Auctioneers of Rare Books, Collectibles and Fine Art

Auction 70: September 22nd, 2016

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Lot: 62 RARE AFGHAN SILVER AND WOOD ELIJAH CIRCUMCISION STAFF. Decorative cylindrical wooden rod painted with foliate designs, with silver tiers and surmounted by knob, engraved with Hebrew phrase: “Angel of Circumcision” and “This Holy Staff… In Honor of Elijah the Prophet, the Angel of Circumcision.” Length: 53.5 inches.

19th century. Est: $5,000 - $7,000

-Unique to the Afghan community, the Elijah Staff was placed next to the Chair of Elijah during the circumcision ceremony.
     Afghan custom speaks of the Prophet's fatigue in attending numerous circumcisions and his need of rest, by leaning on his staff during the ceremony. The staff is believed to have great protective and healing powers and is associated with the Biblical story of Elijah reviving the widow's son (I Kings 17:17-24) and the similar episode with the Prophet Elisha (II Kings 4:29).
     See Israel Museum Catalogue, Afghanistan: The Synagogue and Jewish Home (1991) pp. 34-35 and figs. 51 and 52.

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