Obj. ID: 40922
Sacred and Ritual Objects Esther scroll case, Lviv (Lvov, Lwów, Lemberg), circa 1900
The following description was prepared by William Gross:
The Scroll of Esther tells the story of the salvation of the Jews of the Persian Empire. Since the Talmudic period it has been customary to write the Book of Esther on parchment in the form of a scroll, and the rules governing its production and writing are basically the same as those for a traditional Torah scroll. It is not known when and under what circumstances artistic embellishment of Esther scrolls began. The earliest extant illuminated Esther scrolls emanate from 16th-century Italy, commissioned by well-to-do Italian Jews. Cylindrical or polygonal cases were often made to house such scrolls, often provided with a crank handle to roll the parchment through a vertical slot. Cases were made of copper, tin, and wood, but fine silver and some ivory cases have survived as well. Such containers for the scroll were mostly produced in Italy, Austria and the Ottoman Empire.
Crafted in a style copying engraved examples from the 17th century, this case was made by a Lemberg (Lvov) artisan by the name of Baruch Dornhelm. The exquisite workmanship establishes him as one of the premier Jewish silversmiths in Lvov at the turn of the 20th century. His story was told by the Lvov collector of the 20's and 30's, Maximillian Goldstein. For many years, because of the style and accuracy of the images effected in the metal by the repoussé technique, the objects produced by the skilled Dornhelm were considered to be 17th and 18th century and were often sold as such.
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Mordecai's triumph (Es. 6:11)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Haman's daughter empties a chamber pot on her father's head (Bab. Talmud, Megillah 16a)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Haman's sons hanged (Es. 9:14)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Mordecai writing the Purim letter (Es. 9:29)