Img. ID: 224693
Opening decoration: The scroll opens with a panel containing several narrative scenes from the Esther story. It is lower than the border itself and space below is filled with the inscription in the Latin alphabet that is only partly legible: "Megilas Esther ex ... Bibliotheker (?) ... a6"; the latter is a part of the inventory number of the manuscript. In the decorative panel, in the central part of the upper register, there is the royal couple seated on the throne with a canopy that is placed on a pedestal. The king and the queen are accompanied by courtiers; on the right, the princes of Media and Persia are standing (Es. 1:14) and Esther's maidservants on the left (Es. 2:9). Below, there are three rectangular frames: the central panel contains the benedictions recited before the Megillah reading, while the panel on the right shows the chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, hanging on two gallows (Es. 2:23), whereas the one on the left depicts Haman and his sons hanging on three gallows (Es. 7:10 and Es. 9:14 or Es. 9:25). The lowest register contains three episodes that are (from right to left): Mordecai receiving the clothes from Hatakh (Es. 4:4), Haman leads Mordecai through the streets of Susa (Es. 6:11), Esther and Mordecai write letters instructing the Jews to observe Purim (Es. 9:29).
In the upper margin, landscapes nos. 1 and 2 are printed and in the lower margin, there are two first frames with illustrations:
Frame 1: The fest of Ahasuerus is represented (Es. 1:3-8). Six men are seated at a round laid table. On either side of the table, servants are visible.
Frame 2: Queen Vashti is portrayed while she is strangled by two women standing on either side of her. During the execution, she stands with her arms spread, and her crown lies on the floor. The Book of Esther does not mention the fate of Vashti after her refusal of the king's order and the source for this representation remains unknown. The same theme, although illustrated in a slightly different way, can be found in the "Esther scrolls with portrait medallions" and their copies made by hand, as well as in the scrolls designed by Marcus Donath (Mordecai ben Jozl Sofer) of Nitra (see their descriptions in the Index).
| 8º A 6
L | Landscape
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | *Esther's Story Characters (depicted not in narrative scenes): | Ahasuerus and Esther, enthroned
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Seven maidens given to Esther (Es. 2:9)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Bigthan and Teresh hanged (Es. 2:23)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Haman's sons hanged (Es. 9:14)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Haman hanged (Es. 7:10)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Mordecai receiving clothes from Hatach (Es. 4:4)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Mordecai's triumph (Es. 6:11)
G | Garland
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus' banquet (Es. 1:3-8)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Execution of Vashti - strangulation
B | Basket | Basket with flowers
P | Putto (Putti in Plural)
A | Angel of Death | Angel's head
V | Vase
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Mordecai and Esther writing the Purim letter (Es. 9:29)
A | Acanthus Leaf
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus and the seven princes of Persia and Media (Es. 1:13-15) | Seven princes of Persia and Media (Es. 1:14)
This image belongs to the ''Ursula and Kurt Schubert Archive'' in the Center for Jewish Art.
The description was made solely on the basis of the images, with no access to the manuscript itself.
There are two variants of the scrolls decorated with this pattern that in the Index are marked "I" and "II". In some exemplars, just below the decorative herms, the pedestals with angel's heads and bases were added, therefore, the text panels are higher; this type is marked with "II". Whereas, the rest of the manuscripts containing no pedestals with angel's heads and bases are marked with "I". The latter are more numerous.
Similar narrative scenes are included in the scrolls with "portrait medallions" (see their descriptions in the Index); some of them are their mirror image.
The earliest scroll sharing similar engraved pattern is dated to 1701; this is the megillah BCM 25 from the Braginsky Collection in Zurich (see http://braginskycollection.com/esther-scrolls/; accessed on 22.04.2020).