Object Alone

Obj. ID: 34766
Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts
  UB Erlangen Klagsbald Type Esther Scroll, Venice (?), second half of the 17th century

© Erlangen Universitätsbibliothek, Photographer: Unknown, -

The scroll represents the Klagsbald type (for the explanation of the name see "Additional 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 FAU 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.

Summary and Remarks
The Klagsbald scrolls are a family of Italian Esther scrolls from the second half of the 17th century, named by Mendel Metzger after Judaica collector, Victor Klagsbald, of whose collections an exemplar of this manuscript formed a part (see M. Metzger, “The Earliest Engraved Italian Megilloth”, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 48:2 (1966), 381‒432, esp. 390). The scheme features numerous common details with the scrolls representing Gaster I type; however, one of the distinctive features is the motif of endless knot that in Klagsbald scrolls are not joined together.
The illustrations are the same as in Gaster II type Esther scrolls (see in the Index).

The hues of blue paint in which the background was colored vary on the subsequent membranes.

The endless knot patterns were originally decorated with gold paint.

On the second and fourth sheets, there are the seals of the Erlangen University Library.


5 image(s)

sub-set tree:

UB Erlangen Klagsbald Type Esther Scroll | Unknown
Object Detail
Monument Setting
second half of the 17th century
Active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Italy | Veneto | Venice
| (?)
Historical Origin
Community type
Unknown |
Unknown |
Klagsbald scrolls|
{"211":"The family of Italian Esther scrolls from the second half of the 17th century named by Mendel Metzger after Judaica collector, Victor Klagsbald, of whose collections an exemplar of this manuscript formed a part (see M. Metzger, \u201cThe Earliest Engraved Italian Megilloth\u201d, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 48:2 (1966), 381\u2012432, esp. 390). It includes Esther scrolls produced in mixed technique in which decorative border is printed and colored by hand while the Hebrew text of the Book of Esther is penned by a scribe. The opening and final section of the scrolls are filled with a rich decoration formed from tendrils, flowers, and animals (the latter contains no animal figures). The upper and lower margins are adorned with repeating endless knot motifs framed in rectangles alternating with rectangular frames enclosing more than thirty scenes chronicling the Book of Esther. The text panels including two text columns (the last panel includes a single text column) are interspersed by floral decoration. The same scheme repeats on all four sheets forming each exemplar. Is shows many common details with Gaster I scrolls."}
Period Detail
Documentation / Research project
Textual Content
Unknown |
Languages of inscription
Shape / Form
Material / Technique
Ink and paints on parchment (the text is copied by hand, the border is printed and colored by hand)
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Construction material
The scroll: 175 x ca. 1570 mm.

The length of the membranes in the scroll: 1) ca. 530 mm, 2) ca. 390 mm, 3) ca. 395 mm, 4) ca. 255 mm.

An average letter is higher than 2 mm.
Panel Measurements

In general, the scroll is well preserved, however, its state of preservation varies depending on the sheet. The differences concern especially the state of preservation of the text and the coloring of the background on the upper and lower margins.

The second sheet shows diagonal stripes of faded or erased text that in these places is difficult to decipher.

On the third membrane, the text is almost illegible (cols. 13-16) and it contrasts very strongly with the column on the fourth sheet that has been preserved in almost perfect condition (the same is true about its decoration).

The edges of the sheets are straight, but there are some stains on them, e.g. on the third sheet at the top, there is a large wax (?) stain.

Documented by CJA
Surveyed by CJA
Present Usage
Present Usage Details
Condition of Building Fabric
Architectural Significance type
Historical significance: Event/Period
Historical significance: Collective Memory/Folklore
Historical significance: Person
Architectural Significance: Style
Architectural Significance: Artistic Decoration
Urban significance
Significance Rating
The Book of Esther in Hebrew

The scroll consists of 4 membranes, with 19 text columns each with 23 lines per column, except for col. 16 which has 11 lines divided into two half-columns.

Sheets nos. 1-3 contain 3 double text columns and the last sheet contains a single panel.

The text is inscribed in small Italian square Hebrew script, in black ink on the flesh side of the parchment membranes.

The state of preservation of the text in col. 16 does not allow to determine if the enlarged and diminished letters are inscribed in it; however, it seems that the letter ו in the last line is enlarged. The letters ח (Es. 1:6) and ת (Es. 9:29) are highlighted.

The parchment is bright, rather thick and stiff. Sheet no. 3 is made of a different type of parchment.

The ruling is visible; the least visible are the lines on the first sheet. On all sheets, vertical lines are more strongly marked.

The membranes are stitched together.

Number of Lines
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Façade (main)
Location of Torah Ark
Location of Apse
Location of Niche
Location of Reader's Desk
Location of Platform
Temp: Architecture Axis
Arrangement of Seats
Location of Women's Section
Direction Prayer
Direction Toward Jerusalem
Coin Series
Coin Ruler
Coin Year
Scribal Notes
Trade Mark
Decoration Program
Suggested Reconsdivuction

The scroll is mentioned by Johann Christoph Wagenseil (1633-1705), a German historian, Orientalist, jurist, and Christian Hebraist in his work "Von Erziehung eines jungen Prinzen..." (see "Bibliography"). This is the oldest historical testimony of its existence and at the same time, the earliest mention of the manuscripts adorned with this pattern that is crucial for their dating. Wagenseil claimed that it is the oldest Hebrew manuscript in the world and that is from Persia ("Von Erziehung eines jungen Prinzen..., 229") that must be considered only a metaphor.

The scroll was exhibited on the "Synagoga" exhibition that took place in 1960/1961 in Recklinghausen and in 1961 in Frankfurt am Main (respectively objects B 65 and 128 in the catalogues - see "Bibliography").

Main Surveys & Excavations

The manuscript is mentioned in:

Johann Konrad Irmischer, Handschriften-Katalog der Königlichen Universitäts-Bibliothek zu Erlangen, Frankfurt am Main-Erlangen (Heyder und Zimmer) 1852, 1-2, object 4.

Ernst Roth, Hans Stridl, Lothar Tetzner, Hebräische Handschriften. Teil 2 (Verzeichnis der Orientalischen Handschriften in Deutschland, Bd. VI, 2.), Wiesbaden 1965, object 56.

Synagoga. Kultgeräte und Kunstwerke von der Zeit der Patriarchen bis zur Gegenwart, Städtische Kunsthalle Recklinghausen, 3. November 1960 – 15. Januar 1961, ed. Anneliese Schröder, Recklinghausen 1961, object B 65.

Synagoga. Jüdische Altertümer Handschriften und Kultgeräte. Historisches Museum Frankfurt am Main, 17. Mai – 16. Juli 1961, Frankfurt am Main 1961, object 128.

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.

Theodor Ehrenstein, Das Alte Testament im Bilde: ein Illustrationswerk mit über 2000 Abbildungen, Wien 1923, 911, image 66 (a reproduction of a fragment).

Johann Christoph Wagenseil, Von Erziehung eines jungen Prinzen, der vor allen Studien einen Abscheu hat, daß er dennoch gelehrt und geschickt werde, Leipzig 1705, 229.

The scrolls sharing the same pattern are discussed in:

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 megillot Ester w XVII i XVIII wieku. Zarys problematyki], Warsaw 2019, 1:119-128.

For more information on Wagenseil see e.g.

Harry Zohn, M.C. Davis, Johann Christoph Wagenseil, Polymath, Monatshefte, vol. 46, No. 1 (Jan., 1954), 35-40.

Dagmara Budzioch | 2020
Author of description
Dagmara Budzioch | 2020
Architectural Drawings
Computer Reconstruction
Section Head
Language Editor
Negative/Photo. No.
The following information on this monument will be completed:
Unknown |