Found in Southern Morocco, ca. 18th century CE. Scribed on leather parchment in beautiful black calligraphic letters, a Hebrew Torah Scroll of the Pentateuch - the first five books of the Old Testament. In concordance with Jewish law, a Sefer Torah such as this includes the Hebrew text of the Five Books of Moses handwritten on animal parchment with a quill and ink. The parchment of the scroll, the sinew used to stitch the panels together, and the quill pen used must come from ritually cleaned Kosher animals. According to the Talmud - the oral laws of Judaism - the parchment must be treated with salt, flour, and m'afatsim (made with wasp enzyme and tree bark) to be made Kosher. The current owners were told that this scroll was possibly written on either gazelle or deer parchment. The Hebrew lettering is remarkably consistent - likely written by a single scribe. Traditionally, it could take a single scribe up to a year and a half to complete. Size: each column of written text is 7.25" W x 19.5" H (18.4 cm x 49.5 cm), of course the entire length is quite extensive.
Just how or from where this scroll came to Southern Morocco is unclear, but we do know that thousands of people journeyed and settled there from numerous countries. Moroccan Jews had formed an ancient community, and interestingly, prior to the founding of Israel in 1948, Morocco had the largest Jewish population in the Muslim world - numbering approximately 250,000 to 350,000. The current owners of this Torah Scroll were told that it was passed down and cared for by several generations - and that it is about 300 years old.
Provenance: private Davis collection, Houston, Texas, USA
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There are a few small holes in the parchment, some tears to edges, crease marks, and repairs with visible cracks to the wood on one of the handles. Both handles show age wear. The parchment has also darkened with age. Most stitches remain intact.