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Lot 106: Italian Torah Ark - Mantua, 1836

Auction 53 - Rare and Important Items

by Kedem Public Auction House Ltd

15 November 2016

Jerusalem, Israel

Live Auction
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  • Italian Torah Ark - Mantua, 1836
  • Italian Torah Ark - Mantua, 1836
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Description: Synagogue Torah Ark. Mantua, Italy, 5596 [1836]. Sawn wood, carved and painted; gilded. Torah Ark, ornamented on the facade and on both sides with rich decorations in floral and vegetal patterns, branches and clusters of grapes. Most of the surface in covered with gold leaves, but some of the decorations are in other colors: the grapes are dark red, the leaves are greenish and the flowers are in a delicate orange color. The symmetric composition of the facade, the depth of carvings, their quality and colors, create a very elaborate and impressive ark. The ark consists of three sections: The base of the ark stands on four legs. A carved dedication in the center, within an oval medallion, on a green background reads: "Ze ha'aron nidvat / Shlomo ben Nissim Rafa / Lichvod HaEl bishnat 5596 / Mantua" [This ark was donated by Shlomo son of Nissim Rafa in honor of G-d in 1836 / Mantua]. A tin-covered notch is sawn in the bottom part (might have been used as a base for a drawer). The central section is shaped as a large rectangular chest with a shelf in the third of its height. Two massive doors close the ark, on the right door – an original locking mechanism (no key) and on the left door (on the lower inner side of the door) - a bolt (the hole into which the lock enters - is blocked). On both sides of the front are two stylized pillars, surmounted by capitals and with bases decorated with vegetal decorations. The interior of the ark is covered with (new) red velvet. In the center of the upper ornamentation, designed as a delicate gable, the Ten Commandments are carved, in stylized letters (decorated with flowers and buttons), on green background, surmounted by the inscription "Vezot HaTorah". Height: 270 cm. Width: 132 cm. Depth: 65 cm. Good overall condition. The ark was professionally restored, and the colors were restored as well. Several breaks with losses, some cracks and defects to paint and wood. Some new wood plaques and screws have been installed in the inside. Velvet cover in the interior is new. Most probably a drawer is lacking from lower part.

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