In this lavishly illustrated scroll, each octagonal column of the Hebrew text of Esther is surrounded by a frame, except for col. 7. Each framed column of text is surrounded by 6 or 7 decorations: mainly narrative scenes from the Esther story, but also human figures, including the story’s protagonists, musicians, and unidentified people. There are also animals, buildings, and garlands. Figures are dressed in fashionable costumes of the artist’s time, including wigs and a hair done a la fontange. These strongly contrast with Jewish clothing common in numerous communities of the 17th and 18th centuries.
The Book of Esther in Hebrew
The membranes of the scroll are glued together.
Two other scrolls featuring the same style are extant: Obj ID 200 and M000440, JHM, Amsterdam
Figures in the biblical narrative are depicted as belonging to the higher social class of the artist’s day. These possibly represent court Jews, who could also be patrons and users of these manuscripts.