93 Spice box


Hungarian, 1831

Partially gold plated silver, engrossed, filigree

Deposit of the Jewish community of Nagykanizsa, 1949

One of the outstanding items from among the ritual objects from Nagykanizsa in the collection of the museum is this tall, silver filigree spice box. According to the inscription on the flag, it was made from donations in 1831 for the Charity Society of Kanizsa. Spice boxes used at the conclusion of the Shabbat can have any form, but most common are spice boxes in the form of towers. The appearance and spread of these towers can be traced from the 16th century, their exact form usually resembles architectural elements and styles used in the given region, often copying specific public buildings or even church towers. The popularity of the tower as a form for these spice boxes might be a result of the tower appearing several times in Shabbat liturgy with a positive connotation, as the symbol of divine strength and help. Often there are little flags on top of the towers, to further stress the architectural nature of the towers. The little bells, also a frequent addition, ring when the spice box is moved, thus involving besides smell, yet another sense, and further enhancing the pleasure of the ritual. The little bells also were believed to have a role in keeping away evil spirits.