Ketubas are the Jewish marriage contracts. The ketubas here represent different periods in the unfolding of the Calcutta community from the early Judeo-Arabic to the more Anglo orientation of the community during the Raj. The ketubas of the 60’s is a more commercial like contract with no ornate, representational features.
A representative example of the text on a ketuba is presented here, from the ketuba of Meyer Ezra, 1887, Calcutta:
In God's name do we successfully perform
In the name of Merciful God, full of compassion
Happiness, joy, gladness and merriment, the fruition of salvation and redemption
The fulfillment of every desire of the groom and his bride
He who has found a wife has found goodness, and won the favour of the Lord
Property and riches are bequethed by parents, but an efficient wife comes from the Lord.
Your wife shall be like fruitful vine within your home; your children like olive saplings around your table. So shall a man who reveres the Lord be blessed.
May you see your children's children. Peace be upon Israel.
Ketuboth Stored in Metal Canisters
by Ilana Sondak
All four of the ketuboth and parchment documents in my possession (the oldest from 150 years ago (1869) were handed down in our family in their original containers. The older canisters are metal and the most recent one is decorated papier-mache.
I do not know whether the custom of preserving and storing the parchment documents in canisters was only prevalent in our Baghdadi community, or also used elsewhere.
The custom was to insert the rolled-up ketuba into the cylinder, and add two coins from the year of the wedding – one silver and one gold (or copper, as in my canisters).