Obj. ID: 34774
Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts Hechal Shlomo Interlaced Pattern Esther Scroll, Venice (?), second half of the 17th century
Scroll: The manuscript is executed in a mixed technique in which a decorative border is printed as copper engraving and colored by hand whereas the Hebrew text of the Book of Esther is penned by a scribe. At present, only the remains of the coloring on the border can be noticed. The scroll starts with a decoration formed of foliate and floral ornaments with an oval in its central part. Upper and lower margins are filled with repeating interlaced pattern that joins with symmetrical decorations separating the double text panels. The right edge of the first membrane is trimmed into a multifoil shape. The scroll lacks its final part.
The scroll is rolled on a wooden turned roller but it is not stitched to it and only a short piece of parchment is attached to it.
Benediction sheet: The ornamentation on the benediction sheet that accompanies the scroll represents a diverse style and it can be assumed that originally it was not dedicated to this megillah. The printed decoration is composed of birds, flowers, and tendrils surrounding 5 ovals of different sizes. It resembles engraved works by Shalom (ben Mordecai) Italia, however, his authorship cannot be confirmed in this case. The right edge of the sheet is trimmed into a conical shape and two foils.
The general layout of the decorations and the text (the text inscribed in the double panels separated by the repeating ornament, margins adorned with interlaced pattern) as well as the technique (hand-colored engraving) bear some similarities with the scrolls representing Gaster I type (for their descriptions see "Gaster I type scrolls") in the Index. It seems the scrolls could be produced in the same milieu and in a similar period.
The central ellipse in the opening decoration of the scroll could contain an inscription that is erased now.
The text is dense and rather difficult to read.
*Manuscripts and Printed Books | Esther scroll (megillat Esther) | with printed border
*Manuscripts and Printed Books | Esther scroll (megillat Esther) | in ha-melekh layout
*Manuscripts and Printed Books | Esther scroll (megillat Esther) | with benedictions
The length of the membranes in the scroll: 1) ca. 400 mm, 2) ca. 315 mm, 3) ca. 295 mm.
Dimensions of the selected details in the scroll:
- upper and lower margins - 23 mm (height);
- a decoration between the text panels - 52x24 mm;
- a text panel (inside) - 80x52 mm;
- an average letter: 1 mm (height);
- spaces between the subsequent lines: ca. 1 mm (height);
- an average letter in col. 14: 3 mm (height).
The benediction sheet: 103x200 mm.
- an average letter: 1 mm (height);
- initial words of the benedictions: 3 mm (height);
- the axis of the ellipse containing the benedictions: ca. 63 mm long, of the adjacent ellipse - 45 mm, and the ellipse at the right edge of the sheet is ca. 25 mm. The last two ellipses are of equal size.
The roller: 300 mm (height).
The manuscript is incomplete - a small part of the last membrane is missing, therefore, it lacks a part of the last panel with its decoration on the left; its presence can be determined on the basis of another megillah decorated with the same pattern.
The beginning of the scroll is seriously damaged. The right edge of the first sheet that is trimmed into a multifoil shape is torn in a few places.
The coloring is almost invisible; originally the border was colored in green, orange, and red (?) paints.
The print on the left edge of the benediction sheet is seriously faded.
The Book of Esther in Hebrew with benedictions on a separate sheet
Scroll: The scroll is formed of 3 membranes containing 17 text columns with 22 or 23 lines, except for col. 14 with 11 lines divided into two parts. The subsequent membranes contain 6, 5, and 6 text columns. All text panels, except for panel no. 5, are double; solely panel no. 5 contains a single column (no. 9) but of double width.
The text is copied in a small Italian Hebrew square script on a flesh side of the parchment membranes, in black-brown ink.
The letter ח (Es. 1:6) is highlighted but it was obtained solely by its shape; this is the only letter ח in the scroll formed of two parts joined with a roof. The letter ת (Es. 9:29) is enlarged but not bolded. Other enlarged and diminished letters are included in col. 14.
Parchment is bright and thin; it is difficult to differentiate between both sides of the sheets. However, the blank side is a bit more shiny and yellow, whereas the side with the text and decorations is more mat and whiter.
The membranes are stitched together.
Benediction sheet: the parchment is bright, but the recto side of the sheet is whiter than the verso side which is rather yellow.
The initial word of the benedictions (ברוך) is enlarged and bolded, and clearly separated from the rest of the formulas.
The letters in the central oval are lopsided and they are of different sizes. This handwriting contrasts strongly with very professional handwriting in the adjacent oval.
No bibliography on the scroll is available.