Ketubot from Iran

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Isfahan, Iran, 1856

Bride: Rahel bat Shelomoh
Groom: Yehezkel ben Mashiah
Thursday, 12 Nisan 5616 (April 17, 1856)
On paper

As with the ketubot from Iran in general, and indeed all ketubot from Muslim countries, the emphasis is not on originality in design but rather on the amplification of tried and true traditions. The artistic conventions of ketubah decoration in Isfahan are all present in this ketubah. Dominating the decorations are two rampant lions flanking a vase that contains a rose. The two lions have a personified sun rising at their backs. The entire document, which is divided into two sections, is decorated with a rich array of flowers trees and birds. The text is found in the lower section flanked by two arches that contain a cypress tree with a bird above it. The lion, the rising personified sun, and the cypress tree are national symbols of Iran and their inclusion in the ketubah in all probability indicates pride of place on the part of the Jewish community of Isfahan, the oldest Jewish community in Iran. The outer frame consists of blessings written in large Hebrew block letters that says: "Under a good sign.light and gladness, honor and dignity, and a mantle of praise, with joy and exultation and continuous singing to the bride and groom." The left side of the border contains Psalm 128:3: "Your wife will be like a fruitful vine in your home; your children like olive plants around your table."

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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