The third and the fourth columns of text (sheet no. 1) are inscribed within the printed border. In the lower margin, the third and the fourth frames are placed:
Frame 3 (right): On the left, a group of people is depicted; they are Esther and other women, servants (?), and guards. Possibly more women are brought to the palace in a carriage drawn by two horses that are shown in the central part of the panel (Es. 2:8).
Frame 4 (left): The scene is difficult for an unambiguous interpretation. On the right, the group of people is shown; they can be maidens that were given to Esther (Es. 2:9) or one of the groups of women who were brought to the king's palace (e.g. Es. 2:19). Similarly, it is difficult to interpret if in the carriage (depicted on the left) Esther is coming or other maidens are brought to the palace.
Length of the sheets in the scroll: 1) 540 mm, 2) 465 mm, 3) 465 mm, 4) 465 mm, 5) ca. 500 mm + a narrow strip of parchment joining the scroll with a roller.
Dimensions of the selected details in the scroll:
- the print is 460 mm (width);
- frame with the narrative scene(s): 28x75 mm;
- an average letter: 3 mm (height).
The roller: ca. 470 mm.
V | Vase | Vase with flowers
C | Columns
O | Ornamentation: | Cartouche
O | Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments | Flower
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Esther and maiden(s) are brought to the palace (Es. 2:8)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Esther’s arrival at the palace (Es. 2:8)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Seven maidens given to Esther (Es. 2:9)
P | Parrot
B | Bird | Hoopoe
O | Ornamentation: | Main text framed
The manuscript is well preserved. Only the first sheet is slightly damaged and some damages are visible in the text too.
The Book of Esther in Hebrew
The scroll is formed of 5 sheets containing a total of 20 columns of text with 23 lines each, except for col. 17 with 11 lines divided into two half-columns. In the first line of the column, only one or two words are written.
The last several lines in col. 16 are penned in very narrow letters. In col. 17, above the names of Haman's sons, several lines of the text are inscribed. It seems this section was erased and copied again in col. 16, therefore the letters must be very narrow to fit the column.
Every sheet contains 4 columns of text.
The text is inscribed in the Hebrew square Italian script with tagin, in black ink on the flesh side of the parchment membranes that is bright and matt. The blank side of the sheets is very different - it is yellow, very smooth, and traces of hair are well visible.
The letter ח (Es. 1:6) is highlighted by its form - it contains two elements joined with a roof and it is larger than an average letter in the scroll. The letter ת (Es. 9:29) is enlarged and bolded. Other enlarged and diminished letters are included in col. 17.
The ruling and pricking are invisible.
The membranes in the scroll are stitched together.
Blots of ink are visible on some frames surrounding the illustrations.
Victor Klagsbald, Catalogue raisonné de la collection juive du Musée de Cluny, Paris 1981, p. 66-67, object 74.
Mendel Metzger, The Earliest Engraved Italian Megilloth, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 1966, 48/2, 381–432, esp. 416-432 (here the scrolls are called "post-Griselini").
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, 1:135-138.