Obj. ID: 38108
Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts IM Interlaced Pattern Esther Scroll, Venice (?), second half of the 17th century
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. The scroll lacks its opening part and the first column of text was supplemented later. Upper and lower margins are filled with repeating interlaced pattern that joins with symmetrical decorations separating the double text panels (the fifth panel contains a single column). The panels are separated by an interlaced ornament enclosed in a rectangular frame.
The manuscript is stored in a leather case covered with embroidered velvet.
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 handwriting on the later addition to the scroll is slightly different but it also represents an Italian type of Hebrew script.
The final part of the scroll of ca. 30 mm width is blank.
The length of the membranes in the scroll: 1) ca. 390 mm (the membrane is wavy), 2) 320 mm, 3) ca. 350 mm (the final part of the scroll is rolled).
Dimensions of the selected details in the scroll:
- upper and lower margins - 23 mm (height);
- a text panel (inside) - ca. 81x52 mm;
- an average letter: 1-1,5 mm (height);
- an average letter in col. 14: 2 mm (height).
The opening section of the scroll and the first column of text are not preserved and they were supplemented with a piece of different parchment that was glued underneath. It seems to be painted with light yellow paint or covered with yellow glue.
The second membrane is better preserved than the first one but coloring is brighter and more damaged on it. On the third sheet, the coloring is very well preserved and strong.
Except for the beginning of the scroll, the text is quite well preserved.
The sheets are rather dirty and this causes that they are darker than originally.
The Book of Esther in Hebrew
The scroll is formed of 3 sheets, containing in total 17 columns of text of 22 lines. Col. 14 includes 11 lines divided into two half-columns.
Membranes nos. 1 and 3 contain 6 columns of text, and membrane no. 2 contains 5 columns.
The text is written in Hebrew square Italian script in black ink on the flesh side of the parchment membranes that are thin and delicate. Both sides of the membranes can be recognized.
The letter ח (Es. 1:6) is slightly larger. The letter ת (Es. 9:29) is enlarged. Other enlarged and diminished letters are included in col. 14.
The ruling is invisible, except for the opening section of the scroll that is a later addition to it and col. 14 where horizontal lines are visible.
The pricking is invisible.
The membranes in the scroll are stitched together.
Chaya Benjamin, The Stieglitz Collection: Masterpieces of Jewish Art, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Jerusalem 1987.