In the upper margin, landscapes nos. 1-4 are printed and in the lower margin, there are frames nos. 5-8:
Frame 5: On the right, a man with a bow in his hands is depicted; he is aiming at the wheel with the signs of Zodiac on its perimeter (on the left). The scene is shown against the landscape. The depiction symbolically shows the moment of casting lots by Haman (alludes to Es. 3:7). The Book of Esther mentions only casting lots that means appointing the least favorable period for Jews, but there is no reference to the signs of the Zodiac in the text.
Frame 6: On the left, a mounted messenger is carrying the edict of Haman that he holds in his right hand (Es. 3:13) and in his other hand, he has a French horn. He is riding towards a man sitting under a tree, most likely Mordecai, who tears his clothes as a sign of mourning (Es. 4:1).
Frame 7: On the left, Haman stands in front of Ahasuerus attended by a group of men (his advisers?, servants?). The vizier holds weight with scales on which the vizier is going to weigh silver for the king (Es. 3:9). In the background, the king's palace is visible.
Frame 8: Five men sit at a table at the moment when Queen Esther is entering the chamber. Most likely, the scene depicts the first banquet given by Esther (Es. 5:5-8) but it is unclear why the queen does not sit at the table and who are the other participants of the feast (the Book of Esther mentions only the king and Haman).
C | Columns
A | Acanthus Leaf
G | Garland
P | Putto (Putti in Plural)
V | Vase
V | Vase | Vase with flowers
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Haman casting the lot/Pur - Haman aiming at the Zodiac wheel (based on Midrash)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Messenger(s) delivering the decree of Haman (Es. 3:13)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Mordecai in mourning (Es. 4:1)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Haman entreats Ahasuerus to issue a decree destroying the Jews (Es. 3:9)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Haman paying money to the king (Es. 3:9)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Esther's first banquet (Es. 5:5-8)
O | Ornamentation: | Main text framed
The Book of Esther in Hebrew and the benedictions recited before the Megillah reading
The text is written in 17 columns. Additionally, initial benedictions are written within the opening decoration.
A central part of the opening decoration is removed and this place was supplemented with a small piece of parchment or paper with a different shade on which the benedictions recited before the reading of the Megillah are inscribed.
There are two variants of the scrolls decorated with this pattern that in the Index are marked "I" and "II". In some exemplars, just below the decorative herms, the pedestals with angel's heads and bases were added, therefore, the text panels in these scrolls are higher; this type is marked with "II". Whereas, the rest of the manuscripts containing no pedestals with angel's heads and bases are marked with "I". The latter are more numerous.
The blue seams visible on the edges of the first membrane of the scroll suggest that a piece of fabric was sewn underneath as it was customary in Dutch Jewish communities.
A part of the border on the third membrane is printed in a light hue of ink and is less visible than the rest of the pattern.
The earliest scroll sharing similar engraved pattern is dated to 1701; this is the megillah BCM 25 from the Braginsky Collection in Zurich (see http://braginskycollection.com/esther-scrolls/; accessed on 22.04.2020).
The current location of the scroll is unknown; previously it belonged to the Gross Family Collection (081.012.008).
Other scrolls sharing the same or similar pattern are discussed for example in:
Jiřina Šedinová, From the Mss. Collections of the State Jewish Museum in Prague. The Scrolls of Esther, „Judaica Bohemiae” 1979, nr 15/2, 79-80.
Olga Sixtova, O svitku / Form of the Scroll [katalog k výstavě konané v Galerii Roberta Guttmanna Židovského muzea v Praze od 22. června do 26. července 2006], Prague 2006, 37.
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, 234-237.
Schöne Seiten. Jüdische Schriftkultur aus der Braginsky Collection, eds. Emile Schrijver, Falk Wiesemann, Evelyn M. Cohen, Sharon Liberman Mintz, Menahem Schmeltzer, Zurich 2011, 282-283.
Victor Klagsbald, Catalogue raisonné de la collection juive du Musée de Cluny, Paris 1981, 63-64, object 72.
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, 1:163-176, 2:41-49.