The scroll opens with a panel containing several narrative scenes from the Esther story. In the decorative panel, in the central part of the upper register, there is the royal couple seated on the throne with a canopy that is placed on a pedestal. The king and the queen are accompanied by courtiers; on the right, the princes of Media and Persia are standing (this part of the decoration is invisible on the image; Es. 1:14) and Esther's maidservants on the left (Es. 2:9). Below, there are three rectangular frames: the central panel contains the benedictions recited before the Megillah reading, while the panel on the right shows the chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, hanging on two gallows (this part of the decoration is invisible on the image; Es. 2:23), whereas the one on the left depicts Haman and his sons hanging on three gallows (Es. 7:10 and Es. 9:14 or Es. 9:25). The lowest register contains three episodes that are (from right to left): Mordecai receiving the clothes from Hatakh (invisible on the image; Es. 4:4), Haman leads Mordecai through the streets of Susa (Es. 6:11), Esther and Mordecai write letters instructing the Jews to observe Purim (Es. 9:29).
| inv. D.98.04.072.CL (former number Cl 12296a)
An average letter is ca. 2 mm high except for the letters in col. 14 in which are ca. 6 mm high.
Dimensions of the selected details in the scroll:
- upper margins - 30 mm;
- lower margins - ca. 35 mm;
- a text panel - 92 x 67 mm.
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Seven maidens given to Esther (Es. 2:9)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Mordecai's triumph (Es. 6:11)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Haman hanged (Es. 7:10)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Haman's sons hanged (Es. 9:14)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Mordecai and Esther writing the Purim letter (Es. 9:29)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Bigthan and Teresh hanged (Es. 2:23)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Mordecai receiving clothes from Hatach (Es. 4:4)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus and the seven princes of Persia and Media (Es. 1:13-15) | Seven princes of Persia and Media (Es. 1:14)
The scroll is formed of 4 membranes containing most likely 16 text columns (during the research, a part of the manuscript remained rolled in the case) which differs in the number of lines between 21 and 25 except for col. 14 that is inscribed in 11 lines divided into two parts. The membranes nos. 1-3 contain 4 text columns and most likely the same number of columns is on the fourth sheet.
The text is inscribed on the flesh side of parchment membranes in a small square script, in dark brown ink (at the beginning of the scroll, the shade of the ink is lighter).
The first word of the Megillah is enlarged. Similarly, the letter ח (Es. 1:6) is enlarged and bolded. Additionally, col. 14 contains enlarged and diminished letters. During the research, the final part of the manuscript remained in the case, therefore, it cannot be determined if the last column includes the letter ת that is highlighted in any way.
Every benediction starts with an enlarged and bolded word ברוך that is written separately in the first line of a particular formula.
The parchment is rather grey and very stiff. The side of the membranes with the decorations and the text is more smooth than the other one that is rather suede.
The ruling is barely visible; it can be discerned in the places where the text is absent and on the blank side of the membranes.
The membranes are stitched but the sewing is not aesthetic.
There are two variants of the scrolls decorated with this pattern that in the Index are marked "I" and "II". In some exemplars, just below the decorative columns, the pedestals with angel's heads and bases were added, therefore, the text panels in these scrolls are higher; this type is marked with "II". Whereas, the rest of the manuscripts containing no pedestals with angel's heads and bases are marked with "I". The latter are more numerous.
The earliest scroll sharing a similar engraved pattern is dated to 1701; this is the megillah BCM 25 from the Braginsky Collection in Zurich (see http://braginskycollection.com/esther-scrolls/; accessed on 22.04.2020).
At least 25 manuscripts featuring similar pattern are still extant. For descriptions of other scrolls sharing similar pattern see IDs: 23637, 23758, 23763, 34776, 35188, and 36173.
Similar narrative scenes are included in the scrolls with "portrait medallions" (see in the Index); some of them are their mirror image.
The scroll is on display in the permanent exhibition of the Museum.
The membranes of the scroll are a bit lower than in many other scrolls featuring the same pattern; possibly they were trimmed so the manuscript could fit in the wooden case.
The scroll is described in:
Victor Klagsbald, Catalogue raisonné de la collection juive du Musée de Cluny, Paris 1981, 63-64, object 72.
A short description in French and a photograph are available on https: https://www.mahj.org/en/decouvrir-collections-betsalel/rouleau-d-esther-50073 (accessed on 30.05.2020).
Other scrolls sharing the same or similar pattern are discussed for example in:
Jiřina Šedinová, From the Mss. Collections of the State Jewish Museum in Prague. The Scrolls of Esther, „Judaica Bohemiae” 1979, nr 15/2, 79-80.
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 megillot Ester w XVII i XVIII wieku. Zarys problematyki], Warszawa 2019, 1:163-176, 2:41-49.
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], Prague 2006, 37.
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.