The lavishly decorated scroll that represents the Griselini type. It is adorned with a printed border with the Hebrew text of the Book of Esther penned by a scribe within it. The main part of the pattern consists of a series of arcades, under which the text is inscribed. The text panels are interspersed by columns whose shafts are decorated with different patterns and bases contain a flower. Upper margins are filled with a balustrade on which are placed cartouches flanked by flowers and pairs of turkeys, roosters, parrots, or hoopoes with their heads turned away; on each membrane all four pairs in the same sequence are printed. Additionally, above cartouches between turkeys and parrots, double-headed eagles are placed, whereas turkeys or peacocks are above cartouches between roosters and hoopoes. The sections with birds are interspersed by vases with flowers or small citrus trees. Lower margins are decorated with figurative scenes illustrating the narrative of the Book of Esther set within Italian architecture; they are enclosed in rectangular frames separated by the columns' bases. The scrolls in this family consist either of four or five sheets with four text panels each; the scroll from the IM collection is an exception because it consists of 5 sheets with 18 text columns. In some Griselini scrolls, including the one from the IM collection, a part of the narrative scenes is printed in the improper order; some of them are printed twice in a particular scroll. Some illustrations are numbered with Arabic numerals.
The dimensions of the decorative details are as follows:
- a balustrade - ca. 28-30 mm (height);
- a frame with illustrations - ca. 75x30 mm;
- a flower-filled vase - ca. 30x40 mm;
- a segment with a pair of birds - ca. 40x90 mm;
- a column - ca. 22x100 mm
The Book of Esther in Hebrew
The scroll is formed of 5 (?) membranes with the text inscribed in 19 (?) text columns with 19 lines (?), except for col. 16 with 11 lines divided into two parts.
The text is inscribed in the Hebrew Italian square script with tagin, in black ink, on parchment sheets.
The letter ח (Es. 1:6) is highlighted by its form - it is composed of two parts joined with a roof. The letter ת (Es. 9:29) is highlighted by its size.
The membranes are stitched.
In the Index, megillot Esther confusingly similar to Griselini scrolls are called Pseudo-Griselini scrolls. Their pattern resembles also the decorations in the Gaster II scrolls but in them, there is no decoration at the beginning and the end (see descriptions of "Gaster II" and "Pseudo-Griselini" scrolls and in the Index).
Bibliography concerning Griselini scrolls from various collections:
Mendel Metzger, The Earliest Engraved Italian Megilloth, "Bulletin of the John Rylands Library", 48/2 (1966), esp. 406–432.
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, pp. 242–245 (additionally pp. 126-127 for the Bible of 1739 illustrated with Griselini's engravings).
Schöne Seiten. Jüdische Schriftkultur aus der Braginsky Collection, eds. Emile Schrijver, Falk Wiesemann, Evelyn M. Cohen, Sharon Liberman Mintz, Menachem Schmeltzer, Zurich 2011, pp. 264‒265 (additionally pp. 246-247 for the Bible of 1739 illustrated with Griselini's engravings).
Dagmara Budzioch, The Decorated Megillot Esther in the Moses Gaster Hebrew Manuscript Collection at the John Rylands Library: a comparative analysis with reference to Eighteenth-century Italian scrolls, "Journal of Semitic Studies. Supplementary Series", in print.
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, 1:128–136.
Biography of Griselini in Italian and bibliography available on http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/francesco-griselini_(Dizionario-Biografico)/ (accessed on 11.04.2020).