Under Reconstruction!


(VII) Img. ID: 19582 Munich Rashi's Commentary on the Bible , Vol. I, fol. 37, Würzburg, 1232/33 edit  
Category: Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts

General Document

2 Name/Title Munich Rashi's Commentary on the Bible | Unknown
3a Object Biblical commentaries
3b Object Detail Vol. I, fol. 37
4a Artist/ Maker Shlomo ben Shmuel,Joseph (Scribe)
5 Date 1232/33
5a Activity Dates
5b Reconstruction Dates
6 Period Unknown
6a Period Detail
7 Origin Germany | Bayern (Bavaria) | Würzburg
8 Community Ashkenazi
9 Collection Germany | Munich | Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB)
| Cod. hebr. 5/I-II (Steinschneider 1895, No. 5)
10 Location Germany | Bayern (Bavaria) | München (Munich) | Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB)
11 Site Unknown
12 School/Style Würzburg school of manuscript illumination in the 13th century|
13 Iconographical Subject Initial word panel
Pharaoh's dreams, of cows |
14 Category
17 Photographer Unknown
18 Photograph Date 2008
19 Negative/ Photo. No.
19a Scan No.
20 Description

Vol. I, fol. 37: The initial word Vayehi (ויהי, And it came to pass) of Parashat Mikkez (Gen. 41:1-44:17) is written above the illustration in gold leaf on a green ground, set at the beginning of the first text column.

The panel depicts Pharaoh's first dream (Gen. 41:1-4) on a magenta ground divided into two parts by a stylized tree and a cascading brown and blue Nile, iIllustrating the biblical text and the commentary (I:37).

On the left the crowned Pharaoh is lying in a yellow bed, his head propped up on pillows, supported on his right hand. He wears a green garment and is covered with a blue blanket. On the right, emerging from theNile, are seven overlapping fat cows facing outwards in green, magenta, blue and light brown. 

Plummet inscriptions in Latin by the 13th-century hand, and by a later hand in Hebrew square script:

  • Upper margin, above the panel: ויהי (Vayehi)
  • Above it: Somniu(m) [Pha]raom (Gen. 41:1).
21 Ornamentation
22 Custom
23 Contents
24 Codicology
24a Scribes
24b Script
24c Number of Lines
24d Ruling
24e Pricking
24f Quires
24g Catchwords
24h Hebrew Numeration
24i Blank Leaves

25 Material/Technique
Brown and black ink, gold leaf and green, magenta, blue and brown.
25a Material Structure
25b Material Decoration
25c Material Bonding
25d Material Inscription
25e Material Additions
25f Material Cloth
25g Material Lining
25h Tesserae Arrangement
25i Density
25j Colors
25k Construction Material

26 Measurements
26a Height
26b Length
26c Width
26d Depth
26e Circumference
26f Thickness
26g Diameter
26h Weight
26i Axis
26j Panel Measurements 38 x 56 mm.
27 Direction/Location
27a Façade (main)
27b Entrances
27c Location of Torah Ark
27d Location of Apse
27e Location of Niche
27f Location of Reader's Desk
27g Location of Platform
27h Temp: Architecture Axis
27i< Arrangement of Seats
27j Location of Women's Section
27k Direction Prayer
27l Direction Toward Jerusalem

28 Coin
28a Coin Series
28b Coin Ruler
28c Coin Year
28d Denomination

29 Signature
30 Colophon
31 Scribal Notes
32 Watermark
33 Hallmark
33a Group
33b Subgroup
33c Hallmark Identification
33d Hallmark Group Classification
33e Hallmark Reference
34 Trade Mark
35 Binding
36 Decoration Program
36 Summary and Remarks

In his first dream (Gen. 41:1-4) Pharaoh saw seven fat cows emerging from the Nile (fig. 1). The seven lean cows which devoured them and which constitute a crucial element of the story are missing from our illustration. It seems that our artist omitted them in order to achieve a more spacious composition. Perhaps his exemplar was similar in composition to that of a Greek Octateuch of the 11th century (fig. 2), where Pharaoh is lying in bed on the left; to the right stand the fat cows confronting the lean ones, which our artist dispensed with.

Fig.1: Pharaoh's first dream, Munich Rashi's Commentary on the Bible, Munich, BSB Cod. hebr. 5, I:37


Fig. 2: Above: Banquet and punishment of the chief baker; Below: Pharaoh's first dream, Octateuch, Greece, 11th century, Vatican, BAV gr. 747, fol. 61 (Weitzmann and Bernabò 1999, fig. 499)


Figs. 3, 4: Pharaoh's first dream, Venice, St. Mark's Basilica, Pendentive mosaics of the second Joseph cupola in the north narthex, 13th century (restored 1830s) (Demus 1984, fig. 59)

Pharaoh's first dream as depicted in St. Mark's is divided between two pendantives of the second Joseph cupola in the narthex (figs. 3, 4). Pharaoh is in bed in the left pendantive and in the right one the fat cows are being bitten by the lean ones. However, contrary to our illustration and the Octateuch's, the cows are facing Pharaoh, and not looking away from him.

Fig. 5: Pharaoh's first dream (on the right), Psalter of St. Louis Paris, 1253-70, Paris, BnF lat.10525, fol. 21v (Ludwigs Psalter, facsimile 1985)

Pharaoh's first dream in the Psalter of St. Louis of 1253-70 (fig. 5) resembles our composition, if the group of fat cows on the left is disregarded and the lean cows with the Nile are considered.

38 Suggested Reconstruction
39 History/Provenance
40 Main Surveys & Excavations
41 Condition
The gold leaf on the letters, Pharaoh’s crown and cuffs has flaked off, and his face is scraped off. The neck, hands and pillows have turned grey.
42 Biography
43 Bibliography
43a Short Name
43b Full Name
43c Volume
43d Page

44 Type
45 Temp: Batch Number
46 Temp: Aleph Number
47 Temp: Sys. Number / Doc. Name
48 Temp: Addenda

Function: Name: Date:
49 Documenter 49a
50 Researcher 50a
51 Architectural Drawings 51a
52 Computer Reconstruction 52a
53 Section Head 53a
54 Editor 54a
55 Donor 55a