AUCTION 56 | Thursday, December 06th, 2012 at 1:00
Magnificent Judaica: From the Collection of the Jewish Historial Society of England

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Lot 6

Est: $30,000 - $40,000
Hamburg, 18th-century. Of tower form, the two-tiered square container is pierced with elaborate foliate motifs with four pennants on twisted staffs set one on each corner. The main portion of the container has a hinged door used to deliver the spice and the pierced elements in the body would have allowed the scent of the spices to emanate. Three cast figures are set on the first level of the tower, holding accouterments related to the Havdalah ceremony; a fourth figure appears to be missing. The base of the spice tower echoes the decoration of the main body with chased floral motifs. The spire is pierced with architectural and geometrical designs, including diamonds, eight-pointed stars, circles, and arched windows with depictions of bells. Additional engraved and chased details further evoke the belfry of a tower. The spire is set on four silver balls and surmounted by a pennant engraved with three-sectioned leaves. Marked: HHK on cast foot. Height: 14 inches (37.7 cm). This spice tower contains several elements commonly found in examples produced in early modern Germany: Cast figures, spherical ornaments, elongated pedestals and pierced metalwork and can be seen in spice towers from centers such as Nuremburg and Frankfurt am Main produced in the 17th and 18th centuries. “The use of figures on tower-form spiceboxes was possibly an influence of automata - animated figures originally associated with clocks but eventually in demand as table ornaments.” See Israel Museum Catalogue, Towers of Spice: Tower-Shape Tradition in Havdalah Spiceboxes (1982) p. 46.