Img. ID: 340706
Sheet no. 4
Roundel 9 is comprised of various fruits.
Between the roundels: at the top is an unidentified figure of a man shown from behind while writing with a quill on a wall; in his other hand, he holds a scroll (one of the decrees?). The scene may allude to the new decree being publicly displayed in each city (Es. 8:13). Below stands a man in a long gown - possibly Mordecai in royal robes (Es. 8:15). A narrow text column is incorporated between roundels 9 and 11.
Roundel 11 intersperses text and image differently from every other roundel in this manuscript. Next to the half-column of text on the right stands a woman wearing a long dress with a veil, her face covered with another veil; possibly she is Haman's wife, Zeresh, lamenting her sons and the image alludes to one of the piyutim. On the opposite side, next to the second column of the text, there is a man with a raised hand. His clothing and the book he is holding suggest that he is Mordecai. The figure of a Jewish boy sitting on the grass between the two parts of the text, witnessing this event, does not seem to be related to any textual source; similarly, it is difficult to interpret the ring he is holding. The motif is unique to this manuscript. The body of Haman hangs above the boy, while the vizier's sons, which vary in dress, height, and position, are suspended from symbolically drawn gallows comprising the circumference of the circle.
Between the roundels, at the top, is the feast - likely one of the banquets after the victory of Jews over their enemies; it may allude to the first Purim feast (Es. 9:17-23). Below, two men in Purim costumes are depicted.
Length of the sheets in the scroll: 1) 425 mm, 2) 700 mm, 3) 695 mm, 4) 690 mm, 5) 730 mm, 6) ca. 675 mm.
Dimensions of the selected details in the scroll:
- an average roundel outside: 280 mm;
- an average roundel inside: 207 mm;
- an average letter: 3 mm;
- spaces between the lines of the text: 5 mm.
T | Tree
F | Fruits
P | Purim | Purim costume
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Mordecai before Ahasuerus in royal apparel (Es. 8:15)
H | Human Figure
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Haman and his ten sons hanged (Es. 9:25)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | *Esther's Story Characters (depicted not in narrative scenes): | Mordecai, the Jew
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Zeresh lamenting
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | First Purim feast (Es. 9:17-23)
O | Ornamentation: | Main text framed
The manuscript lacks its opening section but the remaining part of the manuscript is preserved in good condition.
The decoration is quite well preserved and the text is in perfect condition.
The sheets are rather dirty and dark; this concerns especially the opening and final parts of the scroll.
On the first membrane, some white stains are visible.
The Book of Esther in Hebrew but the text is incomplete; currently, it starts at Es. 2:7.
The scroll is formed of 6 sheets containing 13 text panels in total with 21-24 lines each, except for roundel 11 which has 11 lines divided into two half-columns.
The text between roundels 9 and 11 is not written within a roundel but a very narrow column.
The text is written in Hebrew Ashkenazi script with tagin in black ink on the parchment membranes of medium thickness but rather stiff, suede, and dark.
The length of the lines of the text differs so they fit the space in the roundels.
The letter ת (Es. 9:29) is highlighted by its size. Enlarged and diminished letters are included in roundel 11.
The highlighted letters of the Tetragrammaton are marked in roundels 1 and 3.
The ruling - made with a hard point - along with the breaks between membranes is visible.
The pricking is visible on the sheets' edges.
The membranes in the scroll are glued together.
The details suggest that the text was penned and decorated by the same person.
The decoration of the scroll shows some common features with the Book of Psalms of 1706 by Shabetai Scheftel ben Zalman Auerbach and Esther scroll C-325 from the JHI collection in Warsaw (see "Related objects").
In the scroll, figures in the biblical narrative are depicted as belonging to the higher social class of the artist’s day. These possibly represent court Jews, who could also be patrons and users of these manuscripts.
The scroll is discussed in:
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, 1:248-272.
Its images (nos. JRL16052165-JRL16052169) are available on https://luna.manchester.ac.uk (accessed on 28.10.2020).