Auctioneers of Rare Books, Manuscripts and Fine Art

Auction 72: March 16th, 2017


(KETHUBAH).
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Lot: 252 (KETHUBAH). Marriage Contract. Uniting David Barukh (1871-1947), son of Yehezkel Ezra Sassoon, with Simhah (1876-1921), daughter of Ezra Avraham. Finely composed in an attractively fluid, neat rabbinic script on vellum. The upper portion, in two panels, comprise a florid blessing for the bridal couple, the subsequent text contains the marriage formula, financial and related obligations appear next, followed by the signatures of the parties and witnesses. Accomplished in ink, silver and gouache. Decorated in vibrant colors, adorned with exotic local flora and fauna, including fish, peacocks, songbirds, and tigers. 23.5 x 14 inches.

7th Adar, Calcutta: 1892. Est: $4,000 - $6,000

-A kethubah linking three exotic communities: India, Burma and Java (Indonesia).
     One of three distinct communities comprising Indian Jewry as a whole, the "Baghdadis," (Jews stemming primarily from Baghdad, Basra and Aleppo, but also from other Arabic speaking parts of the Ottoman Empire) arrived in India in the late 18th century and ultimately formed important Diaspora trading communities in Bombay and Calcutta. Among the most prominent members of the community were the members of the Sassoon family, the "Rothschilds of the East," recognized as one of the wealthiest families in the world, with a merchant empire spanning the continent of Asia.
     The groom, David Barukh Sassoon and his bride Simhah, settled in Rangoon, Burma (Yangon, Myanmar) during the early years of their marriage, part of the wave of Jewish merchants and traders in teak, cotton and rice who were pouring into what was then a part of British India. There they raised a family of five children before Simhah's untimely death in 1921, buried in the Yangon cemetery. An accompanying note to this Kethubah suggests that following David's death in 1945, it was sent to "S. David," in Surabaya, Indonesia, the site of yet another Asian enclave of Baghdadi Jewry. It has been speculated that S. David, may in fact be David Sassoon, grandson of David Barukh and Simhah Sassoon.




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