40 Torah ornament (rimonim)
Ottoman Empire, 1602
copper, embossed, engraved with traces of gilding
Gift of Albert Oser , 1917
This rimonpair from 1602 with inscriptions is the second oldest Torah finial known today in the world. The object is a characteristic product of the Ottoman-Turkish coppersmith’s art, and thus probably an artifact of the Sephardic Jewish tradition. On the top of the pomegranate there is an inscription naming the donor: “Tsvi Hirsch, the son of David, in 362 according to the minor era”, which is an Ashkenazi name, implying that the object was probably used in a place where the two major Jewish traditions, the Sephardic and Ashkenazi met.
According to the inscription on the stalk of the rimon, it belonged to the Sephardic community in Pest. This inscription can be dated to a significantly later date than the actual making of the rimonim, earliest in the 18th century. The spelling of the name of the city Pest changed with time, and based on the spelling of the inscription, it could not have been engraved on the item before the end of the eighteenth century. It was then, at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that Sephardic immigrants appeared in the Jewish community of Pest. For a time, they had their own prayer house and followed their own prayer rites. Based on the engraving, it is likely that the name of the Sephardic community of Pest was engraved only on the occasion of donation, to so preserve the memory of a fading Jewish community.