Obj. ID: 39595
Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts JHM Illustrated Esther Scroll with Roundels, Alsace (?), first quarter of the 18th century
In this richly decorated megillah, a variety of motifs in a unique arrangement fills all the available space on each membrane. The Hebrew text of the Book of Esther is written within mostly circular text panels (nos. 1-8 and 13), but the text Haman's sons by name (Es. 9:6-10) is written in the most popular layout with lines divided into two half-columns. The "rings" are formed of flowers (mainly roses), fruits (mainly grape bunches) and trees, animals (including griffins) and birds, human figures, and signs of the Zodiac. The spaces between the roundels are filled with illustrations from the Book of Esther and its midrashim, as well as portraits of the Purim story's protagonists.
It seems that this scroll and two other scrolls featuring the same style (see "Related objects) were executed by the same artist, although two of them are decorated with roundels, while the third one is decorated with octagons.
It seems that the final part of the manuscript was painted by another artist than the main part of the decorations.
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Esther story protagonists
A | Animals and Beasts
B | Bird
Z | Zodiac Signs
G | Griffin
M | Musician
M | Musical Instruments
P | Purim | Purim costume
B | Buildings
A | Acanthus Leaf
A | Angel
W | Woman | Nude
J | Jews
O | Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments | Floral motif
O | Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments | Flower
O | Ornamentation: | Main text framed
The manuscript is very well preserved.
The Book of Esther in Hebrew
The scroll is formed of 5 sheets, in total containing 13 text panels with 23 or 24 lines of different lengths, except for col. 11 which has 11 lines divided into two half-columns.
The number of columns of text per sheet: nos. 1-3 - 2 columns, no. 4 - 3 columns, no. 5 - 4 columns; 9 of them are framed in roundels.
The text is written in Hebrew square Ashkenazi script in brown ink on parchment membranes.
The letters ח (Es. 1:6) and ת (Es. 9:29) are slightly larger than an average letter in the scroll. Other enlarged and diminished letters are included in col. 11.
The letters of the name of God are marked with tagin bent to the right.
Col. 10 contains numerous elongated letters.
There are some corrections and erasures in the text.
The ruling is made with a hard point, but it is barely visible.
The pricking on the membranes' edges can be seen.
The membranes of the scroll are glued together.
A short description of the scroll and its images are available on https://data.jck.nl/page/aggregation/jhm-museum/M000440 (accessed on 9.08.2021).