The opening decoration is printed on a separate sheet. It is composed of a structure with two columns supporting a tympanum. Between them, a cartouche topped with a crown with the coat of arms on its field is placed; it depicts a rampant lion turned left with a sword in the left paw. This can be a family emblem of the engraver or printer. The upper margin is adorned with the allegorical representation of Peace (see a general description of the scroll). The decoration is preceded by the figure of Queen Esther standing in a niche (barely visible in the image).
| inv. 97.03.011
The length of the sheets in the scroll: 1) ca. 180 mm, 2) ca. 330 mm, 3) ca. 600 mm, 4) ca. 595 mm, 5) ca. 600 mm, 6) ca. 590 mm, 7) ca. 700 mm, 8) ca. 575 mm, 9) ca. 370 mm.
Dimensions of the selected details in the scroll:
- opening decoration: ca. 155x135 mm;
- decoration with an allegory of Peace: ca. 70x170 mm;
- decoration with two angels: ca. 60x130 mm;
- figures in the niches: ca. 55 mm (height);
- illustrations: 13x22 mm (without frames);
- text panel: 130x90 mm;
- the print: ca. 230 mm (height);
- an average letter: 3 mm (height);
- enlarged letters: ca. 5 mm (height).
The roller: ca. 485 mm.
A | Arch
A | Allegory
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | *Esther's Story Characters (depicted not in narrative scenes): | Esther, the queen
O | Ornamentation: | Cartouche
C | Coat of arms
L | Lion
O | Ornamentation: | Column framed
V | Vase | Vase with flowers
The Book of Esther in Hebrew
The scroll is formed of 9 sheets containing 22 columns of the text with 19 lines, except for col. 19 with 11 lines divided into two parts.
The text is inscribed in the Hebrew square Sephardi script with tagin, in black ink, on the flesh side of parchment membranes that are thick, stiff, rough, and rather grey. Both sides of the membranes are similar.
The letters ח (Es. 1:6) and ת (Es. 9:29) are highlighted by their size. Other enlarged and diminished letters are included in col. 19.
The letters ז and ע in the final word of the Megillah are decorated.
The length of the lines of the text fits the text panels.
The ruling is invisible.
The membranes are stitched but in an unusual way for megillot. The first and second sheets were glued and then sewn together, whereas in all other cases, a sheet was placed on the subsequent sheet (they are placed flat on each other and not bent as usually) and they were sewn together with double stitching.
The style of decoration in the scroll and its layout resembles some engraved scrolls embellished with the borders created by Shalom Italia but it seems unlikely that this decorative scheme was designed by him. Based on the similarity with Italia's scrolls, it is dated to the mid of the 17th century.
At the edges of the first and second membranes, numerous seam marks are visible. This suggests that originally a belt of fabric was placed underneath the opening section of the scroll as it was practiced among the Amsterdam Jewish communities.
In the upper margins of the sheets, on their right and left edges, some printed details - such as parts of angels' feet - are visible.
To the last membrane, a short piece of parchment is sewn that joins the scroll with the roller.
The scroll is displayed on the permanent exhibition of the Museum.
For the scroll sharing the same pattern in the Index see ID 27890.
A short description in French and English together with images of the scroll are available on https://www.mahj.org/en/discover-collections-key-works/esther-scroll-megillat-ester (accessed on 25.08.2020).