Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Oleg Kalashnikov
Corner for the consummation of the marriage (gnune
Reconstruction of custom practiced in Iraqi Kurdistan up to the mid-20th century
Purchased through the gift of Baroness Alix de Rothschild, Paris
Accession number: B74.1010, B80.0163, B80.0198, B80.0201, B80.0213, B80.0995, B81.0120, B81.0136, B81.0263, B81.0620, B81.0951
In Iraqi Kurdistan, a special secluded corner (gnune) was prepared for the newlywed couple in the house of the bridegroom’s parents. There, following the wedding ceremony, the couple had their first unchaperoned meeting and consummated their marriage. During the week of wedding festivities, the couple slept in the gnune, with a young child between them as a promise of fertility and also to prevent further physical contact until the bride immersed herself in the ritual bath. This corner is likely one of the closest indications of what the Talmud calls huppah, referring to the bridegroom’s house or to a room in it. The gnune fabrics were woven by Jewish men and served many domestic purposes. They were used at different stages of life and also covered the coffin during the funeral.

Digital presentation of this object was made possible by: The Ridgefield Foundation, New York, in memory of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir