The first two text columns (sheet no. 1) surrounded by hand-painted decorations composed of lions, birds, and floral motif. Above panels, there are busts of beard men whose names are invisible and cannot be identified. The panels are flanked by figures of King Ahasuerus and Queen Vashti. On the lower margins, the first two illustrations chronicling the narrative of the Book of Esther are placed:
Roundel 1 shows the execution of Vashti (not mentioned in the biblical text) - it shows a bare-breast woman lying on the ground and an executioner who is just about to behead her with an ax.
Roundel 2 on the left, a gallows with two bodies suspending from it are shown - they are the king's chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, hanged on the gallows (Es. 2:23). There is a tree on the right.
Lenght of the membranes in the scroll: 1) 630 mm, 2) 590 mm, 3) at least 550 mm.
Dimensions of the selected details in the scroll:
- text panel: 162x150 mm (inside);
- roundels in the lower margins: 50 mm (inside), 67 mm (outside);
- an average letter: more than 2 mm;
- spaces between the lines: more than 2 mm.
The roller: ca. 515 mm (height)
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) | *Esther's Story Characters (depicted not in narrative scenes): | Ahasuerus, the king
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | *Esther's Story Characters (depicted not in narrative scenes): | Vashti, the queen
H | Human Figure | Bust (Human figure)
L | Lion
B | Bird
O | Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments | Flower
O | Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments | Floral motif
The first membrane is very poorly preserved; a part of the decorations is damaged and the text is barely visible in some places.
In general, the decorations are better preserved than the text.
The Book of Esther in Hebrew
The scroll is formed of 3 sheets, containing in total 8 columns of the text of 30, 33, or 34 lines each. Col. 7 includes 11 lines divided into two half-columns.
The first two membranes contain 3 columns of text; the third membrane also contains 3 columns but they are written in 2 panels.
The text is written in Hebrew square script in brown ink on the flesh side of the parchment membranes of medium thickness and stiffness, rather bright.
Some sections of the text contain tagim.
The letters ח (Es. 1:6) and ת (Es. 9:29) are enlarged and bolded but the first of them is barely visible. Other enlarged and diminished letters are included in col. 7.
The last line in col. 7 is filled with and ornamented; the previous lines contain many elongated letters.
The ruling made by a stylus is well visible along with the membranes.
The pricking is invisible.
The membranes in the scroll are stitched together.
The inscriptions at the opening section of the scroll are invisible.
A short characteristic and images are available on https://data.jck.nl/page/aggregation/jhm-museum/M000418 (accessed on 28.06.2021).
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, 1:206-215.
Ernest Namenyi, "The Illumination of Hebrew Manuscripts after the Invention of Printing," in Cecil Roth (ed.), Jewish Art, an Illustrated History (London, 1961), col. 435.
Mendel Metzger, The Earliest Engraved Italian Megilloth, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 1966, 48/2, esp. 409, 422-425.
Olga Sixtova, O svitku / Form of the Scroll [katalog k výstavě konané v Galerii Roberta Guttmanna Židovského muzea v Praze od 22. června do 26. července 2006], Prag 2006, 32-33.
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, 246-249.
Schöne Seiten. Jüdische Schriftkultur aus der Braginsky Collection, eds. Emile Schrijver, Falk Wiesemann, Evelyn M. Cohen, Sharon Liberman Mintz, Menahem Schmeltzer, Zurich 2011, 266-269.
A Fine Illustrated Esther Scroll, [ca. 1740], lot 105, Sotheby's New York Important Judaica, 20 December 2017 https://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/lot.105.html/2017/important-judaica-n09687 (accessed on 31.07.2020).
A Magnificent Esther Scroll Written and illustrated Aryeh Leib ben Daniel of Goray, Schwelm, 1737, lot 187, Sotheby's New York Important Judaica Including Property from the Estate of Shlomo Moussaieff, 15 December 2016 https://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2016/important-judaica-n09589/lot.187.html (accessed on 31.07.2020).