The style of decoration and calligraphy are typically Sephardic and similar cut-out and engraved work is found on Sephardic prayer book mounts from the Balkan area in the late 19th century. The Sephardic Jews were descended from those who fled Spain & Portugal after The Expulsion and settled mainly in the Ottoman empire including Greece and the Balkans. Odessa in the present-day Ukraine, which shares a border with Romania, had a large Jewish population in the late 19th century. Odessa later became a major centre for Sephardic Jews who migrated there, probably as, with its large port, it was a centre for trade on the Black Sea. From 1941-1944 the Romanians occupied the city and despite some deportations, most of the Jewish population and their property remained unharmed which might account for the piece's survival. Christie's gratefully acknowledges the help of Dr. Moshe Brown in identifying the style of this piece.