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Img. ID: 340683

© Copyright of the University of Manchester, Photographer: N/A, 2016

Sheet 2 (text panels 6 and 7)

Cartouche 11 (upper margin): On the right, Ahasuerus stands next to his throne and points at Haman who stands before him while they are talking (Es. 6:6-10). On the left, Mordecai rides a horse followed by two men and Haman walks before him while blowing a trumpet (Es. 6:11). The scene of the triumph of Mordecai is supplemented by the depiction of Haman's daughter who, from a window above, empties a chamber pot on her father's head (Megillah 16a).

Cartouche 12 (lower margin): On the right, the second banquet given by Esther is shown (Es. 7:1). The queen sits at a round laid table and is accompanied by Ahasuerus (who sits on the canopied throne) and Haman (who sits between them). In the central part of the cartouche, Haman is begging for his life and is prostrated on the floor before Esther while Ahasuerus is returning from the palace gardens (Es. 7:7-8). On the left, Ahasuerus stands in the palace garden with a scepter in his hand, accompanied by two chamberlains; one of them may be Harbonah, who suggests hanging Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai (Es. 7:9).

Cartouche 13 (upper margin): On the right, Haman is hanged on the gallows (Es. 7:10). A ladder leans against it and three guards, holding spears, stand on the left. At Haman's feet, there is a dog that is looking up at him. On the left, Ahasuerus sits on the canopied throne and extends his scepter to Esther, who kneels at his feet and touches the tip of the scepter. Mordecai stands in the background and watches the scene (Es. 8:1-4). This either depicts the moment when the king gives Haman's properties to Esther (Es. 8:1) or when Esther is pleading to annul Haman's decree (Es. 8:3-4).

Cartouche 14 (lower margin): On the right, Ahasuerus sits on a throne under a canopy and extends the scepter to Esther, who kneels at his feet and touches the tip of the scepter. Behind the throne stands a man (possibly Mordecai) and in the background, two king's scribes sit at a table and write the king's decree (Es. 8:9). On the left, two mounted messengers ride towards a walled city on the far left (Es. 8:14).

JRL Gaster I Type Esther Scroll | Unknown
Object Detail
text panels 6 and 7
Second half of the 17th century
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Unknown (Unknown)
Italy | Veneto | Venice
| (?)
Historical Origin
Community type
Unknown |
Unknown |
Period Detail
Documentation / Research project
Ink and paints on parchment (printed and hand-colored border, handwritten text)
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Construction material
The scroll: 175 x ca. 1490 mm.
Length of the sheets in the scroll: 1) ca. 500 mm, 2) 510 mm, 3) ca. 275 mm, 4) 205 mm.
Dimensions of the selected details in the scroll:
- text panel: 81x103 mm;
- cartouche with a narrative scene(s): 28x93 mm (inner dimensions);
- decorative belts above and below cartouches and endless knot patterns: 5 mm;
- an average letter: 2 mm (height);
- letters in col. 16: ca. 4 mm (height);
- space between the lines of the text: ca. 2 mm.
Panel Measurements
O | Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments | Floral motif
O | Ornamentation: | Endless knot
O | Ornamentation: | Cartouche
O | Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus asks Haman how to honour a man he wishes to reward (Es. 6:5-10)
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) | Haman's daughter empties a chamber pot on her father's head (Bab. Talmud, Megillah 16a)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Esther's second banquet (Es. 7:1)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus returns from the palace garden (Es. 7:8)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Haman begging for his life (Es. 7:8)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Harbona suggests to hang Haman (Es. 7:9)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Haman hanged (Es. 7:10)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus giving Esther the house of Haman (Es. 8:1)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Esther at Ahasuerus' feet, pleading he annuls Haman's decree (Es. 8:3)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus extending his scepter to Esther (Es. 8:4)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | New decree allowing the Jews to defend themselves (Es. 8:8-10)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus' messenger(s) (Es. 8:14)
| (?)

The manuscript is poorly preserved. The text is in especially bad condition - large parts are erased or seriously faded; there are some ink pittings too (e.g. in col. 16). In some places, an additional layer of ink is placed on the original text.

The scroll lacks a part of the opening and final decorations, therefore, the manuscript is shorter than a typical exemplar of Gaster I megillot.

There are a few holes in the first membrane.

The printed border and paints are faded.

The blank side of the membranes is rather dirty.

The membranes are sewn in an unaesthetic way and they are crumpled.

Documented by CJA
Surveyed by CJA
Present Usage
Present Usage Details
Condition of Building Fabric
Architectural Significance type
Historical significance: Event/Period
Historical significance: Collective Memory/Folklore
Historical significance: Person
Architectural Significance: Style
Architectural Significance: Artistic Decoration
Urban significance
Significance Rating
Languages of inscription
Type of grave

The Book of Esther in Hebrew


The scroll is formed of 4 sheets containing 19 columns of text in total with 22 lines each, except for col. 16 which has 11 lines divided into two half-columns.

For unknown reasons, the third membrane of the scroll was cut into two pieces which were stitched together (all typical scrolls representing Gaster I type are composed of 3 membranes).

The number of columns per sheet: sheet no. 1 - 6 columns, no. 2 - 8, no. 3 - 4, no. 4 - 1.

The text is written in Hebrew square Italian script on the flesh side of parchment sheets, which are of medium thickness and slightly stiff. The blank side of the membranes is more yellow than the other side; some hair traces are still visible on it.

The color of ink is difficult to determine because in many places only some remains of the original text are visible; they are brown remains in the shape of the letters.

It cannot be determined whether the letter ח (Es. 1:6) was marked in any way because this part of the text is not preserved. The letter ת (Es. 9:29) is highlighted by its size - the letter is enlarged and bolded but it is not well visible. Enlarged and diminished letters are included in col. 14.

The ruling made with a hard point is slightly visible; vertical lines are more visible than horizontal lines.

The pricking is invisible.

The sheets in the scroll are stitched together. 

Number of Lines
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Façade (main)
Location of Torah Ark
Location of Apse
Location of Niche
Location of Reader's Desk
Location of Platform
Temp: Architecture Axis
Arrangement of Seats
Location of Women's Section
Direction Prayer
Direction Toward Jerusalem
Coin Series
Coin Ruler
Coin Year


Scribal Notes
Trade Mark
Decoration Program
Summary and Remarks

The name "Gaster I" was introduced by Mendel Metzger in his article entitled "The Earliest Engraved Italian Megilloth" (see "Bibliography"). The type was named after Moses Gaster (1856–1939), the rabbi, scholar, and manuscript collector, who owned a scroll adorned with this pattern (at present this is the scroll Gaster Hebrew MS 710 stored in the John Rylands Library in Manchester that is described here). At least 25 manuscripts representing this type are still extant and are preserved in private and institutional collections. For their descriptions see "Related objects".

The pattern features a number of decorative elements common with the scrolls of the Klagsbald type (see in the Index).

Suggested Reconsdivuction

The scroll belonged to Moses Gaster's (1856–1939) collection. In his hand-written catalogue, it is listed under no. 710. At the beginning of the scroll, in its upper margin, there is an inscription in black ink: "710 M. Gaster".

Main Surveys & Excavations

Bibliography concerning the scroll from the Rylands Library:

Moses Gaster, Handlist of Gaster Manuscripts Held Mostly in the British Library (formerly British Museum), London, and in the John Rylands Library, Manchester, London 1995.

Mendel Metzger, The Earliest Engraved Italian Megilloth, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 1966, 48/2, 381–432.

Its images (nos. JRL16041351-JRL16041356) are available on https://luna.manchester.ac.uk (accessed on 28.10.2020).

Selected bibliography concerning other scrolls decorated with the same border:

Cornelia Bodea, Treasures of Jewish Art. The 1673 Illuminated Scroll of Esther Offered to a Romanian Hierarch, Iaşi–Oxford–Palm Beach–Portland 2002.

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, 240-241.

Schöne Seiten. Jüdische Schriftkultur aus der Braginsky Collection, eds. Emile Schrijver, Falk Wiesemann, Evelyn M. Cohen, Sharon Liberman Mintz, Menahem Schmeltzer, Zurich 2011, 262-263.

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, 1:99-119, 2:64-69.

Dagmara Budzioch, "An Illustrated Scroll of Esther from the Collection of the Jewish Historical Institute as an Example of the Gaster I Megilloth," Kwartalnik Historii Żydów 2013, no. 3 (247), 533–547.

Short Name
Full Name
Dagmara Budzioch | 2020
Author of description
Dagmara Budzioch | 2020
Architectural Drawings
Computer Reconstruction
Section Head
Language Editor
Negative/Photo. No.