Text column no. 15 (sheet no. 4) is surrounded by the printed border. The upper and lower margins are decorated with a composition of dense acanthus leaves in which nude busts, landscapes framed in decorative cartouches, and birds (possibly phoenixes) are interwoven. The text is flanked by twisted columns; above them, Esther writing the Purim letter (captioned ותכתב אסתר, Es. 9:29) and a partly visible flower-filled vase are depicted.
On the left, the final panel composed of four narrative scenes from the Book of Esther one under the other can be seen:
1) possibly the first Purim feast (Es. 9:17-23); in this scroll, the scene is printed very poorly and its upper part is invisible;
2) Esther's second banquet (Es. 7:3) with the gallows in the background (Es. 5:14) - invisible in this image;
3) Queen Esther before the king while he extends his scepter to her, and Mordecai kneeling in front of him, while he receives the ring and becomes the new royal vizier (Es. 8:2-4);
4) Mordecai writing the Purim letter (Es. 9:29).
Below the scenes, elongated cartouches for inscriptions are placed; in this scroll, they are empty.
Length of the sheets in the scroll: 1) 670 mm, 2) 585 mm, 3) 595 mm, 4) ca. 515 mm.
An average letter is 3 mm high as well as spaces between the subsequent lines of the text.
For dimensions of other details in the scroll see ID 37869.
The roller: 450 mm (height).
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | First Purim feast (Es. 9:17-23)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus gives his ring to Mordecai (Es. 8:2)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus giving Esther the house of Haman (Es. 8:1)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Mordecai writing the Purim letter (Es. 9:29)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Gallows built for Mordecai (Es. 5:14)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Esther's second banquet (Es. 7:1)
C | Columns | Twisted columns
A | Acanthus Leaf
O | Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments
W | Woman | Nude
H | Human Figure | Bust (Human figure)
B | Bird
P | Phoenix
In general, the manuscript is preserved in good condition, although the print in the opening section is slightly damaged; slight damages in other parts of the prints can be seen too.
The text is well preserved in the scroll.
There are some stains on the membranes.
The upper edges of the membranes are not straight.
The traces of metal plates are well visible on the blank side of parchment membranes.
The Book of Esther in Hebrew
The scroll is formed of 4 sheets containing a total of 15 columns of text with 28 lines each, except for col. 13 which has 11 lines divided into two half-columns.
Membranes nos. 1-3 contain 4 columns of the text and the fourth membrane includes 3 columns.
The text is inscribed in the Hebrew square Ashkenazi script with tagin in brown and black ink on the flesh side of parchment membranes that are rather thick, grey, and suede.
The letters ח (Es. 1:6) and ת (Es. 9:29) are enlarged and bolded. Other enlarged and diminished letters are included in col. 13. Additionally, in cols. 2, 7, 8, and 10 enlarged and bolded letters marking the Tetragrammaton can be seen.
The ruling - made with a hard point along with the sheets - is barely visible, in some places only.
The pricking is invisible.
The membranes in the scroll are stitched together.
Around 15 megillot featuring the same border are housed in private and institutional collections. Yet another exemplar used to be a part of the Gross Family Collection (no. 081.012.044) but in 2003, it was stolen from the Beit Hatfutsot Museum in Tel Aviv (Hilfe erbeten: Judaica Diebstahl: http://www.judentum.net; accessed on 14.12.2018).
There are also two scrolls embellished with the same border but with texts other than the Book of Esther.
The cartouche supported by angels, in the upper part of the opening panel, is filled with a Hebrew inscription of the previous owner of the scroll, Moses:
מגילה זאת שייך ... משה
The scrolls featuring the same border are described in:
Dagmara Budzioch, Verzierte Ester-Rollen – illustriert von dem Prager Kupferstecher Philipp Jakob Franck [in:] Zwischen Offenbarung und Kontemplation: Die Wolfenbütteler hebräischen Schriftrollen, mit Beiträgen von Dagmara Budzioch und Ad Stijnman (Wolfenbütteler Forschungen), Wiesbaden 2021, pp. 106-117.
A Journey through Jewish Worlds: Highlights from the Braginsky Collection of Hebrew Manuscripts and Printed Books, eds. Evelyn M. Cohen, Emile Schrijver, Sharon Mintz, Amsterdam 2009, 266–267.
http://braginskycollection.com/scrolls/prague/ (accessed on 21.09.2020).
A Magnificent Illustrated Esther Scroll [Prague ca. 1700], lot 169: http://www.sothebys.com; accessed on 14.12.2018.
A Magnificent Illustrated Esther Scroll [Prague: ca. 1700], lot 24: http://www.sothebys.com; accessed on 14.12.2018.