Auction 92 Part 1 Rare and Important Items

Silver Amulet Case Decorated with a Sea-horse – Italy, 18th Century

Opening: $5,000
Estimate: $10,000 - $15,000
Sold for: $10,000
Including buyer's premium

Amulet case. [Italy, 18th century].
Silver (unmarked); cast, repoussé, punched and engraved.
Amulet case, designed as a square box with a removable base plate. Both sides of the case bear the same design, with a central cartouche surrounded by acanthus leaves and topped with a large crown. The Holy Name Shin Dalet Yud is inscribed in the middle of one cartouche. The case is flanked on both sides with tall branches of stylized leaves and flowers; this is reminiscent of the architectural style of Italian amulets from the 17th and 18th centuries (and even earlier), incorporating pillars on each side of the case. A symmetric foliate ornament tops the case, with a sea-horse or another mythological creature at the center (regarding the use of mythological creatures in Italian Judaica, influenced by medieval art, see: Stieglitz collection, item 120). Suspension ring.
Since amulet cases often had Holy Names or kabbalistic letter combinations engraved or soldered on the front or on both sides, over the years they began serving as amulets on their own, even when not containing a parchment manuscript.
A high-quality, unusual type of an Italian amulet case.
For more information, see: Arte nella tradizione ebraica (Milano, 1963); Heinrich Frauberger, Uber alte Kultusgegenstände in Synagogue und Haus (1903), p. 88, fig. 118; Stieglitz collection, item 120.

Height: 7.8 cm, width: 7.8 cm, depth: 2 cm. Good condition. Small holes to bottom of case and to removable plate.

Jewish Ceremonial Art and Various Objects