Ketubah

DEFINITION

In Jewish art tradition, a mariage contract, describing the obligations of the husband and wife. Especially among Sephardim (Jews of Spanish-Portuguese origin), the Ketubah has often been highly ornamented, decorated with intricate and colorful designs. Although many Jewish communities throughout the centuries have decorated their ketubot, Italian Jews during the 17th and 18th centuries stood out for cultivating the art of ketubah illumination. Italian ketubot commonly featured rich floral ornamentation and images from the Bible as well as from Greek and Roman mythology. They often depicted biblical personalities whose names were identical with those of the bride and groom, or they used images to identitfy their individual attributes (virtue, charity, etc.). The symbol of the spread out hands of the high priest denoted that the groom was of the priestly family (Kohen). Among the ketubah's provisions is the exact amount of money to be paid to the bride in the event of her bridegroom's death or of his divorcing her. An alternate spelling is ketubbah.(pr. kə-TUH-bə)The plural form of this Hebrew word is ketubot.Examples:Dutch, Rotterdam, Ketubah, 1648, on parchment, Israel Museum, Jerusalem. See Dutch art.

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