Under Reconstruction!
Art Alone

Img. ID: 2502

© Center for Jewish Art, Photographer: Unknown,
<p>Col. 1:</p> <p>Top margin: A city-scape, represented by a crowded group of buildings and towers, is depicted in the top margin with the Hebrew inscription, שושן, Shushan. The buildings have pointed roofs, wide arches and many windows and the towers are surmounted by spires. To the right of the city, above the margin on the right, is a scene of stags and birds among trees.</p> <p>The margin to the right of the text column contains four scenes within rectangular panels set one above the other.</p> <p>The upper panel contains a crowded cityscape with buildings and towers, representing the land of Persia. The buildings have pointed roofs, wide arches and many windows. The towers are surmounted by tall spires and a flag flies from one of them. The Hebrew word,,פרס "Persia", is inscribed twice above the scene.</p> <p>The panel, second from the top in the margin on the right, contains a scene of Ahasuerus sitting on an ornate throne. He is crowned and bearded and holds a scepter. A Hebrew inscription is written above the scene on the right, as follows: אחשורוש יושב על כסא מלכותו, Ahasuerus seated on the throne of his kingdom" (Es. 1:2).</p> <p>The second panel from the bottom, in the right margin, contains a city- scape which represents the land of Media. The city is crowded with buildings and towers. The buildings have pointed roofs, wide arches and many windows and the towers are surmounted by tall spires. A Hebrew inscription is written above the scene as follows, מדי, "Media".</p> <p>The bottom panel in the margin to the right of the text column contains a scene of Ahasuerus sitting on a throne at the head of a laid table. He wears a soft, pointed cap and lifts a goblet.  Three more figures sit around the table. The figure on the left raises a goblet towards the king and the figure on the right holds a cup and faces a servant who approaches from the right with a tray of food. A dog stands at the feet the servant. Dishes and goblets are arranged on the table and a pot containing three vessels rests on the floor by the table. A Hebrew inscription is written above the scene on the right as follows, ויעש המלך משתה, "and the king made a feast" (Es. 1:5).</p> <div> <div>The bottom margin contains a scene of Vashti sitting on a throne on the left at the head of a long laid table. She holds a cup in her left hand and a flask in her right. Ten women sit around the table, holding cups and spoons. One of the women sits before the table playing with a dog. Another dog jumps up on the right.Dishes and goblets are arranged on the table. A maidservant stands on the right holding a ladle in one hand and resting her other hand on a vessel. Another vessel stands on the ground to her left.</div> <div>A Hebrew inscription is written above the scene on the left,גם ושתי המלכה עשתה משתה נשים "Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women" (Es.</div> <div>1:9).</div> <div> </div> </div>
JHI Sepia Esther Scroll | Unknown
Object Detail
Col. 1
18th century (1740?)
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Unknown (Unknown)
Europe | Central Europe
| Vienna (?)
Historical Origin
Community type
Unknown |
Unknown |
Period Detail
Documentation / Research project
Ink on parchment
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Construction material
The scroll: ca. 190 mm x ca. 1590 mm.
Length of the sheets in the scroll: 1) 685 mm, 2) ca. 680 mm, 3) ca. 225 mm.
Dimensions of the selected details in the scroll:
- text panels: 131-135 x ca. 82-123 mm;
- text panel 9: 134 x 106 mm;
- decorations in the spaces between the text panels: ca. 26-35 mm (width);
- opening decoration 178x55 mm;
- the blank section on the right edge of the first membrane: 37 mm (width);
- decorations in the upper and lower margins: ca. 23 mm;
- an average letter: ca. 2 mm (height);
- the letter ח in Es. 1:6: 4 mm (height);
- letters in col. 9: 8 mm (height).
Panel Measurements

The manuscript (the text, the decorations, and the parchments) is well preserved, although the membranes are crumpled in some places.

The opening section of the scroll is dirty.

Documented by CJA
Surveyed by CJA
Present Usage
Present Usage Details
Condition of Building Fabric
Architectural Significance type
Historical significance: Event/Period
Historical significance: Collective Memory/Folklore
Historical significance: Person
Architectural Significance: Style
Architectural Significance: Artistic Decoration
Urban significance
Significance Rating
Languages of inscription
Type of grave

The Book of Esther in Hebrew


The scroll is formed of 3 membranes containing a total of 11 text columns with 27 lines per each, except for the col. 9 with 11 lines divided into two half-columns.

The membranes contain respectively 4, 5, and 2 columns of text.

The text is written in Hebrew square Ashkenazi stam script in light brown ink but the illustrations are captioned in the semi-cursive script.

The text and decorations are placed on the flesh side of parchment membranes that are very thin, delicate, and soft. The side of the text and decorations is brighter and smoother than the blank side of the membranes but both sides are similar.

The letters in col. 9, the letters forming the names of God, as well as ח in Es. 1:6 and ת in Es. 9:29, are darker and larger than an average letter in the scroll.

Col. 8 contains numerous elongated letters.

The ruling is made by a hardpoint on the flesh side and is barely discernible. It is ruled across the width of each sheet and 1+1 vertical lines for each column of text.

The pricking is visible on the outer and inner margins of every membrane.

The membranes in the scroll are sewn by sinew threads.

Number of Lines
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Façade (main)
Location of Torah Ark
Location of Apse
Location of Niche
Location of Reader's Desk
Location of Platform
Temp: Architecture Axis
Arrangement of Seats
Location of Women's Section
Direction Prayer
Direction Toward Jerusalem
Coin Series
Coin Ruler
Coin Year


Scribal Notes
Trade Mark
Decoration Program
Summary and Remarks

In verse Es. 2:3 (שמר הנשים ונתון תמרקיהן) some letters are marked by tagin (here they are bolded). This may be the way how the date of creation of the scroll was marked - 5500 that is 1739 or 1740 according to the Gregorian calendar.

The decorations are executed in the same ink that was used for writing the text.

The workmanship of the third membrane is slightly different than on the two remaining membranes.

Some drawings are very precisely executed (e.g. costumes, the crown of the king).

It seems the opening edge of the scroll was trimmed.

Suggested Reconsdivuction

The scroll was transferred in 1948 to the JHI from the Central Storage of the Ministry of Culture and Art in Narozyn (in the region of Klodzko in Wroclaw county).

On the blank side of the opening section, the former shelfmarks 6715 and 405 are written on a sticker and the JHI shelfmark, ŻIH C-254/5 and C-326 are written on the parchment.

Main Surveys & Excavations

Online collection of the ritual objects from the E. Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute is available on http://cbj.jhi.pl/collections/964689 (accessed on 12.06.2021).

Iwona Brzewska, Magdalena Sieramska, Katalog, rzemiosło artystyczne, [in:] Muzeum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego. Zbiory artystyczne, Warsaw 1995, 34, fig. 60.

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, 1:228-248, 2: 27-32.

Short Name
Full Name
Yaffa Levy; Keren Katzir; Dagmara Budzioch | 1994; 2019
Author of description
Yaffa Levy; Keren Katzir; Dagmara Budzioch | 1994; 2019
Architectural Drawings
Computer Reconstruction
Section Head
Language Editor
Negative/Photo. No.