1166 The biblical tradition of the samaritans
2015 sold for $ 162k including premium
Yet, Jews and Samaritans have the same Pentateuch whose texts were certainly collected shortly before they broke. The similarity ends here. The Samaritan liturgy remained Mosaic by rejecting both the rabbinical system and any foreign influence, and the Samaritan script is very close to the Paleo-Hebrew.
The fall of the Kingdom of Israel had definitely ruined the political identification of the Samaritans but their ethnic and religious community, although weakened, survive.
On December 22 in New York, Sotheby's sells a Samaritan scroll, lot 1 in the first auction of the Valmadonna Trust Library. This manuscript 36 cm x 5.60 m consists of ten membranes for a total of 41 columns written in Samaritan majuscule script. The text covers the Genesis and the beginning of Exodus.
Old documents can be dated by the paleographic analysis and by the chronology of variations in vocabulary and spelling. The Samaritans were using colophons. The graphological analysis ensures that the scroll for sale was written by the same scribe who made another specimen whose date on the colophon corresponds to 1166 in our calendar, located at Sarepta in the land of Israel.
The manuscript is incomplete and the remaining parts have some misses and many replacements. In such a condition, this paleographic treasure is announced with a lower estimate of $ 40K.
1270 Inspection of a Sefer Torah
2015 SOLD for $ 310K including premium
This piece made during the thirteenth century of our calendar has deserved such a detailed analysis. At that time, the book or codex composed of an assembly of leaves already supersedes the scroll or sefer for the regular distribution of the Bible. The preparation and writing of a Sefer Torah however meet a strict ritual that is irreplaceable for its formal recitation by the rabbi because it refers to the understanding by the Jews of their original liturgical traditions.
The Torah for sale, 58 cm x 48 m, consists of 86 parchment membranes sewn edge to edge with a total of 257 columns. Four central membranes were replaced less than 400 years ago. The remaining edges of the adjacent membranes show a damage by an unidentified liquid, certainly an ancient act of anti-Jewish vandalism at a time when the document was in an open position.
Radiocarbon dating is applicable to such objects. The result indicates a writing around 1270 of our calendar. This date is fully consistent with the previous paleographic analyzes that had been carried out by comparison with dated Ashkenazi codices.
The multispectral imaging provides in this case an even greater progress. Beyond the perfection sought in its original execution, the scribes of the following centuries desired to modify the shape of the letters and some arrangements in the text to put the Torah in the norm of their time or for Kabbalistic reasons. The modern science separates the first writing and the additions and observes the traces of erasures, offering an appreciation of the successive states of the manuscript.
< 1349 the castilian team
On December 20 in New York, Sotheby's sells a complete Hebrew Bible of great luxury assembled as a codex of 476 folios, lot 191 estimated $ 3,5M.
About one working year had been required for its multi-disciplinary team, from the parchment preparer to the binder. The main scribe writes the text while leaving blank the necessary surface for illuminations and marginal notes. The vowels are added by other scribes with another ink color in a thinner line. A controller ensures the conformance of the text sequence.
The parchment is very bright and regular. The writing is by the same hand throughout the book, unlike the mostly non-figurative illuminations that differ according to the texts. The binding is later.
The features of this book, including its almost square format 24 x 19 cm and the layout of most texts in two columns per page, allow to attribute it to the Castilian workshops in the first half of the fourteenth century. The Islamic influence of some ornaments confirms that the ecumenism of King Alfonso was not lost at that time. This dating is consistent with the year 5127 (1366 CE) inscribed on one page by an early owner.
Please watch through this link the slideshow shared by Sotheby's explaining the characteristics of this magnificent Bible and listing the involved professions. Please also watch here below the video shared by Sotheby's.
The earliest-known complete illuminated Hebrew Bible from Spain to ever appear at auction headlines our sale of Important Judaica on 20 December in #NYC. Click ahead to learn more about this remarkable testament from the Golden Age of medieval Spain: https://t.co/TrtpMJcvGN pic.twitter.com/IT0glZfGWM— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) December 6, 2017
1457-1465 An Illuminated Torah
Maimonides is recognized as the greatest thinker of medieval Judaism. One of his main contributions was to provide a written version of the Torah, meaning the Law. Prepared in fourteen books in Hebrew, this monumental work entitledMishneh Torah (repetition of the Torah) is still used as a reference today.
Two and a half centuries after his death, a beautifully illuminated manuscript copy of the Mishneh Torah was carried out by an Italian workshop. It is dated between 1457 and 1465, a time when Christian book craftsmen already feltthreatened by the progress of the printing press and were accepting new customers. The scribe of the text was a Jew.
Identified as the Frankfurt Mishneh Torah after a long stay in the Jewish community of that city, the work was bound intwo volumes which were separated in the nineteenth century. The first part has become one of the most outstanding pieces of the Hebrew section of the Vatican Library.
The second part was presented to the press in 2010 after being restored by a laboratory of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. It is shown at the top and bottom of the page shared by Vos Iz Neias at that time.
Containing books VII to XIV of the Mishneh Torah, this volume is illustrated with six large and 32 smaller images in splendid colors. It is estimated $ 4.5 million, for sale by Sotheby's in New York on April 29.
POST SALE COMMENT
The manuscript was purchased before the auction jointly by the Israel Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
1710 Liturgical Silverware in the Frankfurt Ghetto
European cities had different practices to persecute Jews. The ghetto is both a severe constraint calling for bullying and a protection by a total isolation. The Jewish ghetto of Frankfurt was able to take advantage of its closedness to maintain a real prosperity at certain times.
This explains why the lamps of the Jewish liturgy of Frankfurt are among the finest Baroque silverware. Their goldsmiths were Christians because Jews were not allowed in their guild.
On April 29 in New York, Sotheby's sells a hanging lamp for the Sabbath, exceptionally tall, 96 cm overall. OfJudenstern type, it consists in three parts with a central tank. It is adorned with many Jewish symbols and decorative motifs.
The main part bears the mark of Johann Adam Boller, master in 1706. It is dated circa 1710, and so would havesurvived the Great Fire of 1711. Some other parts are later.
Coming from the prestigious Steinhardt collection, this very rare lamp is estimated $ 800K. Here is the link to the catalog.
POST SALE COMMENT
Too expensive for a composite piece: unsold.
In the same sale, a crown of Torah in parcel-gilt silver made in Venice circa 1740-1750 was sold for $860K including premium over a lower estimate of $ 300K.
1761-1763 A Silver Sabbath Lamp
The Judaica sale of Sotheby's in New York on December 17 includes at Lot 113 a silver Sabbath lamp made in Augsburg in 1761-1763.
It is a hanging lamp, so an object whose use is similar to the chandeliers.
From its press release of September 8 announcing major sales of end of the year in New York, the auction house insisted on the importance of this piece. It is of the so-called Judenstern form, much more common in brass that in silver. This term describes the star sketch of its four oil fonts. It is relatively high for a piece of silverware (70 cm) and its multi-baluster shape is intricated. It is carved of motifs of flowers and putti.
This lamp made for religious use bears the inscription of presentation of a Jewish dignitary of the court of the prince-bishops of Augsburg. The silversmith is named Gottfried Barterman.
It is estimated 600 K $.