Adenite Torah Crown (Keter)

Torah crowns like this one, with its distinctive mushroom shape, are unique to Aden, a port city at the mouth of the Red Sea.

Unknown Artist

Scholars have proposed several possible sources for this distinctive Torah ornament, including the crown-shaped motifs found in the mystical sefirot trees of Yemenite manuscripts (Ester Muchawsky-Schnapper) and the Indian royal “parasol”-style crown (Bracha Yaniv). The second theory is based on the existence of strong trade and migration ties between the port communities of Aden and Cochin, India, during the period of British rule. A photograph of the ark at the Crater Synagogue in Aden, taken during the course of “Operation Magic Carpet” (1949-50) reveals Torah scrolls with these unique crowns.

Aden, Yemen

Aden is a seaport city in Yemen, located near the eastern approach to the Red Sea (the Gulf of Aden), approximately 170 kilometers (100 miles) east of the strait of Bab-el-Mandeb.

Name: Adenite Torah Crown (Keter)
Artist: Unknown Artist
Origin: Yemen, 19th Century
Medium: Metalwork
Dimensions: 10 9/16 x 13 3/4 in.
Credit: Gift of Maurice Spertus
Catalog Number: 83.50
Asher LibraryThe Jews of the British Crown Colony of Aden: History, Culture, and Ethnic Relations

Reuben Ahroni (Leiden; New York: E.J. Brill, 1994)

Asher LibraryThe Yemenites: Two Thousand Years of Jewish Culture

Ester Muchawsky-Schnapper (Jerusalem: The Israel Museum, 2000)