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© Dagmara Budzioch, Photographer: Budzioch, Dagmara, 3.2015

In the upper margin, landscapes nos. 3 and 4 are printed and in the lower margin, there are frames nos. 3 and 4.

Frame 3: The frame contains the depiction of the walled city. In the central part of the wall, there is a gate at which a man (Mordecai) is seated (Es. 2:19, 2:21).

Frame 4: In the frame, a wedding ceremony of Ahasuerus and Esther is represented. The scene is witnessed by a group of men standing on the right and a group of women standing on the left. The Book of Esther does not mention this episode and the source for this representation remains unknown. It can be influenced by European paintings in which the scene of the marriage of the Virgin Mary and Josef was similarly composed. This can also explain the dress of a man standing in the center that refers to the high priest's robes. The same theme, although illustrated in a slightly different way, can be found in the "Esther scrolls with portrait medallions" and their copies made by hand, as well as in the scrolls designed by Marcus Donath (Mordecai ben Jozl Sofer) of Nitra (see their descriptions in the Index).

Name/Title
MAHJ Esther Scroll with Landscapes I | Unknown
Object Detail
col. 3 and 4
Settings
Unknown
Date
early 18th century
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Unknown (Unknown)
Historical Origin
Unknown
Community type
Unknown |
Congregation
Unknown
Location
Unknown |
Site
Unknown
School/Style
Scrolls with landscapes|

The family of Dutch Esther scrolls from the early 18th century designed by an anonymous engraver whose decorative scheme is characterized by four different landscapes framed in cartouches of different shapes that fill upper margins. The scrolls of this family begin with a panel composed of several figurative scenes from the Book of Esther narrative. The text columns are interspaced by the columns decorated with reliefs, elaborate acanthus leaves and garlands above which are either decorative capitals or putti holding the baskets with flowers on their heads. Lower margins are filled with the figurative scenes that chronicle the Purim story or allude to midrashim and other sources; they are interspersed by vases with plants. The same decoration repeats on all four sheets forming each manuscript. Some of their exemplars are painted by hand.

Period
Unknown
Period Detail
Collection
France | Paris | Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme Paris (MAHJ)
| inv. D.98.04.072.CL (former number Cl 12296a)
Documentation / Research project
Unknown
Material/Technique
Ink on parchment (the text copied by hand, printed border) + wood
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Density
Colors
Construction material
Measurements
The length of the membranes in the scroll: 1) ca. 485 mm, 2) ca. 385 mm, 3) ca. 385 mm, 4) at least 270 mm (during the research, the final part of the manuscript remained in the case, so the total length of the fourth membrane could not be measured precisely).
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.
Height
ca. 160 mm
Length
Width
Depth
Circumference
Thickness
Diameter
Weight
Axis
Panel Measurements
Condition
The manuscript is well preserved, except for the first membrane that is in satisfactory condition; the text and printed border are faded, and the parchment is wavy.
Extant
Documented by CJA
Surveyed by CJA
Present Usage
Present Usage Details
Condition of Building Fabric
Architectural Significance type
Historical significance: Event/Period
Historical significance: Collective Memory/Folklore
Historical significance: Person
Architectural Significance: Style
Architectural Significance: Artistic Decoration
Urban significance
Significance Rating
Languages of inscription
Unknown
Type of grave
Unknown
0
Ornamentation
Custom
Contents
The Book of Esther in Hebrew
Codicology

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.

Scribes
Script
Number of Lines
Ruling
Pricking
Quires
Catchwords
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Direction/Location
Façade (main)
Endivances
Location of Torah Ark
Location of Apse
Location of Niche
Location of Reader's Desk
Location of Platform
Temp: Architecture Axis
Arrangement of Seats
Location of Women's Section
Direction Prayer
Direction Toward Jerusalem
Coin
Coin Series
Coin Ruler
Coin Year
Denomination
Signature
Colophon
None
Scribal Notes
Watermark
Hallmark
Group
Group
Group
Group
Group
Trade Mark
Binding
Decoration Program
Summary and Remarks

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.

Suggested Reconsdivuction
History/Provenance
Formerly stored in the Strauss collection (no. 76). Donated by Rothschild.
Main Surveys & Excavations
Bibliography

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.

Short Name
Full Name
Volume
Page
Type
Documenter
Dagmara Budzioch | 2020
Researcher
Dagmara Budzioch | 2020
Architectural Drawings
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Computer Reconstruction
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Section Head
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Language Editor
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Donor
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Negative/Photo. No.
M001503