publisher colophon

72. Seal of Jacob Son of Solomon

[Ya] cob bar Shelomah

[at top right]


Jacob Son of Solomon, the Memory of a Just Man be for a Blessing, Our Teacher May His Memory be for a Blessing

Dimensions: 35 × 22 mm. at widest point. Impression.

Location: State Archives of the Canton of Zurich, Document C I, No. 278.

Bibliography: Ulrich, 1768; A. Kisch, 1882; Jewish Encyclopedia., 1907, s.v. “Seal,” Pl. II, No. 34; Guggenheim-Grünberg, 1967; Bascapè, 1973, P. 169, No. 29.

The Hebrew letters on this elliptical seal are set off by solid border lines. The first letter, the yod of Yaakob, is obliterated by the edge of the ribbon holding the impression to the document, but that is the obvious meaning. One interpretation of the last three letters, MZL, is Mozzai., or “luck.” Neither this reading nor the one given above is completely satisfactory.

Within the interior border is a long-stemmed plant, possibly a lily, or it may be the Edelweiss, the Swiss mountain flower. On either side of the stem is a long-beaked bird facing the flower. The design is most pleasing; Giacomo C. Bascapè, an Italian seal expert, states that it is a borrowed oriental motif which was a rather common device on medieval seals of Italy; an example of a similar Christian seal is shown here for comparison.

Seal of Pierre de Boisses, Canon of Levroux, 1264. French National Archives, Paris, S 2209, No. 16.

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