This exquisite box was crafted in Moscow in 1840. The item is designed to hold the fragrant Besamim (spices, herbs or fruits), which feature in the Jewish Havdalah ceremony. This Havdalah takes place at the end of the Shabbat (the seventh day of the week, dedicated to rest and worship). In this ceremony, the aromatic Besamim box is passed around the congregation, its beautiful scent providing comfort for individuals faced with the working week ahead.
The box has been crafted from wire threads of silver, which have been delicately twisted and entwined into floral, lacelike openwork patterns, in a process known as filigree. The pierced, floral designs created enable the scent of the spices to escape and diffuse across the synagogue.
This small box is set on four bun feet, and its body is of rectangular form, with canted corners. It is covered by a hinged lid, which has a raised centre with a flat top. The lid is decorated with tiny, three-dimensional flowers, and surmounted by a flower finial. The silver box is fully hallmarked.