Auction 63 - Rare and Important Items

Parchment Ketubah – Elaborate Engraved Border – Amsterdam, 1723 – Signatures of R. Shlomo Ayllon, Rabbi of the Spanish-Portuguese Community in London and Amsterdam

Opening: $9,000
Estimate: $15,000 - $20,000
Sold for: $11,250
Including buyer's premium
Ketubah documenting the marriage of the groom Yosef son of the late Yaakov Teixeira de Mattos, with the bride Yehudit daughter of the late Avraham Chizkiya Nunez Henriques. Amsterdam, Netherlands, 4th Tammuz, [July] 1723. Bearing two signatures of Chacham Shlomo Ayllon, Rabbi of the Spanish-Portuguese community in Amsterdam.
Spanish-Dutch parchment Ketubah, adorned with a high-quality copper engraving: In the right and left margins are two vases containing large bouquets, on which various birds and animals are perched. These are topped by images of a bride and groom in contemporary attire (on the right) and a mother with two children (on the left; an allegory of Caritas [charity]). The text is written in Sephardic script and appears between two rounded pillars entwined with branches, crowned with an arch. On both sides of the arch are two Cherubs holding a drapery bearing the inscription "B'Siman Tov". At the bottom of the engraving is a large Rococo cartouche in which the Tena'im were written.
Two inscriptions in Latin characters appear in the bottom margin - on the left: "27 Adar Seni A° 5453 Yom Sabat Kodes", and on the right: "H. Y. Aboab", referring to the date of the death (27th Adar II 1693) of Chacham Isaac Aboab (da Fonseca, the III), revered rabbi of Amsterdam.
The inspiration for this copper engraving was the design of two Dutch ketubot created in 1648 and in 1654 by the artist and engraver Shalom Mordechai Italia. Shalom Italia, who arrived in Holland from Mantua, was also known for creating two Scrolls of Esther and portraits of Jacob Judah Leon Templo and of Menasseh ben Israel.
At the bottom of the ketubah are the signatures of the groom (in Latin characters) and of the witnesses: "Shlomo son of R. Yaakov Ayllon", "Yaakov ibn Yakar Bondia". The first signatory is Chacham Shlomo Ayllon, Rabbi of the Spanish-Portuguese community in Amsterdam. His signature (together with that of the second witness) appears again at the end of the Tena'im, inscribed in the lower cartouche. The Ketubah and the Tena'im mention the name of the notary who drew up this contract – "the famous notary… Peter Iscabali…".
R. Shlomo Ayllon (ca. 1660-1728), born in Salonika (or Safed), served as emissary of the Safed community in Europe, residing also in Izmir, Turkey and in Livorno. He was later appointed Chacham of the Spanish-Portuguese community (the Marrano community) in London. From there, he moved over to serve as rabbi of the Spanish-Portuguese community in Amsterdam, alongside Chacham Tzvi, then rabbi of the Ashkenazi community. He was suspected of Sabbateanism, resulting in his involvement in polemics on that topic in London and Amsterdam. His rulings and responsa are quoted in halachic books. Some of his writings are extant in manuscript (see enclosed material).
41X34 cm. A few stains. Creases. Minute marginal tears.
1. Ketubbah: Jewish marriage contracts of the Hebrew Union College Skirball Museum and Klau Library, by Shalom Sabar (NY, 1990), pp. 265-270.
2. The Oeuvre of the Jewish Engraver Salom Italia, by Mordechai Narkis, in: Tarbitz, Vol. 25, Issue 4, Tammuz 1956, pp. 441-451; Vol. 26, Issue 1, Tishrei 1956, pp. 87-101.
3. HaKetubah B'Iturim, by David Davidowitz. Tel Aviv: A. Levine-Epstein, 1979, pp. 21-24.
Parchment Manuscripts – Illustrated Manuscripts, Megillot and Single Leaves
Parchment Manuscripts – Illustrated Manuscripts, Megillot and Single Leaves