Cartouche 3 (upper margin): On the right, the bearded Ahasuerus sits on the throne and is accompanied by the seven princes of Persia and Media. He holds a scepter in his left hand and his other hand points to a man, probably Memucan, who stands before him. Six other men stand behind Memucan (?) and a soldier holding a shield stands behind the king's throne. The scene shows the moment when the king asks his advisers for a piece of advice as to the further fate of Vashti (Es. 1:13-20). On the left, two king's messengers ride on horseback towards a city in the background (Es. 1:21-23).
Cartouche 4 (lower margin): At the center, a group of women is brought to the king's court (Es. 2:1-4). They are led by a man wearing a turban (most likely Hegai) who holds the first one's hand (Es. 2:8). A carriage drawn by two horses can be seen in the background on the left.
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Hegai taking Esther and the maiden(s) to the palace (Es. 2:8)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus' messenger(s) (Es. 1:22)
O | Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments | Floral motif
O | Ornamentation: | Endless knot
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Memucan advises the king regarding the fate of Vashti (Es. 1:19)
Membranes are stitched together
The name "Gaster I" was introduced by Mendel Metzger in his article entitled "The Earliest Engraved Italian Megilloth" (see "Bibliography"). The type was named after Moses Gaster (1856–1939), the rabbi, scholar, and manuscript collector, who owned a scroll adorned with this pattern (at present this is the scroll Gaster Hebrew MS 710 stored in the John Rylands Library in Manchester). At least 25 manuscripts representing this type are still extant and are preserved in private and institutional collections. For their descriptions see "Related objects".
The pattern features a number of decorative elements common with the scrolls of Klagsbald type.
Bibliography concerning the scroll from the NL:
National Library of Israel (catalogue)
Selected bibliography concerning other scrolls decorated with the same border:
Mendel Metzger, The Earliest Engraved Italian Megilloth, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 1966, 48/2, 381–432.
Cornelia Bodea, Treasures of Jewish Art. The 1673 Illuminated Scroll of Esther Offered to a Romanian Hierarch, Iaşi–Oxford–Palm Beach–Portland 2002.
A Journey through Jewish Worlds: Highlights from the Braginsky Collection of Hebrew Manuscripts and Printed Books, eds. Evelyn M. Cohen, Emile Schrijver, Sharon Liberman Mintz, Amsterdam 2009, 240-241.
Schöne Seiten. Jüdische Schriftkultur aus der Braginsky Collection, eds. Emile Schrijver, Falk Wiesemann, Evelyn M. Cohen, Sharon Liberman Mintz, Menahem Schmeltzer, Zurich 2011, 262-263.
Dagmara Budzioch, The Decorated Esther Scrolls from the Museum of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw and the Tradition of Megillot Esther Decoration in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries – An Outline [Polish: Dekorowane zwoje Estery z Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego w Warszawie na tle tradycji dekorowania megilot Ester w XVII i XVIII wieku. Zarys problematyki], Warsaw 2019, 1:99-119, 2:64-69.
Dagmara Budzioch, "An Illustrated Scroll of Esther from the Collection of the Jewish Historical Institute as an Example of the Gaster I Megilloth," Kwartalnik Historii Żydów 2013, no. 3 (247), 533–547.