Obj. ID: 35193
Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts GFC Moshe ben Avraham Pescarolo Esther Scroll, Ferrara, 1610s
One of three currently known lavishly illustrated scrolls produced by Moshe ben Avraham Pescarolo. The opening part of the scroll is trimmed into an undecorated triangle. The upper margins are filled with figurative scenes depicting the narrative of the Book of Esther supplemented with Midrashic tales. They are painted within rectangular frames that are separated by differentiated floral motifs; some of them are supplemented with birds or butterflies. Columns of the text are framed in gold frames and the text panels, which are relatively small in comparison with the illustrations and decorations, are surrounded by a variety of decorative motifs. Above them, there is a belt decorated with foliate and floral ornament, whereas the lower margins are adorned with panels containing land- and cityscapes as well as ornaments. They are separated by different floral motifs, ornaments, and - occasionally - by a bust, a herm, or a figure of an armed soldier. The opening and final sections of the scroll are blank.
The artist's family had immigrated from Germany to Italy the generation before Moshe ben Avraham; some of its members were book printers.
In scholarly literature, different spellings of the surname can be found; the most popular are Pescarol and Pescarolo. Other variants include: Pascarolo, Pascarol ("פַּשְׂקַרוֹל"), Piscarol, Pescarolo, Poscarel, Poscarela, Pescaroli, Pescaraolo. See M. Mortara, Indice alfabetico dei rabbini e scrittori Israeliti, Padova 1886, p. 49.
The Book of Esther in Hebrew
The scroll is formed of 6 sheets containing 31 columns of the text with 12 or 13 lines, and col. 24 contains 11 lines divided into two half-columns.
The number of text columns per membrane: nos. 1 and 2 - 5 columns, nos. 3-5 - 6 columns, no. 6 - 3 columns.
The text is inscribed in the Hebrew square Italian-Sephardi script with very long tagin in brown-black ink on parchment sheets. The side of the text and decoration is brighter than the blank side is very smooth.
The letter ח (Es. 1:6) is slightly larger than an average letter in the scroll and is formed of two components joined with a roof. The letter ת (Es. 9:29) is enlarged.
The ruling is invisible.
The membranes in the scroll are stitched together.
A short Hebrew inscription appears below the last column of the text in the scroll and says:
מעשה ידי משה פשקרול - "The work of my hands, Moshe Pescarol(o)".
This bibliography lists the publications on all three currently known megillot Esther made by Moshe ben Avraham Pescarolo:
Florence Mansano Soulam, בסוד מגילותיו של הסופר-המאייר משה בן אברהם פשקרול: ניתוח מגילות פשקרול בתוך הקונטקסט ההיסטורי של איטליה בראשית המאה השבע-עשרה [Unveiling the Secrets of the Scrolls of Moshe Pescarolo Scribe and Artist. An Analysis of Pescarolo’s Scrolls in the Historical Context of Italy in the Early 17th Century], doctoral dissertation: Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2006.
Mendel Metzger, The John Rylands Megillah and Some Other Illustrated Megilloth of the 15th to 17th Centuries, "Bulletin of the John Rylands Library" 1962 (45), 148–184, esp. 166–171.
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, 1:89-92.
Dagmara Budzioch, Midrashic Tales in Seventeenth and Eighteenth-century Illustrated Esther Scrolls, "Kwartalnik Historii Żydów” 2017, no 3 (263), 405–422, esp. 408, 410, 411, 414, 415.
Dagmara Budzioch, Italian Origins of the Decorated Scrolls of Esther, "Kwartalnik Historii Żydów" 2016, no 1 (257), 35–49, esp.. 40–43.