Cartouche 15 (upper margin): On the right, Ahasuerus sits on a throne topped with a canopy and holds a scepter in one hand and with the other hand, he points at Mordecai, who stands before him wearing a turban and an overcoat and bows slightly before the king (Es. 8:15). In the center, the figures are depicted fighting in a field; two men are lying on the ground. This is one of the moments when Jews battle their enemies but it is difficult to determine which particular verse is illustrated here (Es. 9:5-12). On the left, five men sit around a laid table. The scene most likely depicts the happiness of Jews at the news of the king's new decree (Es. 8:16-17).
Cartouche 16 (lower margin): Several figures are depicted fighting in a field flanked by buildings. Four soldiers holding spears emerge from the left and several bodies already lay on the ground. The scene can depict either Jews who battle their enemies (Es. 9:5-12) or an additional day of fights of Jews against their enemies (Es. 9:15-16).
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour (Es. 8:16-17)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Jews battle their enemies (Es. 9:5-12)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Additional day of fighting (Es. 9:15-16)
O | Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments | Floral motif
O | Ornamentation: | Endless knot
The scroll is formed of 3 membranes on which the Book of Esther is inscribed in 19 text columns (in 10 panels; 9 of them are double and the last one is single) with 22 lines each, except for the col. 16 with 11 lines divided into two parts.
The style of the script on sheets nos 2 and 3 is different than on the first sheet; the shade of ink is darker, the letters are smaller and the handwriting is denser even if the particular strokes are thinner. However, it still represents an Italian type of Hebrew square script. Possibly two different instruments were used for copying the text in the scroll.
The traditional enlarged and smaller letters are included only in the section of the IX chapter listing the names of Haman's sons (col. 16).
The ruling is visible, although not everywhere equally. In some places also the pricking can be seen.
The text is copied and the border is printed on the flesh side of the parchment sheets that are stitched together.
The name "Gaster I" was introduced by Mendel Metzger in an article entitled "The Earliest Engraved Italian Megilloth" published in the "Bulletin of the John Rylands Library" (48:2 (1966), 381‒432, esp. 390). The type was named after Moses Gaster (1856–1939), the rabbi, scholar, and manuscript collector of whose collections a scroll adorned with this pattern formed a part (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 descriptions of other scrolls representing the same pattern see ID nos: 61, 1098, 1441, 21702, and 34125.
Two paper stickers containing the Library's inscription: "Mss Regia Biblioteca Casanatense Roma" and the number "Mss. 4851" are pasted on the opening section of the scroll, on its recto and verso side. Above the sticker, on the recto side, handwritten date or number 1743 is visible.
On the upper part of the verso side of the first sheet, there is an inscription: "FFFIV* CAPSULA No 5".
In the ornamentation some traces of gold are visible.
The background of the upper and lower margins is painted in a few different hues of blue color; the paint on the lower margin of the third membrane is barely visible, whereas the shade on the first membrane is saturated.
The membranes represent different types of parchment.
This image belongs to the ''Ursula and Kurt Schubert Archive'' in the Center for Jewish Art.
The scroll is described in:
Valeria Antonioli Martelli, Luisa Mortara Ottolenghi, Manoscritti biblici ebraici decorati provenienti da biblioteche italiane pubbliche e private: catalogo della mostra ordinata presso la Biblioteca Trivulziana: catalogo della mostra ordinata presso la Biblioteca Trivulziana, Castello Sforzesco, Milano, 2/28 marzo 1966 (Milano: Adei-Wiso) 1966, 62-63, object 17 + plate no. 12. (It lists an additional bibliography discussing the manuscript.
Ernest Namenyi, "The Illumination of Hebrew Manuscripts after the Invention of Printing," in Cecil Roth (ed.), Jewish Art, an Illustrated History (London, 1961), col. 433.
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.