A very attractive example of a traditional Jewish marriage contract, fully manuscript
and richly decorated with fine colours and liquid gold.
The present wedding was celebrated on Friday, the 14th of the month of Nissan, year
5559 of the Jewish calendar (1799), in Ancona, Italy, between Cohen Gershon son of
the late Cohen Elhanan Pirugia, and Yudita Vittoria, daughter of Isaac Joseph Tirani.
Ancona is known to be one of the most prolific centres of Ketubah decoration in Italy.
Jews started settling there around the end of the 10th century and by the mid 14th
century they had become prosperous as an organised community, involved in the
lending and banking businesses. After the city had fallen into the Papal state in 1429,
Pope Martin V tried to develop Ancona as an Italian centre of commerce. In order to
achieve that goal, the Jews were given permission to open banks and lend money with
interest, which attracted immigrants from Germany, Spain, Sicily and Portugal. By 1550
the Jewish population of Ancona numbered about 2,700 individuals. Irrespective of
the radically negative changes in the Vatican’s approach towards the Ancona Jews from
1555, the Jewish population of the province at the time this Ketubah was signed still
amounted to 2,500 individuals.
The Ketubah is a nuptial agreement signed by the groom and presented to the
bride as part of the traditional Jewish wedding ceremony. It formalises the duties and
responsibilities of the groom towards the bride, including some basic obligations such
as sustenance (food and clothing), marital relations and compensation in the event
of divorce. The Ketubah is read aloud during the wedding ceremony, signed by two
witnesses and usually handed to the mother of the bride for safekeeping. Ketubot are
often hung in the home of the couple, as a reminder of their vows and mutual marital
Ink, gouache and liquid gold on vellum, (69 x 45 cm). Framed and glazed.
Stock ID: 93577