From 3 October to 3 December 2017 (in collaboration with Poste Italiane)
The Jewish Museum of Rome will open on October 2nd the exhibition “Concordia maritale. Jewish marriage in Rome ”, which aims to illustrate the religious, legal and social aspects of the Roman Jewish wedding ceremony. The Jewish tradition attributes a central function to marriage: it is thanks to this that the solitude of man is broken and the premises for procreation are created, the first explicit task of the first human couple. In Jewish marriage, which is a real contract between the two spouses, ketubbà, a document with which the husband undertakes to provide his wife with food, clothing and guarantees her a sum of money in case of divorce and widowhood.
At the Jewish Museum of Rome and the Archives of the Jewish Community of Rome, eighty-six splendid marriage contracts (Ketubbot) are preserved in fine parchment of sheep, hand-written and decorated with watercolor, dating back to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, all produced Roman. The art of decorating Jewish marriage contracts found in Rome one of the most developed places in Italy. In the XVIII century the use of enriching the decoration with biblical scenes and symbolic figures that recalled and exalted the feminine virtues and the conjugal unity, according to schemes and models diffused in Rome at that time, developed. It was then customary to add the coats of arms that distinguished the families of the two spouses.
The social value of these documents was very important, through them the families not only manifested their social status, but very often they also celebrated exciting moments of freedom: there are many ketubbots decorated with the colors of the French flag, therefore dating back to the favorable period of Napoleonic domination in Rome, and many are those with the colors of the Italian flag, datable to the period of Emancipation, when with the unification of Italy, and above all with the end of the temporal power of the Popes and the definitive abolition of the ghetto, the Roman Jews were finally equated with their other fellow citizens.
The idea of the exhibition was also born to highlight an important recent donation to the Jewish Museum of a collection of eleven ketubbots, still preserved in the same family for three centuries. Testimony not only of the strong link with tradition, but also of the trust given to the Museum, which has become the treasure chest of Jewish memory in Rome.
The entire collection will be on display, along with a choice among the most beautiful decorated Roman ketubbots already owned by the Jewish community of Rome. The flagship of the exhibition is a splendid Roman ketubbà from 1627, exceptionally lent by the Israel Museum of Jerusalem, which for the first time, after four centuries is part of its original production site.
To better illustrate the magnificence of the ceremony, a chuppah, the wedding canopy was also set up, which represents the cohabitation of the new couple, with the wedding mantles and other ornaments dedicated to the ceremony. The exhibition is enriched with photographic images of period weddings, archival documents, prayer books.