Sheet no. 1
The first text panel is surrounded by seven depictions:
1. King Ahasuerus and two angels with trumpets above him.
2. Two messengers holding sticks in their hands delivering the king's decree (Es. 1:22).
3. Two musicians, one with drum and the other with trumpet. They may be announcing the king's decree.
4. Several men and women seated at a long table set with food - possibly depicting both feasts given by King Ahasuerus (Es. 1:3-8) and Queen Vashti (Es. 1:9).
5. The king seated under a canopy with two women kneeling before him; most likely the king choosing Esther as queen (Es. 2:17).
6. Possibly Esther as the queen (with a scepter in her hand) attended by two women, possibly her maidservants.
7. Five nude women with spindles in their hands, most likely alluding to a tale in the tractate Megillah 12b in which Vashti "would bring Jewish girls, strip them naked and forced them to work on Shabbat." However, other interpretations are possible.
A | Angel
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus' messenger(s) (Es. 1:22)
M | Musical Instruments
M | Musician
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus' banquet (Es. 1:3-8)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Vashti's banquet (Es. 1:9)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Esther presented before Ahasuerus (Es. 2:16)
W | Woman | Nude
G | Garland
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | *Esther's Story Characters (depicted not in narrative scenes): | Esther, the queen
O | Ornamentation: | Main text framed
The opening section of the scroll is damaged and the membrane is crumpled here.
Some parts of the decorations are faded but still, the general condition of the manuscript is good.
The Book of Esther in Hebrew
The scroll is formed of 4 sheets, in total containing 8 columns of text with 41 or 42 lines each, except for col. 7 which has 11 lines divided into two half-columns.
Every membrane contains two columns of text; 7 of them are framed in octagons of various sizes and one is not framed.
The text is written in Hebrew square Ashkenazi script with tagin in brown ink on parchment membranes.
The letters ח (Es. 1:6) and ת (Es. 9:29) and the letters of the name of God are enlarged and bolded. Other enlarged and diminished letters are included in col. 7.
There are some corrections and erasures in the text.
The ruling is made with a hard point, along with the sheets, but only be seen only in the decorations between the panels.
The pricking on the membranes' edges can be seen.
The membranes of the scroll are glued together.
In the depiction of the feast by the king and the queen, the name "Esther" in pencil is written.
It seems the frames of the panels were originally painted with gold paint.
No comprehensive discussion on the scroll is available but the fragments are reproduced in numerous publications, e.g.:
Marc Michael Epstein, Skies of Parchment, Seas of Ink: Jewish Illuminated Manuscripts, Princeton, New Jersey 2015, pp. 15, 191, 219.