Obj. ID: 37656
Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts MTAK Griselini-Related Esther Scroll, Venice (?), mid-18th century
The manuscript represents the Griselini-Related scrolls whose decoration imitates the scheme designed by Francesco Griselini (see "Griselini scrolls" in the Index). All Griselini-Related scrolls are formed of five sheets with four text panels on each membrane and are produced in the mixed technique of the decorative border that is printed and the hand-written text. Its general composition is the same as in the Griselini scrolls and only minor details such as dogs present in the narrative scenes and the checkered floor, differ them.
The scheme is based on the row of arcades under which individual columns of the Hebrew text of the Book of Esther are inscribed (it is copied in 19 columns and the last panel is blank). The text panels are separated by columns whose shafts are decorated with varying patterns and whose bases contain floral designs. The upper margins feature cartouches flanked by flowers, pairs of turkeys, roosters, parrots, or hoopoes with their heads turned away from each other on top of a balustrade; all four pairs of birds are printed in the same sequence continuously. On top of the cartouches between turkeys and parrots, there are crowned double-headed eagles, whereas turkeys or peacocks are placed above cartouches between roosters and hoopoes. Vases, flowers, and small citrus trees are interspersed regularly throughout the birds.
The lower margins are decorated with figurative scenes illustrating the narrative of the Book of Esther. They feature Italian architecture and are enclosed in rectangular frames separated by the columns' floral bases.
The same pattern repeats along with the scroll and only the narrative scenes on the subsequent sheets are different.
To the right edge of the first membrane, a wooden pull bar is attached and the manuscript is stored in a wooden case with a Hebrew inscription ירושלם on it.
The illustrations show numerous common features with the scrolls representing Klagsbald and Gaster II types (see in the Index) but they are more detailed; especially more figures are included in them.
The last lunette is blank.
The columns between the text panels are decorated with different ornaments.
The plants in the vases represent possibly carnations and tulips, and orange and lemon trees.
| Ms. Kaufmann A15
O | Ornamentation: | Architectural frame
C | Columns
V | Vase | Vase with flowers
O | Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments | Flower
O | Ornamentation: | Cartouche
A | Arch
B | Bird
An average letter: 2 mm (height).
The spaces between the lines of the text are equal to the letters' height.
The case: ca. 530 mm.
The manuscript is in good condition, although the last sheet is torn in its lower part and the last text panel is partly preserved.
The sheets are crumpled in some places.
The text and decorations are well preserved.
The Book of Esther in Hebrew
The scroll is formed of 5 sheets containing 19 columns of the text with 23 lines, except for col. 16 with 11 lines divided into two parts. The last text panel is blank.
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.
The letter ח (Es. 1:6) is highlighted by its form - it contains two elements joined with a roof and it is slightly larger than an average letter in the scroll. The letter ת (Es. 9:29) is slightly larger. Other enlarged and diminished letters are included in col. 16.
The ruling is made with a hardpoint, but the lines are barely visible.
The membranes in the scroll are stitched.
The manuscript belonged to the collection of David Kaufmann (1852-1899); for information about the collection see http://kaufmann.mtak.hu/index-en.html (accessed on 11.01.2021).
The scroll is described in:
Max (Miksa) Weisz, Katalog der hebräischen Handschriften und Bücher in der Bibliothek des Professors D. Kaufmann, Frankfurt am Main 1906, no. 15, p. 5.
The KTIV website (https://web.nli.org.il).
Scrolls sharing the same pattern are discussed for example in:
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.