Collections > Judaica > Ketubot > Above My Chiefest Joy > Isfahan, Iran, 1927

Isfahan, Iran, 1927

 

Isfahan, Iran, 1927

 
 

 

The connection to Jerusalem in this ketubah is original and surprising, and is related to the place of the city Isfahan in the Iranian ethos, and specifically the Jews of Isfahan. The Jewish community in the city, one of the oldest in Persia, connects its origins to the foundation of the city during antiquity.

 

During the Safavid dynasty, when Isfahan served as the capital of Persia (1590-), the Jews enjoyed economic and religious prosperity. In order to showcase their antiquity, loyalty, and importance, the Jews of Isfahan used the early symbol of Persian rule: the image of a lion with a sun on its back, usually holding a drawn sword.

 

In ketubot from Isfahan, rather than a lone lion,  a pair of lions is shown (possibly for purposes of symmetry). The two lions pounce toward each other, a half sun bearing the face of a man on their backs. Between the two lions blooms a cypress tree, evidently symbolizing the most beloved figure in Persian literature and folklore  a beautiful, tall young girl who sways like a cypress tree. It is also possible that this is not a cypress tree, but a flame that symbolizes youth and warmth.

 

In general, ketubah illustrators in Isfahan sufficed with the Persian-national symbol of the lion, a symbol that also received the stamp of approval from the modern Iranian government (it graces Iran's official documents such as stamps, coins and the national flag).

 

However, with the rise of the Zionist Movement in Iran and the expression of the longing for Eretz Yisrael and Jerusalem, a new and more relevant national symbol was added to the Persian national symbol: the Star of David, with the word "Zion" inside. In the Jewish east this became the most widespread symbol of Jerusalem and it often also appeared on artifacts and buildings that were created in the Old Settlement in Eretz Yisrael by Jewish artists from Islamic lands, mostly from Iran (such as in the works of the folk artist, Moshe Shah Mizrachi who immigrated to Eretz Yisrael from Teheran during the end of the 19th century). In ketubah no. 510 the symbol of Zion and Jerusalem still appears with the lions, while in ketubah no. 603 the national-Persian symbol is deleted entirely and in its place appear three Stars of David with the word Zion in them.

 

 
 
  

 

איספהאן, איראן, 1927

Aden, Yemen, 1925  Exhibition Home Jerusalem, Israel, 1954 Isfahan, Iran, 1927  

 

 Browse Through Exhibition Items

Isfahan, Iran, 1927, 1933​The connection to Jerusalem in this ketubah is original and surprising and is related to the place of the city Isfahan in the Iranian ethos, in general, and the Jews of Isfahan, specifically. The Jewish community in the city, one of the oldest Jewish Persia, connects its founding to the foundation of the city during antiquity. During the Safavid dynasty, when Isfahan served as the capital of Persia (1590-), the Jews enjoyed economic and religious prosperity. In order to demonstrate their antiquity, loyalty, and importance the Jews of Isfahan used the early symbol of Persian rule: the image of a lion with a sun on its back, in general, holding a drawn sword. In ketubot from Isfahan a pair of lions, rather than a lone lion, is shown (possibly for purposes of symmetry) pouncing toward each other, a half sun, bearing the face of a man, on their backs. Between the two lions, a cypress tree that evidently symbolizes the most beloved figure in Persian literature and folklore- a beautiful, tall young girl, who sways like a cypress tree-appears. It is also possible that this is not a cypress tree, but a flame that symbolizes youth and warmth.

 

 

Isfahan, Iran, 1927, 1933 In general, ketubah illustrators in Isfahan sufficed  with the Persian-national symbol of the lion- a symbol that also received the stamp of approval from the modern Iranian government (it graces Iran's official documents- such as stamps, coins and the national flag). However, with the rise of the Zionist Movement in Iran and the expression of the longing for Eretz Yisrael and Jerusalem a new more relevant national symbol was added to the Persian national symbol: the Star of David, with the word "Zion" inside. In the Jewish east this became the most widespread symbol of Jerusalem and it often also appeared on artifacts and buildings that were created in the Old Settlement in Eretz Yisrael by Jewish artists from Islamic lands, mostly from Iran (such as in the works of the folk artist, Moshe Shah Mizrachi who immigrated to Eretz Yisrael  from Teheran during the end of the 19th century). In ketubah no. 510 the symbol of Zion and Jerusalem still appears with the lions, while in ketubah no. 603 the national-Persian symbol is deleted entirely and in its place, three Stars of David with the word Zion in them appear.