In the upper margin, a bust of a young woman and a bust of the king are depicted and in the lower margin, there are two frames:
Frame 10: A long two-story building is depicted that can be a symbolic representation of the king’s palace. In the text panel above, the scene of hanging of Haman’s ten sons (Es. 9:14) is represented. On every beam of very high gallows, a single body is hanged. A high ladder leans on it and on its top an executioner is sitting. The names of the ten sons of Haman are printed and not copied by hand. The background behind them is filled with a filigree motif, whereas the background behind the gallows is blank.
Frame 11: On the right, two mounted troops are represented as fighting together. The clothing of the men on the left suggests that they are Jews who are fighting their enemies approaching from the opposite direction. This is one of the moments in the narrative when Jews battle their enemies but it is difficult to determine which particular episode is illustrated here (Es. 9:5-12). On the left, the royal couple sitting on the throne is represented, however, it is unclear which episode it illustrates; it can be the moment when Esther pleads with the king for an additional day of fights (Es. 9:13).
The last membrane contains two more text columns, invisible in the image.
In the octagons separating the frames are depicted (from right to left): 1) a landscape with a bridge over the river, 2) a house with a sun shining over it, 3) a landscape with a building on a hill.
L | Landscape
O | Ornamentation: | Architectonic motif
O | Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments | Foliate motif
P | Putto (Putti in Plural)
G | Garland
B | Basket | Basket with flowers
A | Acanthus Leaf
B | Buildings
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) | Esther asks the king for an additional day of fighting (Es. 9:13)
The lower margin of the second membrane is seriously damaged; some of its parts are missing.
The sewings are in poor condition and not esthetic.
The Book of Esther in Hebrew with the benedictions recited before the Megillah reading and the liturgical poem Asher Heni
The scroll is formed of 3 membranes containing benedictions recited before the Megillah reading + 12 columns of text + a final benediction panel. Each column includes 32 lines of text, except for col. 10 with 11 lines divided into two half-columns (the text in it is printed and not copied by hand).
Every sheet comprises 4 columns of the text each and the last sheet, additionally contains the benediction panel.
The text is inscribed in the Hebrew square script, in brown ink, on the flesh side of parchment membranes.
The scroll opens with an enlarged and bolded initial word.
The letter ח (Es. 1:6) is highlighted by its size (it is enlarged and bolded), form (it is composed of two elements joined with a roof and it is decorated with scrolled feet). The letter ת (Es. 9:29) is enlarged and bolded. Other enlarged and diminished letters are included in col. 10, however, this part of the scroll is printed and not penned by a scribe.
The final verse of the scroll is written in larger letters decorated with tagin.
There are some erasures and corrections in the text.
The ruling and pricking are invisible.
The sheets in the scroll are stitched together.
The benedictions: The initial benedictions are inscribed in the semi-cursive letters in the central panel of the opening decoration. All three words ברוך are enlarged and bolded.
The final blessing starts with a printed word ברוך placed in the upper margin and is copied in a square script. In the column below it, the Purim poem is copied in a square script. The letters opening the subsequent verses are enlarged and bolded.
Similar narrative scenes are included in "the scrolls with landscapes" (see their descriptions in the Index); some of them are their mirror image.
The scroll from the JHM collection is an exception because it contains only three sheets and not four as all other megillot decorated with this border. Sheet no. 3 is absent in the scroll, therefore some episodes (e.g. the triumph of Mordecai) are not represented in it.
In the last panel, just below the text of the Megillah, an inscription in Hebrew is written.
A short description of the scroll and images are available on https://data.jck.nl/page/aggregation/jhm-museum/M000414 (accessed on 17.07.2021).
Manuscripts sharing the same pattern are described in:
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, 234-237.
Schöne Seiten. Jüdische Schriftkultur aus der Braginsky Collection, eds. Emile Schrijver, Falk Wiesemann, Evelyn M. Cohen, Sharon Liberman Mintz, Menahem Schmeltzer, Zurich 2011, 282-283.
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, 1:176-188.
Jiřina Šedinová, From the Mss. Collections of the State Jewish Museum in Prague. The Scrolls of Esther, "Judaica Bohemiae" 1979, nr 15/2, 80-83.