Opening decoration: On the right, a part of the opening decoration is visible; for the description of the adequate section in other scrolls representing the Gaster I type see e.g. ID 1441.
Cartouche 1 (upper margin): At the center, within the scenery of the palace gardens, the crowned and bearded King Ahasuerus sits on the throne under a high canopy at a round laid table. He is flanked by three men on the right and four men on the left, all of whom wear turbans and long gowns (Es. 1:3-8). On either side, there are arcaded buildings in which two groups of four figures sit at a table.
Cartouche 2 (lower margin): The crowned Vashti, within the scenery of the palace gardens, sits under a high canopy at a round laid table. She is flanked by three women on either side. On the right, a group of servants, all wearing turbans, enter the garden through a gate on the right; the first of them addresses the queen. Probably, they come with the king's order that Vashti should appear before him and his guests (Es. 1:10-11). The scene of the left can depict the moment when the queen, after her refusal, is taken from the palace by two men (alluding to Es. 1:19).
Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Vashti's banquet (Es. 1:9)
Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments
Lion | Lion rampant
Ornamentation: | Cartouche
Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments | Floral motif
Ornamentation: | Endless knot
The scroll is formed of 3 membranes on which the Book of Esther is inscribed in 19 text columns (in 10 panels; 9 of them are double and the last one is single) with 22 lines each, except for the col. 16 with 11 lines divided into two parts.
The style of the script on sheets nos 2 and 3 is different than on the first sheet; the shade of ink is darker, the letters are smaller and the handwriting is denser even if the particular strokes are thinner. However, it still represents the square Italian type of Hebrew script. Possibly two different instruments were used for copying the text in the scroll.
The traditional enlarged and smaller letters are included only in the section of the IX chapter listing the names of Haman's sons (col. 16).
The ruling is visible, although not everywhere equally. In some places also the pricking can be seen.
The text is copied and the border is printed on the flesh side of the parchment sheets that are stitched.
The name "Gaster I" was introduced by Mendel Metzger in an article entitled "The Earliest Engraved Italian Megilloth" published in the "Bulletin of the John Rylands Library" (48:2 (1966), 381‒432, esp. 390). The type was named after Moses Gaster (1856–1939), the rabbi, scholar, and manuscript collector of whose collections a scroll adorned with this pattern formed a part (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 descriptions of other scrolls representing the same pattern see ID nos: 61, 1098, 1441, 21702, and 34125.
Two paper stickers containing the Library's inscription: "Mss Regia Biblioteca Casanatense Roma" and the number "Mss. 4851" are pasted on the opening section of the scroll, on its recto and verso side. Above the sticker, on the recto side, handwritten date or number 1743 is visible.
On the upper part of the verso side of the first sheet, there is an inscription: "FFFIV* CAPSULA No 5".
In the ornamentation some traces of gold are visible.
The background of the upper and lower margins is painted in a few different hues of blue color; the paint on the lower margin of the third membrane is barely visible, whereas the shade on the first membrane is saturated.
The membranes represent different types of parchment.
This image belongs to the ''Ursula and Kurt Schubert Archive'' in the Center for Jewish Art.
The scroll is described in:
Valeria Antonioli Martelli, Luisa Mortara Ottolenghi, Manoscritti biblici ebraici decorati provenienti da biblioteche italiane pubbliche e private: catalogo della mostra ordinata presso la Biblioteca Trivulziana: catalogo della mostra ordinata presso la Biblioteca Trivulziana, Castello Sforzesco, Milano, 2/28 marzo 1966 (Milano: Adei-Wiso) 1966, 62-63, object 17 + plate no. 12. (It lists an additional bibliography discussing the manuscript.
Ernest Namenyi, "The Illumination of Hebrew Manuscripts after the Invention of Printing," in Cecil Roth (ed.), Jewish Art, an Illustrated History (London, 1961), col. 433.
The bibliography on other manuscripts featuring the same pattern: