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Obj. ID: 35199
Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts
  GFC Statt Susonn Illustrated Esther Scroll, Germany, first half of the 18th century

© Gross Family Collection (GFC), Photographer: Bar Hama, Ardon, -

The hand-painted decorations in the scroll are unique, not comparable to any other megillah. Even the patterns adorning two other currently known scrolls executed by the same artist and scribe are not as sophisticated as the ornamentation of this scroll. The manuscript opens with an extraordinary decoration - the city of Susa (Shushan) represented as a German city - that surrounds the only rectangular text column in it. All other sections of the Hebrew text of the Book of Esther are inscribed in text panels that are totally asymmetrical and in which the lines of text fit exactly with no margin. This suggests that the decoration was executed before the text was written. The scroll is lavishly illustrated with numerous costumed figures and buildings that chronicle the Purim story. They feature not only excellent workmanship but also the maker's sense of humor reflected in exaggerated theatrical gestures and misshapen proportions. 

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Name/Title
GFC Statt Susonn Illustrated Esther Scroll | Unknown
Object Detail
Date
First half of the 18th century
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Origin
Historical Origin
Unknown
Community type
Unknown |
Congregation
Unknown
Location
Unknown |
Site
Unknown
School/Style
Unknown|
Period
Unknown
Period Detail
Collection
Documentation / Research project
Unknown
Material/Technique
Ink and paints on parchment + silver
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Density
Colors
Construction material
Measurements
The scroll: 92x1472 mm.
Height
Length
Width
Depth
Circumference
Thickness
Diameter
Weight
Axis
Panel Measurements
Condition

The manuscript is well preserved, although its opening and final parts are very dark and the decorations on it are damaged.

The final panel is not preserved entirely; to the final part of the membrane and underneath it, a short piece of parchment is glued.

There are some slight damages to the decorations in the scroll.

Extant
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
Languages of inscription
Unknown
Type of grave
Unknown
0
Ornamentation
Custom
Contents

The Book of Esther in Hebrew

Codicology

The scroll is formed of 3 sheets, containing in total 17 "columns" of text of 16, 18, 20-24, or 26 lines each. "Col." 15 includes 11 lines divided into two half-columns.

The lines of the text fit the shape of the panels, therefore they are of different lengths.

The number of the text columns per membrane: no. 1 - 4, no. 2 - 7, no. 3 - 6.

The text is written in Hebrew square Ashkenazi script with tagin in brown ink on the flesh side of the parchment membranes.

Additions to the text in the semi-cursive script are written.

The letters ח (Es. 1:6) and ת (Es. 9:29) are enlarged and bolded. Other enlarged and diminished letters are included in col. 15.

The ruling is made with a hard point; only horizontal lines are visible. 

The pricking is invisible.

The membranes in the scroll are stitched together.

Scribes
Script
Number of Lines
Ruling
Pricking
Quires
Catchwords
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Direction/Location
Façade (main)
Endivances
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
Coin Series
Coin Ruler
Coin Year
Denomination
Signature
Colophon

None

Scribal Notes

The caption "Statt Susonn" written in Latin letters above the cityscape at the top of the first column of the text appears.

Watermark
Hallmark
Group
Group
Group
Group
Group
Trade Mark
Binding
Decoration Program
Summary and Remarks

This megillah is one of three scrolls from Germany featuring similar decorative programs, most likely executed by the same anonymous artist. However, only this one includes figurative scenes of the Esther story. All three of them, in their opening panels, show cityscapes of Susa (Shushan), the capital of the ancient Persian Empire. All three also bear the caption "Statt Susonn" written in Latin letters - hence the designation for the scroll's artist. The other scroll is in the collection of The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York (S44), and the third one was sold at the New York Sotheby's auction in 2013 (see "Bibliography").

Suggested Reconsdivuction
History/Provenance
Main Surveys & Excavations
Bibliography

The scroll was reproduced in a limited edition facsimile by Linda and Michael Falter, Facsimile Editions Limited, London:

https://www.facsimile-editions.com/en/me/ (accessed on 24.09.2020).

The lot description of one of the other scrolls by the same artist:

http://www.sothebys.com/content/sothebys/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2013/judaica-n09060/lot.100A.html (23.09.2015).

Short Name
Full Name
Volume
Page
Type
Documenter
Dagmara Budzioch | 2020
Author of description
Dagmara Budzioch | 2020
Architectural Drawings
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Computer Reconstruction
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Section Head
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Language Editor
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Donor
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Negative/Photo. No.