The first text panel is flanked by figures of Ahasuerus (on the right) and Vashti (on the left). Above the panel, there is a medallion with the head of a bearded man in a turban who is identified as Mehuman, the courtier of the king (Es. 1:10). Below the panel, the first episode from the Esther story is depicted that is the feast of the king (Es. 1:3-8).
| inv. D.98.04.073.CL (former number Cl 12296e)
Lenght of the membranes in the scroll: 1) 675 mm, 2) 635 mm, 3) 615 mm.
Dimensions of the selected details in the scroll:
- text panel: 160x100 mm;
- illustrative panel: 35 x ca. 75 mm;
- an average letter: 3 mm (height).
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | *Esther's Story Characters (depicted not in narrative scenes): | Ahasuerus, the king
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | *Esther's Story Characters (depicted not in narrative scenes): | Vashti, the queen
B | Bird
L | Lion
B | Basket | Basket with flowers
P | Portrait | Portrait medallion
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | *Esther's Story Characters (depicted not in narrative scenes): | Mehuman
O | Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments | Floral motif
In general, the scroll (the text and decorations) is preserved in good condition.
The membranes are slightly crumpled but their edges are straight with small losses.
The Book of Esther in Hebrew
The scroll is formed of 3 membranes containing 12 text columns with 33 lines except for col. 10 with 27 lines (11 of them are divided into two parts).
The text is written in Ashkenazi square script resembling stam script, with tagim on the flesh side of parchment membranes.
The letter ח (Es. 1:6) and ת (Es. 9:29) are enlarged. Other enlarged and diminished letters are included in col. 10.
In cols. 6 and 8, the Tetragrammaton is highlighted 4 times by tagim added to the selected letters that are longer than others and bent to the right.
The ruling and pricking are invisible but the lines of the text are straight.
The parchment membranes are relatively soft and a bit suede on their blank side.
Membranes in the scroll are stitched together.
Most likely the same ink was used for copying the text and making the ornamentation in the scroll.
The costumes of the figures between the text panels show common features with the costumes of Polish nobility in which numerous elements of Oriental, especially Turkish, garments were borrowed.
In the upper and lower margins of the membranes, pricking is visible. Possibly this is a remnant of the strip of fabric that was stitched underneath the membranes.
Formerly in the Strauss Collection (no. 80). It was donated by Rothschild.
The scroll is described in:
Victor Klagsbald, Catalogue raisonné de la collection juive du Musée de Cluny, Paris 1981, 64-66, object 73.
A short description in French and several images of the scroll as "Rouleau d'Esther, Italie, 1743 vers" are available on https://www.mahj.org/fr/decouvrir-collections-betsalel/rouleau-d-esther-50122 (accessed on 31.07.2020).
Bibliography on other scrolls made by Aryeh Leib ben Daniel of Goray or attributed to him:
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, 1:206-215.
Ernest Namenyi, "The Illumination of Hebrew Manuscripts after the Invention of Printing," in Cecil Roth (ed.), Jewish Art, an Illustrated History (London, 1961), col. 435.
Mendel Metzger, The Earliest Engraved Italian Megilloth, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 1966, 48/2, esp. 409, 422-425.
Olga Sixtova, O svitku / Form of the Scroll [katalog k výstavě konané v Galerii Roberta Guttmanna Židovského muzea v Praze od 22. června do 26. července 2006], Prag 2006, 32-33.
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, 246-249.
Schöne Seiten. Jüdische Schriftkultur aus der Braginsky Collection, eds. Emile Schrijver, Falk Wiesemann, Evelyn M. Cohen, Sharon Liberman Mintz, Menahem Schmeltzer, Zurich 2011, 266-269.
A Fine Illustrated Esther Scroll, [ca. 1740], lot 105, Sotheby's New York Important Judaica, 20 December 2017 https://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/lot.105.html/2017/important-judaica-n09687 (accessed on 31.07.2020).
A Magnificent Esther Scroll Written and illustrated Aryeh Leib ben Daniel of Goray, Schwelm, 1737, lot 187, Sotheby's New York Important Judaica Including Property from the Estate of Shlomo Moussaieff, 15 December 2016 https://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2016/important-judaica-n09589/lot.187.html (accessed on 31.07.2020).