Cartouche 7 (upper margin): On the right, a man (Haman?) dictates the decree against Jews to a scribe who sits at a table before him and is attended by two other men (Es. 3:12). On the left, the crowned Esther in a courtyard surrounded by a wall is depicted. A man (possibly her servant, Hatach) wearing a turban is facing her as if speaking and two maid-servants stand behind her. In the background, in front of the palace gate, another man in a turban on his head (most likely Mordecai) is shown (Es. 4:4).
Cartouche 8 (lower margin): Both episodes included in the cartouche depict Hatach who delivers the messages between Esther and Mordecai. On the right, Esther sits on a throne topped by a canopy, flanked by two maid-servants, holding a scepter in her left hand. She is pointing at a man (possibly Hatach) who stands facing her and raises his hands in a gesture of speech (Es. 4:5). On the left, Mordecai stands with folded arms within the palace gate facing a man (Hatach?) who also raises his hands in a gesture of speech (Es. 4:5-7).
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Esther is informed of the plot by her maiden(s) and servant(s) (Es. 4:4)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Esther sends Hatach to speak to Mordecai (Es. 4:5)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Hatach before Mordecai (Es. 4:5-7)
O | Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments | Floral motif
O | Ornamentation: | Endless knot
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Scribe(s) writing Haman's decree (Es. 3:12)
Membranes are stitched together
The name "Gaster I" was introduced by Mendel Metzger in his article entitled "The Earliest Engraved Italian Megilloth" (see "Bibliography"). The type was named after Moses Gaster (1856–1939), the rabbi, scholar, and manuscript collector, who owned a scroll adorned with this pattern (at present this is the scroll Gaster Hebrew MS 710 stored in the John Rylands Library in Manchester). At least 25 manuscripts representing this type are still extant and are preserved in private and institutional collections. For their descriptions see "Related objects".
The pattern features a number of decorative elements common with the scrolls of Klagsbald type.
Bibliography concerning the scroll from the NL:
National Library of Israel (catalogue)
Selected bibliography concerning other scrolls decorated with the same border:
Mendel Metzger, The Earliest Engraved Italian Megilloth, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 1966, 48/2, 381–432.
Cornelia Bodea, Treasures of Jewish Art. The 1673 Illuminated Scroll of Esther Offered to a Romanian Hierarch, Iaşi–Oxford–Palm Beach–Portland 2002.
A Journey through Jewish Worlds: Highlights from the Braginsky Collection of Hebrew Manuscripts and Printed Books, eds. Evelyn M. Cohen, Emile Schrijver, Sharon Liberman Mintz, Amsterdam 2009, 240-241.
Schöne Seiten. Jüdische Schriftkultur aus der Braginsky Collection, eds. Emile Schrijver, Falk Wiesemann, Evelyn M. Cohen, Sharon Liberman Mintz, Menahem Schmeltzer, Zurich 2011, 262-263.
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, 1:99-119, 2:64-69.
Dagmara Budzioch, "An Illustrated Scroll of Esther from the Collection of the Jewish Historical Institute as an Example of the Gaster I Megilloth," Kwartalnik Historii Żydów 2013, no. 3 (247), 533–547.