Wedding plate, 1842
Tin alloy, diameter 28.7 cm
Plate – Josef Pittroff, Karlovy Vary, late 18th century.
Redesign – unknown engraver, Prague–Smíchov, 1842
Provenance: acquired by the museum in 1967 from a private owner in Prague, inv. no. JMP 173.821
Among the customs observed during the Jewish wedding festivities was the groom’s sermon on various themes from the Bible and the Talmud, for which he would then receive a gift. In central Europe, the wedding gift was usually a tin plate which was acquired for this purpose from one of the religious societies of the Jewish community. It was also provided with an engraved dedicatory inscription, sometimes with a decoration. These items did not differ in shape from ordinary plates; often, use was made of an old plate on which the dedication to the groom was engraved at a later date.
The exhibited plate was produced as a utility item at the end of the eighteenth century in Karlovy Vary; in 1842 it was redesigned as a wedding plate by adding an inscription and decoration. According to the text, it was a wedding gift for the groom Jaakov Glas from what is now the Prague district of Smíchov. It was given to him by the youth association “Derech Yeshara” (meaning “a straight road or path”).
This plate is one of a set of similar tin plates, known as doron derasha (Heb. “gift for a lecture”), which were given to grooms after their sermons. The other three plates, together with photographs, garments, rings and wedding contracts, are on view at the Robert Guttmann Gallery in the exhibition Mazal Tov – Good Luck, which focuses on the course and attributes of the traditional wedding celebration of Ashkenazi Jews in the past and present.