Obj. ID: 38117
Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts JMNY Esther Scroll with Octagonal Text Panels, Frankfurt am Main, 1806/1807
The right edge of the first membrane is trimmed into a decorative shape and it is filled with a composition of a family crest topped with a crowned heraldic helmet, two flags on either side of it, and two hearts below them. Their fields are used as a background for benedictions and between them, a Hebrew inscription is written (see "Colophon" and "Signature"). The Hebrew text of the Book of Esther is copied within octagonal panels flanked by quasi twisted columns decorated with floral motif and topped with crowned emblems filled with symbols of the Israeli tribes and Temple implements.
The scroll is mounted on a wooden roller but the last membrane is not stitched to it.
The scroll was shown during the exhibition A Tale of Two Cities: Jewish Life in Frankfurt and Istanbul, 1750-1870, September 20, 1982-October 30, 1983 at the Jewish Museum in New York.
In crowns, some traces of gold paint can be seen.
On the edges of the first and a part of the second membranes, tiny holes can be seen; possibly a piece of fabric was stitched underneath.
O | Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments | Flower
C | Crown
C | Coat of arms
H | Heart
F | Flag
W | Weapons | Helmet
T | Tribes/Sons of Israel
O | Ornamentation: | Main text framed
Length of the sheets in the scroll: 1) 255 mm, 2) 610 mm, 3) 605 mm, 4) 250 mm, 5) 665 mm, 6) 680 mm, 7) 615 mm, 8) ca. 680 mm, 9) 190 mm.
Dimensions of the selected details in the scroll:
- decoration between the octagons: 155x40 mm;
- text panels: 117x117 mm;
- an average letter: 3 mm (height);
- spaces between the lines of the text: 4 mm;
- letters in col. 24: 6 mm.
The roller: ca. 305 mm (height).
In general, the manuscript is very well preserved; only its beginning is damaged.
The Book of Esther in Hebrew with the benedictions recited before and after the Megillah reading.
The scroll is formed of 9 sheets (the first of them contains only benedictions), in total containing 29 columns of text with 14 lines each, except for col. 24 which has 11 lines divided into two half-columns and col. 29 with 5 lines. The lines are of different lengths so they can fit the shape of the panels.
The number of text columns per sheet: no. 1 - benedictions, nos. 2 and 3 - 4, no. 4 - 2, no. 5 - 4, no. 6 - 5, no. 7 - 4, no. 8 - 5, no. 9 - 1.
The text is inscribed in Hebrew square Ashkenazi script with tagin in brown ink of different shades on parchment membranes. The parchments are thick (except for the fourth sheet that is thin) and suede on their blank side; both sides of the membranes are similar.
The letters ח (Es. 1:6) and ת (Es. 9:29) are large and bolded. Other enlarged and diminished letters are included in col. 24.
The names of Hamn's sons (col. 24) are written in an unusual manner - the words ואת are written on the right, while the names - of equal length - are written on the left.
The ruling and pricking are invisible.
The membranes in the scroll are stitched together.
In the benedictions, a ligature of א and ל letters is used. The Tetragrammaton is replaced by two letters י with a flag of the letter ל and a leg of the א letter.
The scribal note is placed at the beginning of the scroll, between the decorative elements. It contains the date according to the Jewish calendar - 5567 - that is written three times. It is inscribed twice as קרס''ז and for the third time, a chronogram was used. This is a quotation from the Book of Esther 9:22: נהפך להם מיגון לשמחה, but the letters of the first word should not be counted for the date. The inscription mentions also the place of the manuscript's origin - Frankfurt am Main.
Gift of Mrs. Karl R. Finestere.
A short description of the scroll and its image are available on https://thejewishmuseum.org/collection/8898-esther-scroll (accessed on 10.08.2021).
Reader's Digest Complete Guide to the Bible, Pleasantville, NY 1998.