Obj. ID: 27890
Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts IM Engraved Scroll after Shalom Italia, Amsterdam (?), second half of the 17th century
The scroll is adorned with a printed border within which the text of the Megillah is inscribed by a scribe. Its first membrane is trimmed into a semicircle and contains only the opening decoration that shows a structure based on two columns supporting a tympanum; it frames the cartouche with a coat of arms. All other membranes are adorned with an identical decorative scheme printed with the same engraved plate that surrounds columns of the text. The upper margin of each membrane is adorned with two compositions. The first of them includes an allegory of Peace standing on a pedestal with a cornucopia in one hand and a wreath in another one. The central female figure is flanked by two winged young men wearing long gowns and helmets who hold waving flags and sticks with ribbons or whips (?). Another composition is formed of two angels seated on either side of a low structure - presumably a tomb - decorated with a wreath and two urns. On the right and on the left, the sheets are decorated with depictions of the allegory of Peace and in the center, a composition with two angels is placed; all three are interspersed by flower-filled vases. The text columns are inscribed within arches supported on marble columns (this suggests the pattern visible on their shafts). Below them, on their bases, fruits (pears?) framed in squares can be seen. Next to the columns, in the niches topped with a Rocaille motif, full figures of the Esther story protagonists are positioned. They are Haman (?), Mordecai, Queen Esther, and King Ahasuerus. Below them, in the small rectangular frames are included four narrative scenes from the Book of Esther but due to their workmanship they are difficult to unequivocally interpret: 1) Hanging of Haman (Es. 7:10); 2) possibly the king who gives his ring to Haman (Es. 3:10) or Mordecai (Es. 8:2); 3) and 4) possibly Esther before the king (related to an unidentified verse). The lower margins of the sheets are blank.
The scroll is mounted on a wooden turned roller.
The style of decoration in the scroll and its layout resembles some engraved scrolls embellished with the borders created by Shalom Italia but it seems unlikely that this decorative scheme was designed by him. Based on the similarity with Italia's scrolls, it is dated to the mid of the 17th century.
The Book of Esther in Hebrew
The scroll is the extended loan from Rachel Ethel Yahuda, New Haven.