Jewish Communal Wedding Ring. Italy, 15th Century. 

This ring and the following image of a cofanetto are fifteenth-century domestic objects that exhibit ownership by a bride from a Jewish household. Unlike Rome and other areas, the wedding ring was a critical object of matrimony in 15th century Florence. The ring symbolized the “ultimate evidence of marriage,” (Musaccio). Few rings from this period survive as a result of being lost or melted down. This ring is typical of Jewish wedding rings from this period with an architectural motif and letter or words signifying “Mazel Tov,” (good luck).

Cofanetto (Casket), Jeshurum Tober. Northern Italy, 15th Century. Jerusalem, The Israel Museum. 

The mistress of a Jewish home owned this casket. It was likely intended to hold keys for the linen chests. The front represents three females performing laws specific for Jewish women: the separation of dough, immersion in a’mikveh’ or ritual bath, and lighting the Shabbat lights. A scroll with the blessing recited when performing the specific rituals accompany each figure. The top of the casket has eight dial sets labeled with Hebrew letters equivalent to the numbers one through twelve and the name of a type of linen. One dial has the name of the artist below it. The function of this casket was likely related to the prohibition against carrying anything on Shabbat as well as protection against the theft of her linens by using Hebrew characters.

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