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Obj. ID: 23765  JHM Aryeh Leib ben Daniel of Goray Early Esther Scroll, Central Europe, 1736/1737

© Jewish Historical Museum (Joods Historisch Museum), Photographer: Unknown, -.

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JHM Aryeh Leib ben Daniel of Goray Early Esther Scroll | Unknown
Object Detail
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Aryeh Leib ben Daniel of Goray (Goraj)
(Scribe and artist)
{"2313":"Aryeh Leib ben Daniel of Goray (18th century, dates of life unknown) was a prolific artist and scribe who used to include scribal notes in the manuscripts and due to them, some stages of his career can be traced. The earliest evidence of his artistic activity is proved by the scrolls dated to 1732 and 1733 created when he still was in Goray (Pol. Goraj, Poland), his hometown. Around 1737 his presence and activity are testified in Germany and in the 1740s in Italy. Here he executed at least four examples of the decorated scrolls and in some other adorned with printed frames designed by Francesco Griselini (see \"Griselini scrolls\" in the Index) he copied the text of Megillah. The latest manuscript including Aryeh Leib's colophon is dated to 1755 and was written in France. The scrolls created over 20 years of his activity as an artist and a scribe show that his style developed and transformed from the manuscripts painted in multicolored and delicate water paints to these decorated solely in a pen and brown ink that feature his mature style. So far, no manuscripts - other than Esther scrolls - produced by him have been found."}
Europe | Central Europe
| Poland or Germany
Historical Origin
Unknown |
Unknown |
Period Detail
Ink and paints on parchment
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Construction material
The scroll: 270x1960 mm (without a frame that is 330x2000 mm).
Panel Measurements

The initial and final sections of the scroll are very dark and dirty.

There are some stains on the membranes.

A part of the scribal inscription written at the beginning is barely visible.

The inscription on the right margin of the first membrane is illegible.

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

The scroll features the style of the early scrolls (from the 1730s) produced by Aryeh Leib ben Daniel of Goray (Pol. Goraj), Poland. The upper margins are decorated with floral motif. The Hebrew text of the Book of Esther is written in rectangular text panels and the spaces between them are filled with almost naked supporters holding baskets with flowers. Above them are roundels containing the enlarged word ha-melekh ("the king") decorated with two birds (they are depicted in different configurations) and an angel's head; in the last of them, the scribe penned his colophon. Below the supporters, there are rectangular frames containing narrative scenes from the Esther story.


The Book of Esther in Hebrew


The scroll is formed of 3 sheets, containing in total 9 columns of the text of 27 lines of various lengths.

Every membrane includes 3 columns of text.

The text is written in Hebrew square Ashkenazi script with tagim, in brown ink on the flesh side of the parchment membranes that seem to be of medium thickness and rather suede.

The letters ח (Es. 1:6) and ת (Es. 9:29) are enlarged. Enlarged and diminished letters are included in the Haman's sons section.

The initial word of the scroll is enlarged and bolded.

The text includes numerous elongated letters and some erasures and corrections are visible in it.

The names of God are highlighted by enlarged and bolded letters, e.g. col. 2.

The ruling is well visible - horizontal and vertical lines - along with the membranes.

The pricking can be seen at the beginning and end of the scroll.

The membranes in the scroll are glued together.

Number of Lines
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Façade (main)
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

Colophon of the artist-scribe is divided into two parts that are penned in the semicircles placed at the beginning and at the end of the manuscript. The text in the first semicircle bears the date but is faded and only barely visible. In the second semicircle, the artist-scribe included his name - Aryeh Leib ben Daniel of Goray Polin Katan.

Scribal Notes
Decoration Program
Summary and Remarks

The text panels are big and wide.

The lines of the decorations that currently are light green, could originally be gold.

The scroll is stored unrolled within a frame.

Main Surveys & Excavations

The scroll is available on the Museum's website: https://data.jck.nl/page/aggregation/jhm-museum/M000416 (accessed on 24.05.2021).

Bibliography on other scrolls made by Aryeh Leib ben Daniel of Goray or attributed to him:

Dagmara Budzioch, The Decorated Esther Scrolls from the Museum of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw and the Tradition of Megillot Esther Decoration in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries – An Outline [Polish: Dekorowane zwoje Estery z Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego w Warszawie na tle tradycji dekorowania megilot Ester w XVII i XVIII wieku. Zarys problematyki], Warsaw 2019, 1:206-215.

Ernest Namenyi, "The Illumination of Hebrew Manuscripts after the Invention of Printing," in Cecil Roth (ed.), Jewish Art, an Illustrated History (London, 1961), col. 435.

Mendel Metzger, The Earliest Engraved Italian Megilloth, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 1966, 48/2, esp. 409, 422-425.

Olga Sixtova, O svitku / Form of the Scroll [katalog k výstavě konané v Galerii Roberta Guttmanna Židovského muzea v Praze od 22. června do 26. července 2006], Prag 2006, 32-33.

A Journey through Jewish Worlds: Highlights from the Braginsky Collection of Hebrew Manuscripts and Printed Books, eds. Evelyn M. Cohen, Emile Schrijver, Sharon Liberman Mintz, Amsterdam 2009, 246-249.

Schöne Seiten. Jüdische Schriftkultur aus der Braginsky Collection, eds. Emile Schrijver, Falk Wiesemann, Evelyn M. Cohen, Sharon Liberman Mintz, Menahem Schmeltzer, Zurich 2011, 266-269.

A Fine Illustrated Esther Scroll, [ca. 1740], lot 105, Sotheby's New York Important Judaica, 20 December 2017 https://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/lot.105.html/2017/important-judaica-n09687 (accessed on 31.07.2020).

A Magnificent Esther Scroll Written and illustrated Aryeh Leib ben Daniel of Goray, Schwelm, 1737, lot 187, Sotheby's New York Important Judaica Including Property from the Estate of Shlomo Moussaieff, 15 December 2016 https://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2016/important-judaica-n09589/lot.187.html (accessed on 31.07.2020).

Short Name
Full Name
Dagmara Budzioch | 2021
Dagmara Budzioch | 2021
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