falls on a Saturday that year. Perhaps the word asar (ten) was accidently omitted. The text is surrounded by a floral border painted in brown. The writing on the top in bold letters contains blessings for the bride and groom as does the writing in large block letters along the border. Below the main text is a statement in Judeo-Persian, written in Hebrew cursive characters, which may concern additional gifts given by the groom. The ketubah is signed by seven witnesses.

Ketubah : Scandiano, Italy, 1839, October 18.

Marriage contract, manuscript, ink and paint on vellum, dated 10th of Marḥeshṿan 5600 (1839) at Sḳandiʼano. The text is surrounded by a border of Biblical quotations in honor of the bride and groom written in square Hebrew characters. In each corner is one of the four words for joy in the wedding blessings surrounded by micrographic passages with good wishes.

Ketubah : Cairo, Egypt, 1893, November 12.

Marriage contract, manuscript, ink on paper, dated the 3rd of Kisleṿ 5654 (1893) at Elkahra. Around the text is an elaborate archway drawn (or printed?) in gold ink. At the top of the archway are lush foliage and a crown, with vine- and drapery-embellished pillars on either side. "No. 128" is written in the top left corner of the page and two holes are punched on the left side of the page.

Ketubah : Alexandria, Egypt, 1855, March 9.

Marriage contract, manuscript, ink and paint on paper, dated 19th of Adar 5615 (1855) at No Amon. The top of the ketubah is cut in the shape of a scalloped arch. Within the border is a vine of colorful leaves.

Ketubah : Scandiano, Italy, 1839, October 18.

Marriage contract, manuscript, ink and paint on vellum, dated 10th of Marḥeshṿan 5600 (1839) at Sḳandiʼano. The text is surrounded by a border of Biblical quotations in honor of the bride and groom written in square Hebrew characters. In each corner is one of the four words for joy in the wedding blessings surrounded by micrographic passages with good wishes.


Nanette Stahl, Curator of the Yale University Library Judaica Collection;
Matt Russo, website developer.
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Last modified: October 15, 2012.