Obj. ID: 35194
Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts GFC Esther Scroll with Octagonal Text Panels, Alsace (?), first quarter of the 18th century
In this lavishly illustrated scroll, each octagonal column of the Hebrew text of Esther is surrounded by a frame, except for the seventh column. Each framed column of text is surrounded by six or seventh decorations: mainly narrative scenes from the Esther story and midrashim, but also human figures, including the story’s protagonists, numerous musicians, various birds and animals, buildings, and garlands. Figures are dressed in fashionable costumes of the artist’s time, including wigs and hair done. These strongly contrast with Jewish clothing common in numerous communities of the 17th and 18th centuries.
In the depiction of the feast by the king and the queen, the name "Esther" in pencil is written.
It seems the frames of the panels were originally painted with gold paint.
The opening section of the scroll is damaged and the membrane is crumpled here.
Some parts of the decorations are faded but still, the general condition of the manuscript is good.
The Book of Esther in Hebrew
The scroll is formed of 4 sheets, in total containing 8 columns of text with 41 or 42 lines each, except for col. 7 which has 11 lines divided into two half-columns.
Every membrane contains two columns of text; 7 of them are framed in octagons of various sizes and one is not framed.
The text is written in Hebrew square Ashkenazi script with tagin in brown ink on parchment membranes.
The letters ח (Es. 1:6) and ת (Es. 9:29) and the letters of the name of God are enlarged and bolded. Other enlarged and diminished letters are included in col. 7.
There are some corrections and erasures in the text.
The ruling is made with a hard point, along with the sheets, but only be seen only in the decorations between the panels.
The pricking on the membranes' edges can be seen.
The membranes of the scroll are glued together.
No comprehensive discussion on the scroll is available but the fragments are reproduced in numerous publications, e.g.:
Marc Michael Epstein, Skies of Parchment, Seas of Ink: Jewish Illuminated Manuscripts, Princeton, New Jersey 2015, pp. 15, 191, 219.