Skip Navigation

Related Works of ArtShare

Portion of a Synagogue Wall

Portion of a Synagogue Wall

Isfahan, Persia, 16th century
  • Faience tile mosaic
  • 104 1/2 x 181 x 4 1/2 in. (265.4 x 459.7 x 11.4 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Gift of Adele and Harry G. Friedman, Lucy and Henry Moses, Miriam Schaar Schloesinger, Florence Sutro Anspacher, Lucille and Samuel Lemberg, John S. and Florence Lawrence, Louis A. Oresman, and Khalil Rabenou, F 5000
On view

Larger Image

close

Portion of a Synagogue Wall

close

close

Listen


In most Ashkenazi communities, the Torah is dressed in a cloth mantle, decorated with a crown or finials, and stored in a cabinet-style ark when not in use. But these customs are not universal. In some middle-eastern communities, a Torah scroll is housed in a rigid cylindrical case or tik. When not in use, the tikkim may be placed in an ark or in niches in the synagogue wall. This mosaic was once part of a wall in a 16th-century synagogue in the city of Isfahan, Persia (modern-day Iran). The floral designs and Hebrew inscriptions were created from small glazed ceramic tiles that were fitted together like a jigsaw puzzle.

Discuss with students:

  • What do you notice about the decorations on this mosaic? What kinds of designs do you see? What do they remind you of?

  • Do you see any similar designs in the painting by Solomon Alexander Hart? Where?

  • This mosaic is about 15 feet across. How do you think it might have been used?


Torah Case

Torah Case

Samaritan Torah Case (Tik)

Matar Ishmael ha-Ramhi (active mid-16th-early 17th century)
Damascus (Syria), 1568
  • Copper: inlaid with silver
  • 25 1/4 x 8 in. (64.1 x 20.3 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • The H. Ephraim and Mordecai Benguiat Family Collection, S 21
Not on view

Larger Image

close

Torah Case

Samaritan Torah Case (Tik)

close

Samaritan Torah Case (Tik)


Many eastern communities use a hard case, or tik, to house and protect the Torah scroll. A tik can be made of wood, leather, or metal; this example is made of copper, inlaid with silver. It was created for the Samaritan community. Samaritans abide by the the laws of the Torah and believe that they are the true followers of the ancient Israelite religion. A small community of Samaritans still lives and worships in northern Israel, the historical home of the Samaritan people.

Created in the mid-16th century, this tik with floral arabesques reflects the Mamluk style of art that continued to be used in the region even after the Ottoman conquest of Syria in 1516.

Discuss with students:

  • What do you notice about the designs on this object? What do the designs remind you of?

  • How do you think this object was used? What do you see to support your answer?

  • How does this object compare with the Torah covers in Hart's painting?

  • What might be the advantages of a hard tik as opposed to a soft Torah mantle? What might be the disadvantages?