Obj. ID: 31
Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts Czartoryski Library Klagsbald Type Esther Scroll, Venice (?), second half of the 17th century
The scroll represents the Klagsbald type (for the explanation of the name see "Summary and Remarks"), lavishly decorated megillot in which a decorative border is printed as a copper engraving and colored by hand, while the Hebrew text of the Book of Esther is penned by a scribe. The opening section is exhaustively filled with a rich, symmetrical decoration formed of tendrils, flowers, and animals, all surrounding a flower. The upper and lower margins are adorned with repeating endless knot motifs, alternating with 20 rectangular frames enclosing one to three scenes that narrate the Book of Esther. In the scroll from the Cracow library, the background behind them is painted blue and some traces of gold paint are still visible on the endless knot motifs. The ten text panels, in which nineteen text columns are included, are interspersed by stylized floral decoration. The same scheme repeats on all four membranes forming each megillah from this group. The pattern ends with a symmetrical decoration composed of large flowers and foliate ornaments.
The Hebrew letter א is written in the lower-left corner of the first sheet.
The stamp "Biblioteka" appears occasionally in the scroll.
The right edge of the first membrane is trimmed straight.
Both ends of the scroll are cropped straight.
The edge at the end of the scroll is perforated with four holes, which were probably used for holding the (missing) roller.
The scroll is stored in a box.
Dimensions of the selected details:
- the print: 160-162 mm (height);
- the text panel (inside): 80x98-110 mm;
- the text column (width): 45-55 mm;
- an average letter is up to 2 mm high.
The conservation of the manuscript took place in 2012 and the images shown in the Index were taken before it.
The text in the scroll is poorly preserved; ink has flaked off in many parts of the scroll, and the text is difficult to decipher. In the best condition, the text on the third sheet is stored. On the first sheet, an additional layer of intense black ink was put on the letters.
The outlines of the decorations on the first sheet were covered with black ink.
Some stains are visible on the sheets, which are also dirty in many places.
The scroll is formed of 4 membranes containing a total of 19 text columns with 24 lines each, except for col. 16 which has 11 lines divided into two half-columns.
The three first sheets contain 3 text panels with 6 columns of text, and the last sheet contains one panel with a single column.
The text is written in Hebrew square Italian script on the flesh side of parchment membranes in light brown ink.
The letters ח (Es. 1:6) and ת (Es. 9:29) are highlighted.
The ruling - horizontal and vertical lines - is made by a hard point.
The pricking is discernible at the beginning of the second sheet (col. 7) and on the left side of the last column of the scroll.
The membranes are stitched together by sinew threads.
At the end of the scroll, on its blank side, there are three shelf-marks placed one above another: 396, 410 (former numbers), and 2442 (current number).
Restoration and research of two Hebrew manuscripts on parchment from The Czartoryski Library — Department of the National Museum in Kraków No. 2442, 3888 (PDF file available on https://mnk.pl/artykul/konserwacja-i-badania-dwoch-rekopisow-hebrajskich-na-pergaminie; accessed 08.04.2020).
The scrolls decorated with the same pattern are discussed in:
Mendel Metzger, Eine illustrierte Estherrolle der zweiten Hälfte des 18. Jahrhunderts im Historischen Museum Frankfurt am Main, mit einem Anhang über Megilla-Hülsen, „Schriften des Historischen Museums Frankfurt am Main”, 13 (1972), 95–116.
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, 1:119-128.