Documents: 80, displayed: 61 - 80

Sub-project: Braginsky collection on e-codices

Start: December 2014

Status: In progress

Financed by: René and Susanne Braginsky Foundation

Description: The collection of Hebrew manuscripts of the Zurich collector René Braginsky is generally considered to be one of the largest private collections of Hebrew manuscripts in the world. It also contains a fair number of fine early printed books. The collection does not only contain codices from before and after the invention of printing, but also several hundred illuminated marriage contracts and Esther scrolls. In 2009, some hundred highlights from the collection were curated into a traveling exhibition, which was shown in Amsterdam, New York, Jerusalem, Zurich, and Berlin. Since 2014 e-codices is making documents of the collection online available. The project is generously supported by the René and Susanne Braginsky Foundation.

All Libraries and Collections

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, K49
Parchment · 1 f. · 67.4 x 49.2 cm · Casale Monferrato · 1675
Ketubah (כתובה), Casale [Monferrato], 3 Adar 5435 (1 March 1675)

In the 17th century, the Jewish community of Casale Monferrato had between 500 and 600 members. The widow Giuditta Leonora, daughter of Abraham Segre, and Moses, son of the deceased Isaak Katzighin, the bridal couple named in this marriage contract, both belonged to the wealthiest families of the community. The contract is surrounded by an ornamental frame. The inner oval frame, which contains six gilded rosettes, is decorated with flowers. Its corner segments each contain a large medallion depicting the four Aristotelian elements (air, water, fire and earth) and smaller medallions depicting, in a counterclockwise direction, the twelve Signs of the Zodiac. The outer frame contains gilt knot motifs as a symbol of the eternal “love knot”; the cartouches in the four corners depict allegories of the four seasons. In addition there are representations of the five senses. The tenth cartouche, at the top, intended for family crests, was never filled in. (flu)

Online Since: 10/04/2018

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, K54
Paper · 1 f. · 77 x 54.6 cm · 1833
Ketubah (כתובה), Qirq-Yer (Chufut-Kalé), 29 Adar (=1 Nisan in Rabbinite calendar) 5593 (March 21, 1833)

The Karaite ketubah, unlike the traditional Rabbinite contract, is written entirely in Hebrew and invariably comprises of two parts: shetar nissu’in and shetar ketubah. The Karaite wedding recorded in this ketubah was celebrated in the important community of Qirq-Yer in the Crimean Peninsula (West Ukraine). The two sections of the text are set inside frames painted with gold and surrounded by flowers. In the tradition of many Sephardic, Italian, and Eastern ketubot, initial words are decorated and appropriate biblical passages are included in the inner frame. The dowry list in this ketubah is longer than the marriage deed text in the first section. In accordance with the Karaite custom, many respected witnesses (here 12) were invited to sign the contract. (red)

Online Since: 12/20/2016

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, K55
Parchment · 1 f. · 57 x 45.7 cm · Schechem · 1905
Ketubah (כתובה), Shechem (Nablus), Jumada al-awwal 1323 according to the Islamic calendar, (July/August 1905)

This marriage contract documents the agreements at the betrothal of two Samaritans, Temima, daughter of Isaac, son of ha-Levi Amram, and Abraham, son of Joseph Denufta (ha-Dinfi). Although Samaritans believe only in the Pentateuchand recognize only Moses as prophet, and although the Torah does not mandate that the rights of the wife be protected by a ketubah,the Samaritans adopted thisrabbinic custombased on Exodus 21:9 and 22:6, which mention a kind of dowry. The language of this document is Samaritan Hebrew, written in Samaritan script, reminiscent of ancient Hebrewscript.Reflecting a strict interpretation of the Second Commandment, the decoration of the ketubah is limited to floral and geometric designs in bright colors. (flu)

Online Since: 10/04/2018

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, K68
Parchment · 1 f. · 90.6 x 57.3 cm · Livorno · 1748
Ketubah (כתובה), Livorno, 14 Nisan 5508 (12 April 1748)

The bridal couple mentioned in this marriage contract, Dona Sarah, daughter of Jacob Guttieres Pegna (Peña) and David, son of the late Benjamin Racah (or Raccah), both are members of wealthy families of the Sephardic community of Livorno. As is customary, the ketubah lists the dowry and increment: It consists of a house on the Piazza delle Erbe with a value of 907 piesas, 6 solidos and 10 dinaros da ocho reali di Spagna, plus 150 piesas in cash and an increment valued at half of the dowry. The unusually large ketubah is decorated with interlace design in the style of “love knots”, floral scrolls, a pair of birds and two winged putti supporting a blank cartouche intended for the family emblem. (flu)

Online Since: 10/04/2018

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, K70
Parchment · 1 f. · 72 x 52.1 cm · Massa Carrara · 1765
Ketubah (כתובה), Massa di Carrara, 14 Tischri 5526 (29 September 1765)

This marriage contract between Abraham [Abramo], son of the late Jonathan Judah Finzi, and his bride Ricca, daughter of Gedaliah Senigaglia (Senigallia) names a dowry of 1,800 pezze da ocho reali – 1,200 of which in cash, 300 in gold jewelry, precious stones and pearls, and 300 in clothing and bed linen, and an  increment of 360 pezze. The text is in the lower section of the ketubah, inside a monumental double arch. The upper section depicts azure heavens with tiny gold stars. Seated on clouds is the allegory of Fama, who announces the “good name” of the groom with a fanfare. (flu)

Online Since: 10/04/2018

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, K76
Parchment · 1 f. · 78.6 x 53.2 cm · Padua · 1828
Ketubah (כתובה), Padua, 6 Tammus 5588 (18 June 1828)

As in other ketubot (cf. K69 and K96), here, too, an older frame was reused, one that had been created for a marriage contract 70-80 years earlier. 13 figurative scenes are arranged within an architectural arch; the theme is the biblical story of the wedding of Isaac and Rebecca. The original ketubah may have been created for a bridal couple with these names. The series of scenes begins in the upper right with the Sacrifice of Isaac and continues clockwise with more scenes. At the top Cupid links the two family emblems with a gold ribbon. A „crown of the good name“ tops the scene. (flu)

Online Since: 10/04/2018

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, K86
Parchment · 1 f. · 62.2 x 50.8 cm · Essaouira · 1898
Ketubah (כתובה), Essaouira, 25. Siwan 5658 (15 June 1898)

This ketubah was created in Essaouira by the artist David Nissim Elkaïm (see his initials in Latin letters at the lower left) documents the marriage between Solomon, son of Joshua, son of R. Abraham Makhluf ha-Levi Ben-Susan, and Freha, daughter of Makhluf, son of Masoud, son of Naphtali, grandson of Judah Afriat, both of whom were members of Sephardic families. Numerous characteristics refer to this heritage, such as the writing material (parchment), the status of women, the invocation of God to take revenge for the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, the European style of the decoration of the frame and the Latin monogram of the bride’s name. (flu)

Online Since: 12/14/2018

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, K91
Parchment · 1 f. · 64.5 x 61.7 cm · Bayonne · 1695
Ketubba (כתובה), Bayonne, 11. Tewet 5456 (7 December 1695)

David, son of Daniel Coelho Enriques (or Henriques) and Dona Rachel, daughter of Abraham Enriques Da Costa, were members of a families of religious refugees from Spain and Portugal in the town of Bayonne in Southern France near the Atlantic coast. Like other Sephardic ketubot, their marriage contract does not contain depictions of human figures, which distinguishes them from ones from Italy or Amsterdam. The sharp contrast between dark ink and white parchment, the dots and the hatching give the impression of a copper engraving. The verses, written in elegant, square Sephardic script, contain praises of the bride and groom. (flu)

Online Since: 12/14/2018

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, K94
Parchment · 1 f. · 64.2 x 46.2 cm · Modena · 1722
Ketubah (כתובה), Modena, 12. Cheschwan 5483 (23 October 1722)

In this 1722 marriage contract between Yishai (Jesse) Hay, son of R. Samuel Pesach, and Berakha Tova, daughter of R. Isaiah Modena, the artist persuasively links decorative elements of Italian art with Jewish symbols and motifs. The decoration contains countless biblical quotations in micrographic script with reference to wedding and marriage ideals. (flu)

Online Since: 12/14/2018

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, K96
Parchment · 1 f. · 57 x 46.8 cm · Alessandria · 1759
Ketubah (כתובה), Alessandria, 1. Elul 5519 (24 August 1759)

Like the 1753 ketubah from Padua (K76), this contract makes use of an older frame. The family emblems therefore have no relation to the bridal couple, Nathan Solomon, son of Jacob Samuel le-Veit Montel, and Bella Rosa, daughter of Moses le-Veit Barukh (De Benedetti). It is even possible that the original ketubah is not from Alessandria, but from further away, possibly Lugo or Ancona. The inner decorative frame contains a ribbon of cutout designs glued onto green fabric. The outer frame is painted; it is decorated with fanciful flowering twigs, medallions and vignettes. The side and bottom borders contain the Signs of the Zodiac. (flu)

Online Since: 12/14/2018

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, K99
Parchment · 1 f. · 71 x 48.2 cm · 1648
Ketubah (כתובה), Venice, 14 Tishri 5409 (September 30, 1648)

The lavish decoration of this printed and hand-painted ketubah attests to the high esteem in which this art form was held by the wealthy Sephardim living in the Venice ghetto. The text in this document is divided in two sections, the ketubah proper at the right and the conditions at the left, set within a double arch. The side columns feature additional wedding scenes inspired by Jewish texts. The association between the ideals of marriage from the past with Jewish life in contemporary Italy is further illustrated in the six vignettes that surround the central area containing the emblem of the bridegroom’s family, De Almeda. The frame enclosing the text is dominated by painted Signs of the Zodiac interspersed with plaques containing a wedding poem by the Italian poet and kabbalist, Rabbi Mordecai Dato (1525?-1593?). At the four corners are elaborate geometric designs inscribed with miniscule square writing, which, together with the inscriptions along the frame, present the entire book of the Song of Songs. This border was so admired that it was later imitated throughout the Veneto. (red)

Online Since: 12/20/2016

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, S2
Parchment · 1 f. · 11.4 x ? cm · scroll: Venice?, mid 18th century / case: Ioannina, Greece, second half of the 19th century
Megillat Esther (מגילת אסתר) / Esther Scroll

This mid-eighteen century Italian Esther scroll was most likely printed and hand-colored in Venice. It is kept in a cylindrical case of delicate filigree, ornamented with floral motifs, that is typical of the later and more refined work of Ioannite silversmiths. (red)

Online Since: 12/20/2016

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, S7
Parchment · 1 f. · 9.5 x 243 cm · Alsace · second half of the 18th century
Megillat Esther (מגילת אסתר) / Esther Scroll

The Esther story in this megillah (pl. megillot) isn't presented as an historic drama, but rather as a funny satire. The character of Alsatian Jewish life is captured in the ornamentation of the scroll: the whimsical imagery includes peasant figures in colorful local costume and reflections of folk humor. Lively figures, several shown strolling with walking sticks in hand and others gesturing, are interspersed with human busts, owls, and a gargoyle, while the Hebrew text is arranged within octagonal frames approximately 6 cm high. The few known Alsatian megillot share several distinctive characteristics, such as a bright palette of yellow, red, and green; stocky robust figures; and large vibrant flowers. In this Braginsky Collection Esther scroll, the women wear red or blue garments with yellow corselets laced in front, whereas the men are depicted wearing, amongst others, traditional white ruffs, red or blue jackets with culottes, and a variety of hats. (red)

Online Since: 10/13/2016

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, S8
Parchment · 1 f. · 8 x 88 cm · Italy · Scroll: Italy, 18th century / Case: Venice or Rome, 17th century
Megillat Esther (מגילת אסתר) / Esther Scroll

Jewish ceremonial objects crafted of gold, such as this Esther scroll case, are exceptionally rare since synagogue and personal Judaica objects were usually made of silver or other less precious material. The cylindrical case of this scroll is ornamented with applied filigree. Emerging from a vase at the center is a large naturalistic flowering wine with scrolling stems and blossoms that extend across the case’s decorated surface. Large blossoms support or frame the objects associated with the Holy Temple of Jerusalem. Although these motifs are frequently found on a variety of Italian Jewish ritual metalwork, they do not relate specifically to the Esther story. In addition, the Ten Tablets of the Law are placed on the largest central floral motif, a wreath composed of small flower forms that may suggest sunflowers. There are two similar Esther scroll cases of this type undoubtedly created by the same maker. They have been localized to seventeenth-century Rome or Venice. This undecorated scroll is probably from the 18th century. (red)

Online Since: 03/22/2017

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, S12
Parchment · 1 + 1 f. · 22.2 x 137 cm + 22.8 x 17.4 cm · Italy · around 1775
Megillat Esther (מגילת אסתר) / Esther Scroll

This megillah is embellished with hand-painted, repeated architectural designs. The text is set between alternating straight and spiral marble columns. The Jews of Italy associated twisted columns with those of the Temple of Solomon, which they believed were brought to Rome by Titus and eventually placed in the Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican. In terms of style, this scroll resembles the illuminated ketubot produced in Ferrara and Mantua. Accompanying this scroll is a separate sheet of parchment that, in addition to the benedictions, contains a liturgical hymn, korei megillah, recited by the Jews of Italy. Rabbis disagreed as to whether a scroll may include any extraneous text that is not part of the book of Esther. However, in some communities this led to the practice of creating an unattached sheet featuring the three benedictions traditionally recited prior to the reading of the megillah. (red)

Online Since: 03/22/2017

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, S13
Parchment · 1 f. · 24 x 225 cm · Venice · 1746
Megillat Esther (מגילת אסתר) / Esther Scroll

The border design of this Esther scroll is dominated by a baroque arcade featuring four distinctly patterned columns. The arches are surmounted by a balustrade that supports flowering urns, blank medallions, floral scrollwork, and a variety of birds including a crowned double-headed eagle and a peacock. Scenes from the Esther narrative are positioned beneath each of the nineteen columns of text. The engraved border of this scroll was designed by the Italian scholar, artist, and publisher Francesco Griselini (1717-1787), whose engraved border designs were popular in Italy in the eighteenth century. In these illustrations, Griselini has devoted particular attention to architectural settings and spatial perspective. The artist’s printed signature is found in the lower left corner of each membrane. The last scene, placed under the final arch, is rarely found on illustrated Ester scrolls. It depicts the Messiah riding on a donkey heralding the return of the exiled Jewish people back to Jerusalem. The text of this scroll was penned by the scribe-artist Aryeh Leib ben Daniel. In his inscription, which follows the concluding benedictions, he informs the reader that he wrote this scroll in Venice in the winter of 1746. (red)

Online Since: 03/22/2017

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, S17
Parchment · 1 f. · 27.6 x 227 cm · Amsterdam · around 1675
Megillat Esther (מגילת אסתר) / Esther Scroll

This profusely illustrated Dutch scroll is distinctive for its thirty-eight illustrations drawn in sepia ink. The decoration of the scroll begins with a triumphal arch reminiscent of Roman Triumphal arches constructed for royal festivities throughout Europe from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century. The scroll also contains some unusual representations. One is of Mordecai standing in a room with a wall filled with books. He is portrayed as a scholar, perhaps reflecting a rabbinic tradition that informs us of his remarkable knowledge of seventy languages, which helped him uncover the plot against Ahasuerus. Another striking illustration is the depiction of two merrymaking dwarves dancing and playing stringed instruments in celebration of the Jews’ delivery from destruction. (red)

Online Since: 03/22/2017

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, S24
Parchment · 1 f. · 22.2 x 176 cm · North Germany · around 1750
Megillat Esther (מגילת אסתר) / Esther Scroll

This eighteenth-century megillah was created in Lower Saxony and exemplifies a type of folk art decoration and color palette found in other megillot from this region. The most distinctive image in this scroll is the one depicting the hanging of Haman. Bound in chains, he is suspended from the gallows. A venomous snake, a symbol of evil, encircles the upright support of the gibbet. Below, a double-tailed lion, an allegoric embodiment of the Jewish people, is depicted holding a crowned shield and gazing up at the execution. This Braginsky Collection megillah is one of three similar German scrolls containing distinctive images of Haman hanging. Inscriptions on the opening and closing panels of this scroll indicate that this scroll was owned by Berel the son of Abraham Neumark of Hamburg. (red)

Online Since: 03/22/2017

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, S54
Parchment · 1 f. · 22.8 x 173 cm · [Vienna] · [ca. 1740]
Megillat Esther (מגילת אסתר) / Esther Scroll

This scroll contains one of the most finely executed series of illustrations to be found in decorated megillot (sing. megillah). The highly accomplished artist Wolf Leib Katz Poppers has modeled detailed figures, scenes, and animals with delicate parallel and cross-hatched pen strokes, creating an effect that is strikingly similar to the copperplate engravings of contemporary books. Positioned between a foliate border with animals at the top and a similar one with birds at the bottom, text columns are interspersed with eight elegant full-length characters from the Esther story. Below each of these figures is a small vignette that chronicles the Purim story. It is unusual that the skillfully drawn figures that embellish this scroll are dressed in Ottoman-court clothing. The choice of this type of dress is intriguing, and perhaps the most cogent reason for this combination is that the scroll was produced for a member of a small, affluent community of Turkish Jews who, after 1718, were permitted to live and trade freely in Vienna, while still remaining subjects of the Sultan of Turkey. (red)

Online Since: 10/13/2016

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Zürich, Braginsky Collection, S58
Parchment · 1 f. · 20.2 x 702 cm · India · ca. 1900
Megillat Esther (מגילת אסתר) / Esther Scroll

This Esther scroll, which combines Indian and Western traditions in a unique way, contains twenty elaborately illustrated panels flanking the text columns. The reader is shown surrounded by men wearing fezes and children holding drums used as noisemakers to drawn out the name of Haman. Additionally, a group of five women is portrayed in a separate space above labeled ezrat nashim (woman’s section). The figures in the scroll are depicted in a mixture of contemporary, Western and non-Western clothing, and often are seated in interiors that portray a similar blend of furnishings. Some of the women, including Esther at times, are shown with a Hindu bindi sign on their foreheads. This scroll comes from the collection of the eminent Sassoon family of Baghdadi Jewish descent. It was most likely created for their personal use. The merging of Jewish scribal traditions and Indian artistic design reflects the Sassoon family’s deep involvement in the cultural life of India. (red)

Online Since: 12/20/2016

Documents: 80, displayed: 61 - 80