Treasures of Mantua

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Ritual Objects

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Holy Arks

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In Mantua, as in other wealthy Jewish communities, great attention was given to the adornment of Torah scrolls, through the production of gorgeous silver and brocade items created for them. The Torah, the most sacred scripture in the Jewish religion and the most important item in the synagogue, is read during services in synagogues from a Torah Scroll. The high status of the Torah Scroll requires it to be placed in a beautifully crafted and decorated Torah Ark, which acts as a place of safe keeping.
The numerous accessories that adorn a Torah Scroll include beautiful images of regality and holiness. The Scroll, made from parchment, is placed on two cylindrical shaped pieces of wood called atzei haim. To ensure that the Scroll is kept closed, a linen cloth (‘fascia’ in Italian) and a mappah (covering), are placed around the Torah Scroll as an added level of protection.

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