The thirteenth column of text (sheet no. 5) is written within the decorative arch. The fourteenth column (sheet no. 5) is an exception and it is rectangular. It includes the benediction recited after the Megillah reading and the liturgical poem אשר הניא Asher Heni that start with large and decorative words. Just below, in a separate frame five standing figures are depicted; they are (from the right to the left): Haman, Mordecai, Zeresh, Queen Esther, and Harbona. They are clothed in sophisticated costumes, except for Mordecai who wears a long black coat and a flat hat typical for the Jews in the 17th and 18th centuries. Every figure holds a banner with a Hebrew inscription - an adequate fragment of ארור המן Arur Haman bearing its name. This composition is based on the Amsterdam scrolls with the engraved borders printed in the early 18th century decorated with portraits of the heroes of the Esther story (in the Index see "scrolls with portraits medallions"). Below, there is a Hebrew inscription of the artist-scribe (see "Colophon"). The column is surrounded by floral decoration.
| C-324 (former number C-254/1)
The length of the membranes in the scroll: 1) ca. 625 mm, 2) ca. 545 mm, 3) 595 mm, 4) ca. 590 mm, 5) ca. 490 mm, 6) 65 mm.
Dimensions of the selected details in the scroll:
- upper margins: 27 mm (height);
- lower margins: 23 mm (height);
- opening decoration: 280x168 mm;
- final decoration with five figures: 100x112 mm;
- decorations between the text panels: ca. 25 mm (width);
- gallows on which Haman is hanged is ca. 155 high and the gallows on which his sons are hanged is ca. 65 mm high;
- an average text panel (inside): 162 x ca. 222 mm;
- an average letter: 4 mm;
- letters in col. 11: 10 mm;
- letter in words ברוך: ca. 17 mm;
- spaces between the lines: 4 mm.
C | Columns
L | Lion
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Esther story protagonists
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | *Esther's Story Characters (depicted not in narrative scenes): | Haman, the vizier
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | *Esther's Story Characters (depicted not in narrative scenes): | Mordecai, the Jew
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | *Esther's Story Characters (depicted not in narrative scenes): | Zeresh
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | *Esther's Story Characters (depicted not in narrative scenes): | Esther, the queen
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | *Esther's Story Characters (depicted not in narrative scenes): | Harbona
O | Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments | Flower
O | Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments | Floral motif
O | Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments
O | Ornamentation: | Initial word, decorative
O | Ornamentation: | Main text framed
In general, the manuscript is well preserved, although there are three holes in the first membrane.
The text is preserved in good condition, except for the places where the membranes are folded (e.g. on sheet no. 3).
In some places, the paints are flaked off.
Book of Esther, benedictions recited before and after the Megillah reading, and a liturgical poem for Purim
The scroll is formed of 6 sheets containing opening benedictions + 14 columns of the text with 27-29 lines each, except for col. 11 which includes 11 lines divided into two half-columns + final benediction and liturgical poem Asher Heni.
The number of columns per sheet: no. 1 - benedictions + 2, nos. 2-4 - 3, no. 5 - 2 + benediction and liturgical poem, no. 6 is blank.
The text is written in Hebrew square script with tagin in black ink on the flesh side of parchment sheets that are rather grey and suede. The membranes differ in thickness but they all are rather thin and not stiff. Both sides of the membranes are similar but the side of the text and decorations is brighter than the blank side.
The letters ח (Es. 1:6) and ת (Es. 9:29) are enlarged; they are 6 mm high. Other enlarged and diminished letters are included in col. 11.
Every column starts with the word המלך which are written just under the arches.
In cols. 10 and 14 there are numerous elongated letters.
The ruling is made with a hardpoint and is well visible on the blank side of the membranes.
The pricking is visible on the membranes' edges.
The sheets in the scroll are stitched together but in the upper and lower parts of the membranes, additional reinforcement was used. They are parchment strips glued to the membranes and colored with the same paints, so they are barely noticeable.
The Hebrew colophon of the artist-scribe is placed at the end of the scroll. It says: סליק המגילה אני הצייר נתן בן הרר יוסף סופר סתם בקק זלאטווי "This is the end of the megillah. I am the painter - Nathan the son of rav and master Josef, sofer stam [an expert, religious scribe] in the holy community of Zolochiv (Złoczów).
At least two other manuscripts by the same artist-scribe are extant.
It seems that in the upper part of the opening decoration, on the right-hand side, some traces of Hebrew letters can be noticed.
The words ברוך could be originally painted in gold; currently, they are green.
The artist filled all available space on the membranes.
The right margin of the first membrane is blank (it is ca. 90 mm wide).
A similar scroll is stored at the Klau Library, the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati (scroll no. 55 (V.8)) available on https://huc.on.worldcat.org/oclc/1015672768 (accessed on 28.06.2021).
Online collection of the ritual objects from the E. Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute is available on https://cbj.jhi.pl/documents/597197/0/ (accessed on 28.06.2021).
Iwona Brzewska, Magdalena Sieramska, Katalog, rzemiosło artystyczne, [in:] Muzeum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego. Zbiory artystyczne, Warszawa 1995, 33–34 and fig. 57.
Kalendarz żydowski 1986–1987, Warsaw 1986, p. 32 and pages in color after pp. 144, 160.
Kultura ocalona. Katalog wystawy poświęconej kulturze Żydów polskich, eds. Barbara Askanas, Bogna Piotrowska, Tomasz Fedorowicz, Warsaw 1983, p. 3, object no. 3.
Izabella Rejduch-Samkowa, Jan Samek, Dawna sztuka żydowska w Polsce, Warsaw 2002, 55–57.
Marian Fuks, Zygmunt Hoffman, Maurycy Horn, Żydzi polscy. Dzieje i kultura, Warsaw 1982, 103 (a reproduction of the fragment).
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, 1:190-206.