publisher colophon

73. of Vivlin Son of Moses/Vifli

Vivlin · ben · Moshe

[at right]

S’ Vifli Ivdei

Seal of Vifli the Jew

Dimensions: 26 mm. Impression.

Location: State Archives of the Canton of Zurich, Document C I, No. 280

Bibliography: Ulrich, 1768; A. Kisch, 1882; Guggenheim-Grünberg, 1967.

This seal resembles No. 69 in size, device, and design. There are, however, differences. The shield is not in such high relief and is smaller in relation to its background. The brims of the hats are rounded and the pointed crowns much shorter. The flat-brimmed hat with the higher crown was the actual type used at that time,* so this treatment is apparently a stylization, perhaps to work better in the area of the small shield. Vivlin, Mordechai, and Moses, the owners of Nos. 69, 70, and this seal, were members of the same family, Vivlin being the son of Moses and the nephew of Mordechai. When the same device—in this case the three Jews’ hats—is used on various family members’ seals, the device is termed armes de famille or family ensigns, as distinct from armes parlantes, where the device indicates the owner’s name.

Alexander Kisch translates the name as Visli in the Latin and Vislin in the Hebrew. From documentary records we know that the correct spelling is Vivlin. Kisch may be excused for the reading, as the first letters of Vifli, particularly the/’ are indistinct.*


*See the Tripartite Maḥzor, vol. 2, fol. 3, “The Giving of the Law,” ca. 1320, fromsouthern Germany, an excellent example. This famous illuminated festival prayerbook is located in the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Ms. A. 384, with similar copies in the British Museum, Add. Ms. 22413, and the Bodleian Library, Ms. Mich. 619.

*The third Hebrew letter is a vav. However, we can guess that the name was probably pronounced Viflin, not only because of the Vifli in the Latin letters but because there are several other cases of names where a vav is used on the seal but the name in other documents is recorded as an f. Vrumit in Hebrew letters is referred to as Frumit in documents still extant, for example, those referring to the second wife of Mordechai Meisel, the famed financier of Prague and builder of the Meisel synagogue in that city. In German the V is often pronounced as an F; indeed, in some German book indexes when one is checking a V entry one is referred to the Fs.

*See the Tripartite Maḥzor, vol. 2, fol. 3, “The Giving of the Law,” ca. 1320, fromsouthern Germany, an excellent example. This famous illuminated festival prayerbook is located in the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Ms. A. 384, with similar copies in the British Museum, Add. Ms. 22413, and the Bodleian Library, Ms. Mich. 619.

*The third Hebrew letter is a vav. However, we can guess that the name was probably pronounced Viflin, not only because of the Vifli in the Latin letters but because there are several other cases of names where a vav is used on the seal but the name in other documents is recorded as an f. Vrumit in Hebrew letters is referred to as Frumit in documents still extant, for example, those referring to the second wife of Mordechai Meisel, the famed financier of Prague and builder of the Meisel synagogue in that city. In German the V is often pronounced as an F; indeed, in some German book indexes when one is checking a V entry one is referred to the Fs.

This seal resembles No. 69 in size, device, and design. There are, however, differences. The shield is not in such high relief and is smaller in relation to its background. The brims of the hats are rounded and the pointed crowns much shorter. The flat-brimmed hat with the higher crown was the actual type used at that time,* so this treatment is apparently a stylization, perhaps to work better in the area of the small shield. Vivlin, Mordechai, and Moses, the owners of Nos. 69, 70, and this seal, were members of the same family, Vivlin being the son of Moses and the nephew of Mordechai. When the same device—in this case the three Jews’ hats—is used on various family members’ seals, the device is termed armes de famille or family ensigns, as distinct from armes parlantes, where the device indicates the owner’s name.

Alexander Kisch translates the name as Visli in the Latin and Vislin in the Hebrew. From documentary records we know that the correct spelling is Vivlin. Kisch may be excused for the reading, as the first letters of Vifli, particularly the/’ are indistinct.*

Additional Information

ISBN
9780814344859
MARC Record
OCLC
1055142843
Pages
159-159
Launched on MUSE
2018-10-02
Open Access
Yes
Creative Commons
CC-BY-NC-SA
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