Requires Photography

Amulet Case

Early 19th-century
about 1820


Dimensions

Overall: 7.8 x 7.2 x 1 cm (3 1/16 x 2 13/16 x 3/8 in.) Lender accessory (Box): 9.5 x 9.5 x 9.5 cm (3 3/4 x 3 3/4 x 3 3/4 in.)

Accession Number

2016.401

Medium or Technique

Silver

Not On View

Classifications

Religious and cult objects

Used to hold an amulet inscription, and, following Italian Jewish tradition, hung over a baby’s crib to protect the child from harm and evil. This beautiful silver filigree example has the word “Shaddai” (biblical Hebrew name for God) on the front cover, and the Star of David on the back. In the family since the early 19th century, it was given to the present owner as a baby by his grandmother, in their native Pitigliano, an Italian town still known for its Jewish community and history. Members of his family are Holocaust survivors and he brought the amulet case with him when he came to America.

Provenance

About 1826, Dolce Sadun Servi (b. 1826 – d. 1901), Pitigliano, Italy; by descent to her grandson, Aldo Gino Servi (b. 1881 – d. 1963) and his wife, Amelia Servi (b. 1886 – d. 1974), Gallarate, Italy; about 1950, given by Amelia Servi to her son, Italo Servi, Gallarate and Lincoln, MA; 2016, gift of Italo Servi to the MFA. (Accession Date: September 28, 2016)

Credit Line

Gift of Italo S. Servi in memory of Dolce Sadun Servi