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Obj. ID: 35188
Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts
  JHI Esther Scroll with Landscapes I, Amsterdam, early 18th century

© The Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw (JHI), Photographer: Kwolek, Grzegorz, 09.2017

The scroll represents the type called "scrolls with landscapes I" (see "Additional Remarks") due to their decorative scheme which features four different landscapes framed in cartouches that fill upper margins and repeat on every sheet in the same order:

1. On the left, two men with a dog standing at the gate are shown against a landscape of mountains and trees that are visible in the background.
2. On the right, two wanderers going towards a hill with buildings. On the left, a man on a horseback riding towards a bridge over a river. In the background, mountains, and trees are visible.
3. A garden with a fountain and a palace in the background.
4. On the right, a man sitting under a tree and, in the background, mountains, trees, and buildings are visible.

It is difficult to show a direct reference between the landscapes and the narrative of the Book of Esther, although such a connection cannot be excluded either (e.g. two men in the second landscape can be the king's messengers and a man sitting under the tree in the fourth landscape can be Mordecai).

The scrolls with landscapes are lavishly decorated megillot produced in a mixed technique in which decorative border is printed as a copper engraving (and in some exemplars, colored by hand), whereas the Hebrew text of the Book of Esther is penned by a scribe. All of them begin with a panel composed of several figurative scenes from the Book of Esther narrative. The text columns are interspaced by herms decorated with reliefs, elaborate acanthus leaves, and garlands above which are either decorative capitals or putti holding baskets with flowers on their heads. Lower margins are filled with the figurative scenes that chronicle the Purim story, allude to midrashim or other sources; they are interspersed by vases with plants.

Summary and Remarks

There are two variants of the scrolls decorated with this pattern that in the Index are marked "I" and "II". In some exemplars, just below the decorative columns, the pedestals with angel's heads and bases were added, therefore, the text panels in these scrolls are higher; this type is marked with "II". Whereas, the rest of the manuscripts containing no pedestals with angel's heads and bases are marked with "I". The latter are more numerous.

The earliest scroll sharing a similar engraved pattern is dated to 1701; this is the megillah BCM 25 from the Braginsky Collection in Zurich (see http://braginskycollection.com/esther-scrolls/; accessed on 22.04.2020).

At least 25 manuscripts featuring a similar pattern are still extant.

Similar narrative scenes are included in the scrolls with "portrait medallions" (see in the Index); some of them are their mirror image.

The final part of the scroll - ca. 25 mm wide - is blank; only the pricking is visible on it.

A contrast between the border printed in black ink and the text inscribed in light brown ink can be seen. The letters in col. 14 are darker than the text in all other columns.


6 image(s)

sub-set tree:

JHI Esther Scroll with Landscapes I | Unknown
Object Detail
Monument Setting
Early 18th century
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Historical Origin
Community type
Unknown |
Unknown |
Scrolls with landscapes|
{"214":"The family of Dutch Esther scrolls from the early 18th century designed by an anonymous engraver whose decorative scheme is characterized by four different landscapes framed in cartouches of different shapes that fill upper margins. The scrolls of this family begin with a panel composed of several figurative scenes from the Book of Esther narrative. The text columns are interspaced by the columns decorated with reliefs, elaborate acanthus leaves and garlands above which are either decorative capitals or putti holding the baskets with flowers on their heads. Lower margins are filled with the figurative scenes that chronicle the Purim story or allude to midrashim and other sources; they are interspersed by vases with plants. The same decoration repeats on all four sheets forming each manuscript. Some of their exemplars are painted by hand. "}
Period Detail
Documentation / Research project
Textual Content
Unknown |
Languages of inscription
Shape / Form
Material / Technique
Ink on parchment (printed border, handwritten text)
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Construction material
The scroll: ca. 170x1675 mm.
Length of the sheets in the scroll: 1) ca. 485 mm, 2) ca. 400 mm, 3) ca. 390 mm, 4) ca. 420 mm (the sheets are wavy, therefore it is difficult to measure them carefully).
Dimensions of the selected details in the scroll:
- decorations in the upper margins: ca. 32 mm;
- decorations in the lower margins: ca. 38 mm;
- text panel: 64 mm (width);
- spaces between the text panels: ca. 27 mm;
- frames with illustration(s): 38x73 mm;
- an average square letter: 2 mm (height);
- an average semicursive letter: 2 mm (height);
- the letters in the opening word of the Megillah, in the word ברוך, and in col. 14: 4 mm (height).
Panel Measurements

The scroll is very well preserved.

There is a small loss in the lower edge of the first sheet that is caused by its original shape.

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 preceded with the benedictions recited before the Megillah reading


The scroll is formed of 4 sheets containing a total of 16 columns of text with 24 or 27 lines, except for col. 14 with 11 lines divided into two half-columns. Additionally, initial benedictions are written within the opening decoration.

Every sheet contains 4 columns of text.

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

The membranes vary: the first is very thick, the second is very thin, whereas the third is of medium thickness. The sheets are rather grey but the flesh side is brighter and smoother than the hair side that is darker and rather suede.

The letter ח (Es. 1:6) is marked by its form - it is decorated with scrolling feet. The letter ת (Es. 9:29) is enlarged. Other enlarged and diminished letters are included in col. 14.

The ruling is slightly visible.

The pricking is visible at the very beginning and the end of the scroll.

The membranes in the scroll are stitched together.

The benedictions are inscribed in the semicursive script except for their initial words in benedictions no. 1 and 3 or the first three words in benediction no. 2; they are written in the square, larger, and bolded letters.

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 former numbers of the manuscript are visible on the blank side of the opening section; they are 2241 (on a sticker) and C-254/4.

Main Surveys & Excavations

The scroll is described in:

Online collection of the ritual objects from the E. Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute is available on https://cbj.jhi.pl/documents/633638/0/ (accessed on 02.07.2021).

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, 1:163-176, 2:41-49.

Other scrolls sharing the same or similar pattern are discussed for example in:

Jiřina Šedinová, From the Mss. Collections of the State Jewish Museum in Prague. The Scrolls of Esther, „Judaica Bohemiae” 1979, nr 15/2, 79-80.

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], Prague 2006, 37.

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, 234-237.

Schöne Seiten. Jüdische Schriftkultur aus der Braginsky Collection, eds. Emile Schrijver, Falk Wiesemann, Evelyn M. Cohen, Sharon Liberman Mintz, Menahem Schmeltzer, Zurich 2011, 282-283.

Victor Klagsbald, Catalogue raisonné de la collection juive du Musée de Cluny, Paris 1981, 63-64, object 72.

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 |