Sheet no. 1
Text column no. 2: In the upper margin, a bust of a man with a mustache and a cap on his head (Haman?) is shown. In the lower margin, Queen Vashti is portrayed while she is strangled by two women standing on either side of her. During the execution, she keels with hands folded on the chest, and the crown lies on the floor, behind her. The Book of Esther does not mention the fate of Vashti after her refusal of the king's order and the source for this representation is unknown.
Text column no. 3: In the upper margin, a bust of a young woman (Esther?) is depicted. The frame in the lower margins contains the depiction of the walled city. In the central part of the wall, there is a gate at which a man (Mordecai) is seated (Es. 2:19 and/or 2:21).
Text column no. 4: In the upper margin, a bust of a bearded man with a flat cap on the head (Mordecai?) is depicted. In the frame in the lower margin, a wedding ceremony of Ahasuerus and Esther is represented. The scene is witnessed by a group of men standing on the left and a group of women standing on the right. The Book of Esther does not mention this episode and the source for this representation remains unknown. It can be influenced by European paintings in which the scene of the marriage of the Virgin Mary and Josef was similarly composed. This can also explain the dress of a man standing in the center that refers to the high priest's robes.
In the octagons separating the frames are depicted (from the right to the left): 1) a (palace?) garden with a fountain, 2) a cityscape with the sun shining over a city, 3) a ship on the sea, 4) a landscape with hills and a castle (?; on the second membrane).
Length of the sheets in the scroll: 1) 575 mm, 2) 395 mm, 3) 385 mm, 4) 500 mm.
Dimensions of the selected details in the scroll:
- text panel: 110x70 mm;
- opening decoration with the first column: 145 mm (width);
- frames with illustration(s): 31x70 mm (inner dimensions);
- an average letter: 2 mm (height);
- letters in the initial word of the scroll: 5 mm (height);
- an average letter in benedictions: 2 mm .
The roller: 400 mm (height).
A | Acanthus Leaf
C | Columns
L | Landscape
O | Ornamentation: | Architectonic motif
G | Garland
P | Putto (Putti in Plural)
M | Mask
O | Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments | Floral motif
H | Human Figure | Bust (Human figure)
O | Ornamentation: | Main text framed
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Execution of Vashti - strangulation
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Mordecai at the king's gate (Es. 2:19 and/or 2:21)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus' and Esther's wedding
A | Angel of Death | Angel's head
There are serious damages to the print on the first sheet and the final section of the scroll.
The text in many places is faded.
The sheets, but especially the first one, are crumpled.
The Book of Esther in Hebrew with initial and final benedictions, and a liturgical poem אשר הניא "Asher Heni"
The scroll is formed of 4 sheets containing a total of 16 columns of text and two additional benediction panels at the beginning and the end of the manuscript. Each column includes 24 lines of text, except for col. 14 with 11 lines divided into two half-columns.
Every sheet comprises 4 columns of the text.
The text is inscribed in the Hebrew square script with tagin, in brown ink, on the flesh side of parchment membranes of different thicknesses. The side of the text and decorations is brighter and smoother than the other one that is suede.
The scroll opens with an enlarged and bolded initial word.
The letter ח (Es. 1:6) is highlighted by its and form - it is very wide, composed of two elements joined with a roof, and is decorated with scrolled feet. The letter ת (Es. 9:29) is enlarged and bolded. Other enlarged and diminished letters are included in col. 14.
In some places, letters פ with a flourish inside can be seen.
The letter ע in the final word of the scroll is decorated.
The ruling is invisible.
The pricking is visible only at the very end of the scroll, close to the roller.
The sheets in the scroll are stitched together.
The benedictions: The initial benedictions are inscribed in the central panel of the opening decoration. Two of the formulas are inscribed partly in square and partly in semi-cursive script, while the third one is penned in a square script.
The final blessing starts with a printed word ברוך placed in the upper margin and is copied in a square script. In the column below it, the Purim poem is copied in a semi-cursive script but the letters opening the subsequent verses are inscribed in the square script (they are bolded too). The first word - אשר - is enlarged and bolded.
Before the opening decoration, there is a blank space that is 80 mm wide.
The text in column no. 14 is printed.
No bibliography on the manuscript is available but other scrolls sharing the same pattern are discussed in:
Jiřina Šedinová, From the Mss. Collections of the State Jewish Museum in Prague. The Scrolls of Esther, "Judaica Bohemiae" 1979, nr 15/2, 80-83.
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, 234-237.
Schöne Seiten. Jüdische Schriftkultur aus der Braginsky Collection, eds. Emile Schrijver, Falk Wiesemann, Evelyn M. Cohen, Sharon Liberman Mintz, Menahem Schmeltzer, Zurich 2011, 282-283.
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, 1:176-188.