The benediction sheet that is stitched to the right edge of the first membrane of the scroll (most likely, originally it was a separate sheet that later was stitched to the scroll; for the Italian communities it was customary to inscribe the benediction on the separate membranes). The decoration on the sheet is composed of three panels. In the central panel, there is a decorative cartouche with an oval field that is set on the blue background. It contains a Hebrew inscription by one of the previous owners of the manuscript, Yaakov Ha-Cohen (it is cited in full in the field "Scribal notes"). The previous inscription containing the name Yitzhak was erased. In the panel on the right, four benedictions recited before and after the Megillah reading are inscribed and they are followed by the liturgical poem for Purim Arur Haman. In the panel on the left, the poem is continued and below it, a flower is depicted.
| C-330 (formerly 6012)
Length of the sheets in the scroll: 1) (benediction sheet) ca. 650 mm, 2) 725 mm, 3) ca. 660 mm, 4) ca. 665 mm, 5) ca. 710 mm, 6) ca. 655 mm, 7) ca. 655 mm, 8) ca. 670 mm.
Dimensions of the selected details in the scroll:
- opening decoration (partly preserved, placed just after the benediction sheet): 150x55 mm;
- decorations between panels: 37-40 mm (width);
- decorations on the upper and lower margins: 47 mm (height);
- columns of text: 152-153x169-177 mm;
- panel 1: 147x171 mm;
- panel 3: 151x172 mm;
- panel 17: 153x177 mm;
- an average letter in the scroll: 4 mm (height);
- letters in col. 17: 10 mm;
- spaces between the lines of the text: 5 mm;
- an average letter in the liturgical poems: 2 mm (height);
- benediction panel: 150x172 mm;
- panel with "Korei Megillah" piyut: 150x173 mm;
- panel with cartouche with an inscription: 153x131 mm;
- final panel: 243x167 mm;
- cartouche in the final decoration: 193x165 mm;
- frames surrounding columns of text: 3 mm (blue paint) + 2 mm (gold paint).
The roller: 480 mm (height).
The benediction sheet is seriously damaged; it is seriously torn and the place was repaired with tape.
The opening decoration is partly preserved (around half of it is still visible).
The first sheet (at the center of col. 3) is torn and was partly sewn up.
A part of the second sheet is missing.
Parts of the text and decoration have flaked off (especially details colored with blue paint are damaged). Other parts of decoration are very well preserved.
The upper finial of the handle is partly broken.
The Book of Esther in Hebrew that is preceded by the benedictions recited before and after the Megillah reading followed by portions of the piyut Shoshanat Yaakov and the piyut Korei Megillah.
The scroll is formed of 8 membranes in total containing the benedictions and the liturgical poems (written on the first membrane) and 20 columns of text with 15 lines per each, except for col. 17 that has 11 lines divided into two half-columns. The first membrane contains benedictions and liturgical poems for Purim.
Membranes nos. 1-7 contain 3 columns of text and no. 8 contains 2 columns.
The text is written in square Italian script with tagin in dark brown ink on the flesh side of parchment membranes that are of medium thickness. The sides of membranes are different - the side of the text and decorations is brighter and smoother than the blank side that is yellower but the shade is not the same on all membranes.
The letters ח (Es. 1:6) and ת (Es. 9:29) are slightly larger than an average letter in the scroll. Enlarged and diminished letters are included in col. 17.
The letters in col. 16 are very narrow.
In col. 18, above the right arm of the ע letter in the word עשרת, several tiny dots are visible.
Some erasures and corrections are visible. Some other corrections are added above the lines, e.g. in col. 22 the word אדר was later added to the top left corner by another hand in light brown ink.
The ruling - horizontal and vertical lines - is made with a hard point and is barely visible. Only in the last panel, it is more visible.
The pricking is not visible.
The membranes in the scroll are sewn together by a leather thread.
The benedictions are written in the same script as the megillah itself. They start with enlarged word ברוך. The name of God is written as two letters י with a stroke above them. In the word אלהינו the letter ה is replaced by ק.
No tagin are added to the letters in the piyut Korei Megillah.
The ornamentation of the scroll shows a close relationship with several other decorated scrolls and ketubbot; see e.g. the scroll VI.7 (36), Klau Library, Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati (its images are available on https://mss.huc.edu/manuscripts/esther-scroll-vi-7/). On the basis of the latter, the manuscripts can be dated to the second half of the 18th century and connected with artists active in Ancona and/or Lugo.
All details are sketched in black ink and colored with blue, red, or old paints.
יעקב הכהן יצ"ו גרדיש ת"ו
Originally, the inscription contained the name Yaakov but the letters were erased and instead of the name Yitzhak Ha-Cohen was written (the traces of original letters are still discernible underneath). The spelling of the other name - Gardish - is uncertain because the letters are barely legible.
On the opening edge the former shelfmark - 6012 - is written on the blank side. The scroll was probably transferred to the Jewish Historical Institute in 1948 from the Central Storage of the Ministry of Culture and Art in Narożyn in the Kłodzko region, Wroclaw county.
Online collection of the ritual objects from the E. Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute is available on https://cbj.jhi.pl/documents/974907/0/ (accessed on 15.06.2021).
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, 1:135, 2:11-16.