In the lower-left corner of the third text column, the moment of death of Queen Vashti is depicted. The queen is kneeling between two women who strangulate her with a scarf. The scene is related to the extra-biblical tales saying that Vashti was killed after she refused to appear in front of the king during the feast. Most likely, the engraver was inspired by a similar illustration incorporated in the Amsterdam printed scrolls of the early 18th century that in the Index are called "the scrolls with portrait medallions" and "the scrolls with landscapes"; however, the direct source for this representation remains unknown.
The scroll is preserved in very good condition.
The Book of Esther in Hebrew with benedictions and liturgical poems for Purim.
The scroll consists of 4 sheets on which 11 text columns are printed (they include benedictions, liturgical poems, the complete text of the Megillah, and the engraver's colophon).
The initial word of the scroll is formed of large and decorative letters.
The section listing the names of Haman's sons (incorporated in col. 7) is printed in 11 lines divided into two half-columns. It contains enlarged and diminished letters.
The letters ח (Es. 1:6), ת (Es. 9:29), and the letters of the name of God are enlarged.
The sheets in the scroll are glued together.
The colophon of the artist-scribe is placed in a decorative frame at the end of the scroll, below the last column of the text. It bears the name of the artist (Mordechai sofer stam), the place (Nitra), and the date according to the Jewish calendar (597, i.e. 1837). It starts with the enlarged word formed of decorative letters.
ידעתי/גם ידעתי כי אנכי עפר/ ואפר ויאות לאיש כמוני/ להחפר כי מי אני/ לעשות לי שם בשם/ וסופר רק היינו טעמא/ דסופר להיות לזכרון/ אשר ידי תיכון אף/ זרועי תאמצני וימיני/ תסעדני בעזר האל אשר/ עזרני ועד הלום הביאני/ כ'ד מרדכי סופר סתם מק'ק' [קהילת קודש]/ נייטרא יעא תק'צ'ז ל'פ'ק' [לפרט קטן].
In institutional and private collections are stored other exemplars of the scrolls decorated with the same pattern.
The numbers of text columns given in the descriptions concern the columns in which the text of the Megillah is printed and do not concern the columns with the benedictions and liturgical poems.
Selected bibliography on other works by Mordecai Sofer of Nitra (Marcus Donath):
Zsuzsanna Toronyi, Héber betűk. Dokumentumok a Magyar Zsidó Levéltárból, Budapest 2012, 35.
Zsuzsanna Toronyi, Markus Donath / Mordecai Sofer Stam of Nitra, [in:] Emile, Schrijver Eds. Windows on Jewish Worlds. Essays in Honor of William Gross, Collector of Judaica, Amsterdam 2019, 246-271.
Ernő Naményi, „Ein ungarisch-jüdischer Kupferstecher der Biedermeierzeit (Markus Donath)”, [in:] Jubilee-Volume in Honour of Prof. Bernhard Heller, ed. A. Schreiber, Budapest 1941, 252‒257.
Alexander Scheiber, „Markus Donath’s Second Misrah-plate”, Studies in Bibliography and Booklore 1973-1974, no. 10, 80–82.
Alexander Scheiber, „Marcus Donath’s Mohel Book”, Studies in Bibliography and Booklore 1979, no. 12, 9–11.
Irina Wandrey, "Codex Levy 45”, Manuscript Cultures 2014, no. 6, 275–279.
Lot 198: A Hungarian Jewel-set Silver-gilt Miniature Torah Crown and Shield, Sotheby's A Treasured Legacy: The Michael and Judy Steinhardt Judaica Collection. New York 29 April 2013 available on https://www.sothebys.com (accessed on 22.03.2020).