Img. ID: 340733
In the upper margin, landscapes nos. 2-4 and are printed and in the lower margin, there are frames nos. 2-4:
Frame 2: Queen Vashti's execution: She is being strangled by two women standing on either side of her. She stands with her arms spread, and her crown lies on the floor. It is relevant to note that the Book of Esther does not mention the fate of Vashti after her refusal of the king's order, and thus the source for this illustration remains unknown.
Frame 3: This frame contains an illustration 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: Ahasuerus and Esther's wedding ceremony is shown in this frame. 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 in its text. Thus, the source for this representation remains unknown, though it may have been 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.
C | Columns
A | Acanthus Leaf
G | Garland
P | Putto (Putti in Plural)
B | Basket | Basket with flowers
V | Vase
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Execution of Vashti - strangulation
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) | Ahasuerus' and Esther's wedding
In general, the scroll (the text, the decorations, and parchment) is preserved in very good condition.
The opening, blank, section of the scroll is torn.
The Book of Esther in Hebrew preceded with the benedictions recited before the Megillah reading
The scroll is formed of 4 sheets containing a total of 16 columns of text with 24 or 27 lines each, except for col. 14 with 11 lines divided into two half-columns. Additionally, initial benedictions are written within the opening decoration.
Every sheet contains 4 columns of text.
The text is inscribed in the Hebrew square script in brown ink on the flesh side of parchment membranes.
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. 14.
The initial word of the Megillah is enlarged and bolded.
The ruling is made with a hardpoint and is slightly visible.
The sheets in the scroll are stitched together.
The benedictions open with enlarged and bolded words ברוך written separately in the lines. The formulas are inscribed in the square script. Two of them include the ligature of א and ל letters.
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).
Similar narrative scenes are included in the scrolls with "portrait medallions" (see in the Index); some of them are their mirror image.
A short description in Spanish and images of the manuscript are available on http://ceres.mcu.es/pages (accessed on 18.10.2020).
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 megilot Ester w XVII i XVIII wieku. Zarys problematyki], Warsaw 2019, 1:163-176, 2:41-49.
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.
Falk Wiesemann, Codex hebraicus 159, [in:] Irina Wandrey ed., Manuscript Cultures, vol. 6, 257-259.