Obj. ID: 34772
Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts MAHJ Gold Esther Scroll, Italy, 1785
In this lavishly decorated and illustrated scroll, the Hebrew text of the Book of Esther is set within arcades supported by pillars and decorated with garlands of greenery, fruits, and flowers. The upper margins are embellished with a cornice and garlands. The lower margins are filled with a series of figurative scenes chronicling the Book of Esther narrative. These scenes are enframed in ovals separated by the pillars' bases. The whole architectonic frame is colored with gold metallic paint. The same decoration repeats along the megillah.
A separate, undecorated, benediction sheet is rolled together with the scroll and they are mounted on a wooden rod.
A scroll decorated with the same gold architectonic frame is stored by the Klau Library at the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati; scroll 35, formerly - XV.9.
Illustration no. 16 (sheet no. 4) represents a different style of drawing.
The Book of Esther's protagonists are depicted in fashionable costumes and wigs.
| inv. D.98.04.076.CL
C | Columns
I | Illustration
G | Garland
The length of the membranes in the scroll: 1) 750 mm, 2) 800 mm, 3) ca. 785 mm, 4) ca. 125 mm, 5) ca. 780 mm.
Dimensions of the selected details in the scroll:
- text panel - ca. 155x123 mm (not all are of equal size);
- illustration - ca. 42x125 mm;
- decoration in the upper margins - ca. 55 mm (height);
- decoration between the text panels - ca. 44 mm;
- an average letter: 3 mm (height)
- letters in col. 16: 6 mm high.
A separate benediction sheet - 75x215 mm.
An average letter is 2 mm high.
The roller: 475 mm (height).
The Book of Esther in Hebrew accompanied by a separate benediction sheet with the text of ארור המן Arur Haman
Scroll: comprised of 5 sheets containing 19 text columns with 22 lines, except for col. 16 with 11 lines divided into two parts.
The text is inscribed in black ink on the flesh side of the parchment, which is thick and stiff; the recto side is brighter than the verso side, which is rather yellow. The verso side of the third sheet is very dark.
The letters of the square Italian script are decorated with tagim but lack dots at the end of their strokes.
The letters ח (Es. 1:6) and ת (Es. 9:29) are enlarged. Other enlarged and diminished letters are included in col. 16.
The membranes are stitched together.
Benediction sheet: the text is written in a square script with tagim. The parchment is very thin.
Victor Klagsbald, Catalogue raisonné de la collection juive du Musée de Cluny, Paris 1981, 68-69, object 76.
A short description in French and an image of the manuscript are available at https://www.mahj.org/en/decouvrir-collections-betsalel/rouleau-d-esther-50119 (accessed on 22.04.2020).