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Obj. ID: 49754
Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts
  Micrographic story of Esther, Germany, circa 1850

© Gross Family Collection, Photographer: Unknown, -

The following description was prepared by William Gross:

Micrography, the scribal practice of employing minuscule script to delineate shapes or figural designs, is an art form that has been used by Jews for over a millennium. In fact an original art form created by Jewish scribes, this intricate decorative technique was first practiced in the tenth century in Egypt and the Land of Israel. It developed within the Islamic cultural milieu in which the written word was frequently transformed into elaborate decorative patterns.

Much of the earliest micrography we have is found in biblical codices. These Bibles in book form were not subject to the stringent rabbinical rules that applied to the writing and form of a Torah scroll, whether the arrangement of text of the form of the letters. They also were unaffected by any prohibition against ornamentation, and thus offered the scribe considerable latitude in arranging and decorating their text.

By the early thirteenth century, micrography appeared in Europe in the Sephardic manuscripts of Spain and Portugal as well as in Ashkenazic works produced in Northern Europe. While manuscript production on the whole declined in the sixteenth century, micrography continued to be used to on Ketubot (marriage contracts) and wall hangings. From the seventeenth century onward, scribes who practiced the art of micrography favored the texts of the five Megillot, Psalms and Proverbs as the basis of their art.

In 1798, the invention of lithography extended the micrographic arts beyond the exclusive realm of one-of-a-kind manuscripts. Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the mass production of micrographic prints allowed this ancient art form to reach a much broader Jewish audience. These prints encompassed a wide variety of themes; biblical portraits and vignettes as well as panoramas of the holy sites of Israel were especially popular. Famous rabbinic, political and literary personalities such as Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Lyady, Theodor Herzl and Hayyim Nahman Bialik, were also favored subjects, whose micrographic portraits were rendered from the texts of their own books and poems.

This micrographic page is designed and written in the most aesthetic manner, carrying an elaborate drawn frame around a miniscule-letter micrographic text, itself arranged in a most intricate design. At least part of the text is the story of Esther.

Summary and Remarks
Remarks

1 image(s)

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Name/Title
| Unknown
Object Detail
Monument Setting
Unknown
Date
circa 1850
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Unknown
Origin
Historical Origin
Unknown
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Congregation
Unknown
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Unknown |
Site
Unknown
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Unknown|
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Collection
Documentation / Research project
Unknown
Textual Content
Unknown |
Languages of inscription
Unknown
Shape / Form
Unknown
Material / Technique
Paper, Ink, Written
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
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Material Cloth
Material Lining
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Measurements
Height: 28 cm, Width: 21.8 cm
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Documented by CJA
Surveyed by CJA
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Historical significance: Event/Period
Historical significance: Collective Memory/Folklore
Historical significance: Person
Architectural Significance: Style
Architectural Significance: Artistic Decoration
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0
Ornamentation
Custom
Contents
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Documenter
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Author of description
William Gross |
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Computer Reconstruction
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Language Editor
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Negative/Photo. No.
The following information on this monument will be completed:
Unknown |