Ketubot from Iran

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Yazd, Iran, 1861

Bride: Malka bat Akai?
Groom: Mosheh ben Shemuel
Thursday, 27 Heshvan 5622 (October 31, 1861)
On paper

The text is surrounded by a floral border reminiscent of Persian rug designs. Within the border the document is divided into two registers; the upper register contains two small lions in front of two rising personalized suns. One of the suns is quite small and seems to have lost its rays. There is a cypress tree on either side of the lions. The lion and the rising sun were the national symbols of Iran until the revolution of 1979 that deposed the Shah. They are the dominant decorative feature of ketubot from Isfahan but they also appear on those from Yazd. The cypress tree plays a central role in Iran's most famous gardens. The oldest living cypress in the world is in Iran's Yazd province. Above the lions are two fishes, symbols of fertility. The lower register contains the text written in block letters with the date of the marriage and the terms of the financial settlement added in smaller letters. Below the main text, is a statement in Judeo-Persian, written in Hebrew cursive characters, which most probably concerns additional gifts of the groom to his bride. Below this statement there are cartouches, which include the names of seven witnesses though only two witnesses are actually needed.

A full size, readable image of this Ketubah is available by following this link to the Beinecke's Digital Image Collection

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