Under Reconstruction!
Art Alone
© Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Carl von Ossietzky (SUB), Photographer: Unknown,

In the upper margin, landscapes nos. 4, 1, 2, and 3 are printed and in the lower margin, there are frames nos. 4-7.

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).

Sheet no. 2

Frame 5: On the right, a man with a bow in his hands is depicted; he is aiming at the wheel with the signs of Zodiac on its perimeter (on the left). The scene is shown against the landscape. The depiction symbolically shows the moment of casting lots by Haman (alludes to Es. 3:7). The Book of Esther mentions only casting lots that means appointing the least favorable period for Jews, but there is no reference to the signs of the Zodiac in the text.

Frame 6: On the left, a mounted messenger is carrying the edict of Haman that he holds in his right hand (Es. 3:13) and in his other hand, he has a French horn. He is riding towards a man sitting under a tree, most likely Mordecai, who tears his clothes as a sign of mourning (Es. 4:1).

Frame 7: On the left, Haman stands in front of Ahasuerus attended by a group of men (his advisers?, servants?). The vizier holds weight with scales on which the vizier is going to weigh silver for the king (Es. 3:9). In the background, the king's palace is visible.

SUB Esther Scroll with Landscapes II | Unknown
Object Detail
cols. 4-7
early 18th century
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Unknown (Unknown)
Historical Origin
Community type
Unknown |
Unknown |
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 Detail
Ink and paints on parchment (handwritten text, printed and colored by hand decoration)
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Construction material
The scroll: 200x1750 mm.
Panel Measurements
The manuscript is preserved in very good condition. In two places, the first and second membranes are sewn with red thread. Color saturation is not the same on all membranes; some parts of the print are unpainted.
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
Type of grave

The Book of Esther in Hebrew with initial benedictions


The scroll is formed of 4 sheets containing 16 columns of the text with 27 lines, except for col. 14 with 19 lines (the first 11 lines in the column are divided into two parts). 

Every sheet contains 4 columns of text.

The text is inscribed in the Hebrew square script, in black and brown ink, on the flesh side of parchment membranes.

The initial word of the Megillah is enlarged and bolded.

The letter ח (Es. 1:6) is slightly larger than an average letter in the scroll; additionally, it is highlighted by its form - it contains two parts joined with a roof and is decorated with scrolled feet. The letter ת (Es. 9:29) is enlarged and bolded. Other enlarged and diminished letters are included in col. 14.

In col. 13 several letters are extremely elongated and due to this, their shape is difficult to recognize. The last line in the column is inscribed on the printed border. 

The ruling - made with a hardpoint - is slightly visible; it can be discerned in some places only.

There are some erasures and corrections in the text.

The sheets in the scroll are stitched.

The benedictions open with enlarged and bolded words ברוך written separately in the lines. The formulas are inscribed in the square script. They include the ligature of א and ל letters.

Number of Lines
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Façade (main)
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 Series
Coin Ruler
Coin Year
Scribal Notes
Trade Mark
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 herms, the pedestals with angel's heads and bases were added, therefore, the text panels 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. 

Similar narrative scenes are included in the scrolls with "portrait medallions".

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).

Suggested Reconsdivuction
Main Surveys & Excavations

The scroll is described in:

Falk Wiesemann, Codex hebraicus 159, [in:] Irina Wandrey ed., Manuscript Cultures, vol. 6, 257-259.

Photographs and a short description of the manuscript in English are available on https://resolver.sub.uni-hamburg.de/kitodo/PPN893258520 (accessed on 12.02.2020).

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.

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.

Victor Klagsbald, Catalogue raisonné de la collection juive du Musée de Cluny, Paris 1981, 63-64, object 72.

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.

http://braginskycollection.com/esther-scrolls/ (accessed on 22.04.2020)

Short Name
Full Name
Dagmara Budzioch | 2020
Dagmara Budzioch | 2020
Architectural Drawings
Computer Reconsdivuction
Section Head
Language Editor
Negative/Photo. No.