publisher colophon

54. Seal of Chuim Son of the Sage Master Chaim Navon (or Nakon)

Ḥaim ben ḤaḤet-Resh Ḥaim Navon (Nakon)

Ḥaim ben HaḤakam Rab Ḥaim Navon (or Nakon)

Dimensions: 24 mm. Matrix.

Location: Israel Museum, Jerusalem, No. 105/73.

Bibliography: Neuman, 1942, vol. 2; Cantera y Burgos and Millás Vallicrosa, 1956, No. 253.

This round bronze seal is still attached to a ring by which it may have hung on the chest of its owner. The style of the Hebrew lettering dates from around the fourteenth century. The figure in the center has best been described as a running ram. The inscription, between two border lines, includes contractions as indicated above.

The only unclear letter is the middle one of the last word, which could be a bet or a kof, that is, Navon or Nakon. The more likely name, this writer believes, is Navon, a name found among Spanish Jews at the time.* Passing of the name of the father to the son is more customary among Sephardic than Ashkenazi Jews.

We have no idea to whom this seal belonged in actual history. Abraham A. Neuman mentions a Rabbi Chaim, the private physician of the archbishop of Toledo, who, in gratitude for his curative powers, was appointed chief rabbi and judge over the Jews in his archbishopric in 1388. This might be the seal of his son. However, we do not know whether Master Chaim carried the last name of Navon; possibly this word, whose Hebrew root can mean a wise or understanding man, was added to his name as honorific, but one could just as well say that the use of Nakon in Hebrew, the other possible interpretation, is a reference to the seal owner’s father as of strong or firm character.

This seal, formerly the property of the bibliophile Don Antonio Rodríguez Moñino, was given by him to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.


*Israel’s first Sephardic president is Yitzhak Navon, whose mother tongue is Ladino.

*Israel’s first Sephardic president is Yitzhak Navon, whose mother tongue is Ladino.

The only unclear letter is the middle one of the last word, which could be a bet or a kof, that is, Navon or Nakon. The more likely name, this writer believes, is Navon, a name found among Spanish Jews at the time.* Passing of the name of the father to the son is more customary among Sephardic than Ashkenazi Jews.

Additional Information

ISBN
9780814344859
MARC Record
OCLC
1055142843
Launched on MUSE
2018-10-02
Open Access
Yes
Creative Commons
CC-BY-NC-SA
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