The first sheet of the scroll includes the opening decoration and 4 columns of text (nos. 1-4) inscribed within the printed border. Just above the twisted columns, there are: a flower-filled vase (partly visible in this image), illustrations of King Ahasuerus with his scepter (possibly alluding to Es. 1:1), a flower-filled vase, Queen Vashti with her scepter, and a flower-filled vase (half of it is printed on the subsequent membrane).
The opening decoration is composed of a crown-topped cartouche supported by two standing angels and three scenes from the Book of Esther placed one under the other:
1. A man holding a book before the enthroned King Ahasuerus (possibly alluding to Es. 6:1) with the triumph of Mordechai in the background (Es. 6:11).
2. Mordecai giving Hatach a letter for Esther (Es. 4:7-8).
3. King Ahasuerus's sleepless night (Es. 6:1) with the palace gardens (featuring a fountain) in the background.
Hebrew inscriptions are added in the elongated cartouches in the lower part of the illustrations, but they are barely visible. Additionally, in the lower-left corner of the 2nd illustration, there is an inscription (see "Signature").
O | Ornamentation: | Cartouche
C | Crown
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus listening to the Book of Records (Es. 6:1-3)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Mordecai's triumph (Es. 6:11)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Hatach before Mordecai (Es. 4:5-7)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Sleepless night of the king (Es. 6:1)
L | Landscape
A | Acanthus Leaf
H | Human Figure | Bust (Human figure)
W | Woman | Nude
B | Bird
P | Phoenix
C | Columns | Twisted columns
V | Vase | Vase with flowers
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | *Esther's Story Characters (depicted not in narrative scenes): | Ahasuerus, the king
O | Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | *Esther's Story Characters (depicted not in narrative scenes): | Vashti, the queen
The membranes are connected in a clumsy manner.
The Book of Esther in Hebrew
The scroll is formed of 4 sheets containing 16 columns of the text with 24 lines except for col. 14 with 15 lines (11 of them containing Haman's sons section are divided into two parts).
Every membrane contains 4 columns of text.
The text is inscribed in Hebrew square Ashkenazi script with tagin, in very dark brown ink that is almost black, on the flesh side of each parchment membrane.
The letter ח (Es. 1:6) is slightly bigger than an average letter in the scroll. Col. 14 does not include enlarged and diminished letters.
Erroneous text fragments are cut out and the correct passages are written on strips of parchment that are glued underneath the membranes.
The ruling - made with a stylus - is almost invisible.
The membranes in the scroll are stitched together.
Around 15 megillot featuring the same border are housed in private and institutional collections; see related objects. Yet another exemplar used to be a part of the Gross Family Collection (no. 081.012.044) but in 2003, it was stolen from the Beit Hatfutsot Museum in Tel Aviv (Hilfe erbeten: Judaica Diebstahl: http://www.judentum.net; accessed on 14.12.2018). There are also two scrolls embellished with the same border but with texts other than the Book of Esther.
The scrolls featuring the same border are described in:
Dagmara Budzioch, Verzierte Ester-Rollen – illustriert von dem Prager Kupferstecher Philipp Jakob Franck [in:] Zwischen Offenbarung und Kontemplation: Die Wolfenbütteler hebräischen Schriftrollen, mit Beiträgen von Dagmara Budzioch und Ad Stijnman (Wolfenbütteler Forschungen), Wiesbaden 2021, pp. 106-117.
A Journey through Jewish Worlds: Highlights from the Braginsky Collection of Hebrew Manuscripts and Printed Books, eds. Evelyn M. Cohen, Emile Schrijver, Sharon Mintz, Amsterdam 2009, 266–267.
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]”, Praha 2006, 36.
http://braginskycollection.com/scrolls/prague/ (accessed on 21.09.2020).
A Magnificent Illustrated Esther Scroll [Prague ca. 1700], lot 169: http://www.sothebys.com; accessed on 14.12.2018.
A Magnificent Illustrated Esther Scroll [Prague: ca. 1700], lot 24: http://www.sothebys.com; accessed on 14.12.2018.