Sheet no. 1
The second roundel is decorated with figures of Queen Esther (on the right) and Mordecai (on the left), roses, a bird, and a group of Jews in front of or going to a synagogue.
On the right, there are men and women seated at a long table set with food - possibly depicting both feasts given by King Ahasuerus (Es. 1:3-8) and Queen Vashti (Es. 1:9). Below them are musicians playing string instruments and below them, a group of seated nude women with spindles in their hands can be seen. Most likely alluding to a tale in the tractate Megillah 12b in which Vashti "would bring Jewish girls, strip them naked and forced them to work on Shabbat."; however, other interpretations are possible. These three depictions are partly visible in the image.
On the left, there is Haman aiming with a stick at the sign of Pisces on the Zodiac wheel (all signs of the Zodiac adorn the third roundel). This represents the moment of casting pur (Es. 3:7), though in the biblical text Haman himself does not do it. Below Haman, the gallows with the bodies of Bigthan and Teresh suspending from it can be seen (Es. 2:23) and below it, two men are shown. One of them - Mordecai - sits on a chair while Haman is standing before him and preparing Mordecai for the parade through the streets of Shushan (based on Megillah 16a).
M | Musical Instruments
A | Acanthus Leaf
W | Woman | Nude
J | Jews
O | Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments | Floral motif
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): | Mordecai, the Jew
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Haman casting the lot/Pur - Haman aiming at the Zodiac wheel (based on Midrash)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Bigthan and Teresh hanged (Es. 2:23)
P | Parrot
R | Rose
S | Synagogue
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Haman prepares Mordecai for the parade (Bab. Talmud, Megillah 16a)
O | Ornamentation: | Main text framed
The manuscript is very well preserved.
The Book of Esther in Hebrew
The scroll is formed of 5 sheets, in total containing 13 text panels with 23 or 24 lines of different lengths, except for col. 11 which has 11 lines divided into two half-columns.
The number of columns of text per sheet: nos. 1-3 - 2 columns, no. 4 - 3 columns, no. 5 - 4 columns; 9 of them are framed in roundels.
The text is written in Hebrew square Ashkenazi script in brown ink on parchment membranes.
The letters ח (Es. 1:6) and ת (Es. 9:29) are slightly larger than an average letter in the scroll. Other enlarged and diminished letters are included in col. 11.
The letters of the name of God are marked with tagin bent to the right.
Col. 10 contains numerous elongated letters.
There are some corrections and erasures in the text.
The ruling is made with a hard point, but it is barely visible.
The pricking on the membranes' edges can be seen.
The membranes of the scroll are glued together.
It seems that this scroll and two other scrolls featuring the same style (see "Related objects) were executed by the same artist, although two of them are decorated with roundels, while the third one is decorated with octagons.
It seems that the final part of the manuscript was painted by another artist than the main part of the decorations.
A short description of the scroll and its images are available on https://data.jck.nl/page/aggregation/jhm-museum/M000440 (accessed on 9.08.2021).