Cartouche 5 (upper margin): In the center, the bearded Ahasuerus, shown here wearing a turban, is seated on the canopied throne, flanked by eight men also in turbans who sit on benches. Both of the king's hands are outstretched: in one of them, he holds a crown which he is about to place on the head of Esther, who kneels before him. Behind her, four women stand (Es. 2:17).
Cartouche 6 (lower margin): On the right, Mordecai is shown wearing a turban, standing within a gate in the wall, and looking at two men who are probably Bigthan and Teresh (Es. 2:21). On the left, Haman is approaching Ahasuerus who is sitting on a raised throne with a canopy. The king holds a scepter in one hand and a ring in the other, which he gives to Haman. A man wearing a turban stands behind the throne (Es. 2:22). In the center of the cartouche, there is a fountain.
Cartouche 7 (upper margin): On the right, a man (possibly Haman) dictates the decree against the Jews to a scribe who sits at a table, attended by two other men (Es. 3:12). On the left, the crowned Esther is shown in a courtyard surrounded by a wall. A man (possibly her servant, Hatach) wearing a turban is facing her as if speaking, and two maid-servants stand behind her. In the background, in front of the palace gate, another man in a turban (most likely Mordecai) is shown (Es. 4:4).
Cartouche 8 (lower margin): Both episodes included in the cartouche depict Hatach delivering the messages between Esther and Mordecai. On the right, Esther sits on a throne topped by a canopy, flanked by two maid-servants, holding a scepter in her left hand. She is pointing at a man (possibly Hatach) who stands facing her and raises his hands in a gesture of speech (Es. 4:5). On the left, Mordecai stands with folded arms within the palace gate facing a man (Hatach) who also raises his hands in a gesture of speech (Es. 4:5-7).
Cartouche 9 (upper margin): On the right side of the cartouche, Ahasuerus sits on his canopied throne and extends his scepter to the crowned Esther. Esther kneels before him and reaches out to touch the tip of the scepter. Two men stand behind the throne and Esther is accompanied by two maid-servants (Es. 5:2-3). On the left side of the cartouche, the first banquet given by Esther is depicted. Esther, Ahasuerus, and Haman sit at a round laden table set in the palace gardens. A male servant is approaching the table, holding dishes (Es. 5:5).
Cartouche 10 (lower margin): On the right, Haman (wearing a turban) stands and talks to two women; one of them is most likely Zeresh, Haman's wife, meaning this might depict the moment she suggests he build a gallows for Mordecai (Es. 5:14). The gallows prepared for Mordecai by Haman stand in the central part of the cartouche (Es. 5:14). On the left, Ahasuerus reclines on a bed while two men stand before him; one of them reads to him from an open book (Es. 6:1).
| Ms. or. oct. 2947
The length of the sheets: 1) ca. 645 mm, 2) ca. 520 mm, 3) ca. 540 mm long (the third membrane could not be measured precisely because it could not be completely unrolled).
Dimensions of the selected details in the scrolls:
- inner dimensions of a typical text panel: ca. 100 x 78 mm;
- an average letter: 1-2 mm (height);
- letters in col. 16: 4 mm (height);
- the space between the subsequent lines of the text: 2 mm.
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Mordecai with Bigthan and Teresh (Es. 2:21)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus handing his ring to Haman (Es. 3:10)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Mordecai in front of the palace gate (Es. 4:2)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Esther is informed of the plot by her maiden(s) and servant(s) (Es. 4:4)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Esther sends Hatach to speak to Mordecai (Es. 4:5)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Hatach before Mordecai (Es. 4:5-7)
O | Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments | Floral motif
O | Ornamentation: | Endless knot
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Scribe(s) writing Haman's decree (Es. 3:12)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus extending his scepter to Esther (Es. 5:2)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Esther's first banquet (Es. 5:5-8)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Haman talks to his wife, Zeresh, and friends (Es. 5:14)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Gallows built for Mordecai (Es. 5:14)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus listening to the Book of Records (Es. 6:1-3)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Esther touching the scepter (Es. 5:2)
The scroll consists of 3 membranes with 19 columns (9 double text panels and one single panel) with 22 lines, except for col. 16 written in 11 lines divided into two parts. The membranes contain respectively 6, 8, and 5 text columns.
The text is written on the flesh side of parchment membranes in a small, square Italian script, in black ink. The handwriting of the second sheet is slightly different than the script on the first and the third sheets. The same is true as to the shade of the ink.
The letters ח and ת (respectively Es. 1:6 and Es. 9:29) are enlarged and bolded. Enlarged and diminished letters are also included in col. 16.
The ruling was made by a stylus and consists of 22 horizontal lines ruled across the width of the sheet but currently, they are only slightly visible; better visible are vertical lines (1+2+1 in the text panel).
The pricking can be discerned in some places.
The membranes in the scroll are stitched together.
The name "Gaster I" was introduced by Mendel Metzger in his article entitled "The Earliest Engraved Italian Megilloth" (see "Bibliography"). The type was named after Moses Gaster (1856–1939), the rabbi, scholar, and manuscript collector, who owned a scroll adorned with this pattern (at present this is the scroll Gaster Hebrew MS 710 stored in the John Rylands Library in Manchester that is described here). At least 25 manuscripts representing this type are still extant and are preserved in private and institutional collections. For their descriptions see "Related objects".
In the article by Mendel Metzger (Eine illustrierte...), the manuscript is called a "Marburger" megillah due to its previous storage location.
The pattern features a number of decorative elements common with the scrolls of Klagsbald type.
The opening decoration lacks its far-right part that is not printed. Also in some other places on the first and third sheets, the border is not entirely printed.
The color scheme of this manuscript is more limited than in many other scrolls decorated with the same pattern.
Until 1970, this was in the collection of the Westdeutsche Bibliothek in Marburg (former Preussische Staatsbibliothek). Before the opening decoration, there is a blank fragment of parchment (ca. 120 mm wide) that contains two numbers written in black ink: "acc[?]. ms. or. 1929.130" and "Ms. or. oct. 2947", and a red stamp. Exhibited at the "Synagoga" exhibition in 1960/1961 in Recklinghausen and again in 1961 in Frankfurt am Main (respectively objects B 64 and 124 in the catalogues - see "Bibliography").
The scroll is mentioned in:
Ernst Róth, Hans Striedel. Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1965-1984. Hebräische Handschriften, 135.
Mendel Metzger, Eine illustrierte Estherrolle der zweiten Hälfte des 18. Jahrhunderts im Historischen Museum Frankfurt am Main, mit einem Anhang über Megilla-Hülsen, „Schriften des Historischen Museums Frankfurt am Main” 1972, no. 13, 95–116.
Synagoga. Kultgeräte und Kunstwerke von der Zeit der Patriarchen bis zur Gegenwart, Städtische Kunsthalle Recklinghausen, 3. November 1960 – 15. Januar 1961, ed. Anneliese Schröder, Recklinghausen 1961, object B 64.
Synagoga. Jüdische Altertümer Handschriften und Kultgeräte. Historisches Museum Frankfurt am Main, 17. Mai – 16. Juli 1961, Frankfurt am Main 1961, object 124.
Kitwe-jad - Jüdische Handschriften : restaurieren - bewahren - präsentieren; [Ausstellung der Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz, 4. Juli 2002 - 17. August 2002] / [Gesamtgestaltung: Stephan Rosenthal] Teil 1: Jüdische Kultur im Spiegel der Berliner Sammlung / [Ausstellung und Katalog: Petra Werner]. Berlin, 2002. 198 S. : zahlr. Ill. [Kat. Nr. 12]
A short description in German and English and digital images available on http://resolver.staatsbibliothek-berlin.de/SBB0001BF8000000001 (accessed on 23.05.2020).
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.