Fragrance Box (Besamim), 2009
13,0 х 11,0 х 22,8 см Silver, gold, emeralds, opals, crystal, glass, enamels, gold plating
Box for fragrances (Besamim box) was commonly used in Eastern Europe prior to the beginning of the 20th century - one of the common ritual items in the Jewish homes at that time. It was used at the conclusion of the blessing when smelling fragrance on the ceremony of Havdalah that marks the symbolic end of Shabbat and holidays, and ushers in the new week.
The Besamim box consists of following basic parts (from top to down):
  1. A removable crystal cap (crystal of Baccarat Company France), having the form of "half-egg". Normally the cap closes the vessel to keep aromas inside. During a ceremony the cap can be removed to let aromas out. The cap has from above: a spherical overlay with the enamel image of a star of David, the handle in the form of a crown topped by a figure of a lion. Inside the cap the silver bell is suspended.
  2. Capacity for fragrances in the form of the "half-egg" bottom. The sphere is made of silver and covered with partitioned enamel and opals. The box has a demountable cover with four openings. In the center of a cover, on a support, the opened prayer book is fixed. On the top pages made of gold, words of a pray are engraved: "Blessed are you, the ruler of the Universe who created fragrant substances!". The prayer book with a support serves as a handle if necessary to remove a cover from the box (for replacement of aromatic substances, cleaning, etc.)
  3. A rim. It is decorated by an enamel ornament on silver. Bottom "half-egg" is attached to the rim. Top "half-egg" fits onto the rim. Three clamps on the perimeter of the ring, decorated with diamonds and emeralds, are holding rim in place.
  4. A tripod. Legs are decorated with vegetative ornament with enamels. The basis of a tripod is decorated with images of a grapevine.
  5. A pillar is a hexagon made of color glass (beginning of the 20th century). The pillar has six angular legs with an enamel ornament.
Fragrance Box (Besamim)