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© The Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw (JHI), Photographer: Kwolek, Grzegorz, 09.2017

The first two text panels (sheet no. 1) are surrounded by the sepia decorations:

The opening decoration includes five depictions, placed one below the other: 1) a landscape with trees (palms?), deer, and birds; 2) a depiction of a city representing Persia (פרס); 3) Ahasuerus enthroned who possibly alludes to the opening verse of the Book of Esther saying about his empire of 127 provinces (אחשורוש יושב על כסא מלכותו); 4) a depiction of a city representing Media (ומדי); 5) the banquet of the king (ויעש המלך משתה).

The decoration between the first and the second panels includes a bird (a stork?) with floral motifs, Queen Vashti (ושתי המלכה), Queen Esther (אסתר המלכה), the beheading of Vashti (המלך צוה לטול את ראש ושתי; not mentioned in biblical text), and animals that are surrounded by floral motifs. They are placed one below the other.

The decoration between the second and the third panels includes a depiction of Bigthan and Teresh hanged (בגתן ותרש תלוים על העץ; Es. 2:23), Mordecai at the king's gate (מרדכי יושב בשער המלך; Es. 2:21), Haman standing next to a tree (המן הרשע), and Zeresh, Haman's wife (זרש הרשעה). They are placed one below the other.

The upper margin is filled with a depiction of a city of Susa (שושן) and a lion surrounded by floral motifs.

The lower margin is filled with a depiction of Vashti's feast (גם ושתי המלכה עשתה משתה נשים; Es. 1:9) and several different animals surrounded by floral motifs.

Name/Title
JHI Sepia Esther Scroll | Unknown
Object Detail
text panels 1 and 2
Settings
Unknown
Date
18th century (1740?)
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Unknown (Unknown)
Origin
Europe | Central Europe
| Vienna (?)
Historical Origin
Unknown
Community type
Unknown |
Congregation
Unknown
Location
Unknown |
Site
Unknown
School/Style
Unknown|
Period
Unknown
Period Detail
Documentation / Research project
Unknown
Material/Technique
Ink on parchment
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Density
Colors
Construction material
Measurements
The scroll: ca. 190 mm x ca. 1590 mm.
Length of the sheets in the scroll: 1) 685 mm, 2) ca. 680 mm, 3) ca. 225 mm.
Dimensions of the selected details in the scroll:
- text panels: 131-135 x ca. 82-123 mm;
- text panel 9: 134 x 106 mm;
- decorations in the spaces between the text panels: ca. 26-35 mm (width);
- opening decoration 178x55 mm;
- the blank section on the right edge of the first membrane: 37 mm (width);
- decorations in the upper and lower margins: ca. 23 mm;
- an average letter: ca. 2 mm (height);
- the letter ח in Es. 1:6: 4 mm (height);
- letters in col. 9: 8 mm (height).
Height
Length
Width
Depth
Circumference
Thickness
Diameter
Weight
Axis
Panel Measurements
Subject
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | *Esther's Story Characters (depicted not in narrative scenes): | Ahasuerus enthroned
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus as the king over 127 provinces (Es. 1:1)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus' banquet (Es. 1:3-8)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Vashti's banquet (Es. 1:9)
C | City
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | *Other topics related to the Megillah: | Shushan (Susa), capital of Persia
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | *Other topics related to the Megillah: | Media
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | *Other topics related to the Megillah: | Persia
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | *Esther's Story Characters (depicted not in narrative scenes): | Vashti, the queen
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) | Execution of Vashti - beheading
L | Lion
B | Bird
D | Deer
T | Tree
O | Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments
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 at the king's gate (Es. 2:19 and/or 2:21)
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): | Zeresh
O | Ornamentation: | Main text framed
|
Condition

The manuscript (the text, the decorations, and the parchments) is well preserved, although the membranes are crumpled in some places.

The opening section of the scroll is dirty.

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 3 membranes containing a total of 11 text columns with 27 lines per each, except for the col. 9 with 11 lines divided into two half-columns.

The membranes contain respectively 4, 5, and 2 columns of text.

The text is written in Hebrew square Ashkenazi stam script in light brown ink but the illustrations are captioned in the semi-cursive script.

The text and decorations are placed on the flesh side of parchment membranes that are very thin, delicate, and soft. The side of the text and decorations is brighter and smoother than the blank side of the membranes but both sides are similar.

The letters in col. 9, the letters forming the names of God, as well as ח in Es. 1:6 and ת in Es. 9:29, are darker and larger than an average letter in the scroll.

Col. 8 contains numerous elongated letters.

The ruling is made by a hardpoint on the flesh side and is barely discernible. It is ruled across the width of each sheet and 1+1 vertical lines for each column of text.

The pricking is visible on the outer and inner margins of every membrane.

The membranes in the scroll are sewn by sinew threads.

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

In verse Es. 2:3 (שמר הנשים ונתון תמרקיהן) some letters are marked by tagin (here they are bolded). This may be the way how the date of creation of the scroll was marked - 5500 that is 1739 or 1740 according to the Gregorian calendar.

The decorations are executed in the same ink that was used for writing the text.

The workmanship of the third membrane is slightly different than on the two remaining membranes.

Some drawings are very precisely executed (e.g. costumes, the crown of the king).

It seems the opening edge of the scroll was trimmed.

Suggested Reconsdivuction
History/Provenance

The scroll was transferred in 1948 to the JHI from the Central Storage of the Ministry of Culture and Art in Narozyn (in the region of Klodzko in Wroclaw county).

On the blank side of the opening section, the former shelfmarks 6715 and 405 are written on a sticker and the JHI shelfmark, ŻIH C-254/5 and C-326 are written on the parchment.

Main Surveys & Excavations
Bibliography

Online collection of the ritual objects from the E. Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute is available on http://cbj.jhi.pl/collections/964689 (accessed on 12.06.2021).

Iwona Brzewska, Magdalena Sieramska, Katalog, rzemiosło artystyczne, [in:] Muzeum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego. Zbiory artystyczne, Warsaw 1995, 34, fig. 60.

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, 1:228-248, 2: 27-32.

Short Name
Full Name
Volume
Page
Type
Documenter
Yaffa Levy; Keren Katzir; Dagmara Budzioch | 1994; 2019
Researcher
Yaffa Levy; Keren Katzir; Dagmara Budzioch | 1994; 2019
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.
M002148