A miniature copy of one of the decorated scrolls executed by Aryeh Leib ben Daniel of Goray (Pol. Goraj), Poland or the scrolls attributed to him. It is printed in black ink on a single sheet of paper. The upper margins are lavishly decorated with medallions containing the busts of the king's advisers mentioned in Es. 1:10, chamberlains, and guardians of the harem. They are identified by their names written in a semi-cursive Hebrew script that is barely legible. The medallions are flanked by flying birds and they are separated by vases. The text is inscribed in rectangular panels, between which are illustrations of full-length figures representing the major characters of the Esther story, along with the princes of Media and Persia listed in Es. 1:14; they are identified by their names, which are inscribed with the same type of Hebrew script as above. The lower margins are adorned with roundels containing narrative scenes reflecting the Purim story and are labeled in semi-cursive Hebrew script. These roundels are flanked by lions on either side. Throughout the entire manuscript, the space between the larger ornamental elements is filled with a repetitive composition of leafy tendrils, flowers, and fruits (potentially grapes) that are shown against a background of imitation cross-hatching.
The scroll is mounted on a wooden roller.
The roller: 180 mm (height).
The scroll is preserved in good condition, although it lacks a part of its beginning (the decoration starts with a figure placed before the first text column but it is still complete).
Slight damages in margins are visible.
The roller is slightly damaged.
The Book of Esther in Hebrew
The scroll is formed of a single sheet containing 13 text columns with 32 lines except for col. 11 whch has 11 lines divided into two parts.
The text in the scroll is printed but its prototype was inscribed in the Hebrew Ashkenazi script with tagim.
The letters ח (Es. 1:6) and ת (Es. 9:29) are enlarged. Other enlarged and diminished letters are included in col. 11.
To almost all ל letters appearing in the words המלך occurring at the head of the text columns, a decorative stroke is added.
The text is printed, so the scroll lacks ruling and pricking.
Sister copies of the scroll are extant but so far, no details regarding the printing press could be determined.
No bibliography on the scroll is available.
Bibliography on scrolls made by Aryeh Leib ben Daniel of Goray or attributed to him:
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, 1:206-215.
Victor Klagsbald, Catalogue raisonné de la collection juive du Musée de Cluny, Paris 1981, 64-66, object 73.
Mendel Metzger, The Earliest Engraved Italian Megilloth, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 1966, 48/2, esp. 409, 422-425.
Ernest Namenyi, "The Illumination of Hebrew Manuscripts after the Invention of Printing," in Cecil Roth (ed.), Jewish Art, an Illustrated History (London, 1961), col. 435.
Olga Sixtova, O svitku / Form of the Scroll [katalog k výstavě konané v Galerii Roberta Guttmanna Židovského muzea v Praze od 22. června do 26. července 2006], Prag 2006, 32-33.
A Journey through Jewish Worlds: Highlights from the Braginsky Collection of Hebrew Manuscripts and Printed Books, eds. Evelyn M. Cohen, Emile Schrijver, Sharon Liberman Mintz, Amsterdam 2009, 246-249.
Schöne Seiten. Jüdische Schriftkultur aus der Braginsky Collection, eds. Emile Schrijver, Falk Wiesemann, Evelyn M. Cohen, Sharon Liberman Mintz, Menahem Schmeltzer, Zurich 2011, 266-269.
A Fine Illustrated Esther Scroll, [ca. 1740], lot 105, Sotheby's New York Important Judaica, 20 December 2017 https://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/lot.105.html/2017/important-judaica-n09687 (accessed on 31.07.2020).
A Magnificent Esther Scroll Written and illustrated Aryeh Leib ben Daniel of Goray, Schwelm, 1737, lot 187, Sotheby's New York Important Judaica Including Property from the Estate of Shlomo Moussaieff, 15 December 2016 https://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2016/important-judaica-n09589/lot.187.html (accessed on 31.07.2020).