AUCTION 7 | Tuesday, June 22nd, 1999 at 1:00
Fine Judaica: Books, Manuscripts and Works of Art The Property of Various Owners

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Lot 622


Marriage Contract Designed by Zemach Davidson of Utica. Ink and watercolor on paper. Aschkenazi square and rabbinic Hebrew scripts. A fascinating assenblage of decorative and symbolic elements. Text below arc flanked by columns supporting clock-faces indicating the hour of 4:00, perhaps alluding to the birth of one of the nuptial pair, or more probably the time of the Marriage Ceremony. Above are clasped hands symbolizing unity and fidelity Small tear at upper edge, upper left corner repaired on verso, lower portion below witness signatures, repaired with loss marginal chips. 195x250 mm

Utica, New York: 1st Nissan, 1857

Est: $10,000 - $12,000
One of the Very Earliest Illuminated Marriage Contracts from the United States. A Uniquely American Design. Organized and illustrated in an imaginative manner, quite dis-similar to the European Ketuboth of the time. “It is important to note that (this) artistic contract (was) created among Ashkenazim, who, unlike Sephardim, did not bring with them the tradition of decorating the Ketubah from Europe. This fact only further demonstartes the innovation of (this) Contract.” S. Sabar, Ketubbah: Jewish Marriage Contracts of the Hebrew Union College, Skirball Museum and Klau Library (1990) p.369 One other Kethubah by Davidson, with very similar elements to the present one, is known, although executed six years later. See Jewish Museum Catalogue, The Jewish Heritage in American Folk Art (1984) no. 47 pl.5. Utica, in central New York State consecrated it’s first synagogue in 1848, established by twenty families. By 1871 there were at least 225 Jewish family heads. EJ, XVI col.34