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Obj. ID: 39609  GFC Shalom Italia Engraved Esther Scroll with Hand-Drawn Illustrations, Amsterdam, 1640s

© Gross Family Collection (GFC), Photographer: Bar Hama, Ardon, -.

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Name/Title
GFC Shalom Italia Engraved Esther Scroll with Hand-Drawn Illustrations | Unknown
Object Detail
Date
1640s
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Historical Origin
Unknown
Community
Unknown |
Location
Unknown |
Site
Unknown
School/Style
Unknown|
Period
Period Detail
Gross Family Collection No.
081.012.040
Material/Technique
Ink in parchment (printed border, handwritten text) + wood + silk
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Density
Colors
Construction material
Measurements
The scroll: 335x4830 mm.
Height
Length
Width
Depth
Circumference
Thickness
Diameter
Weight
Axis
Panel Measurements
Hallmark
Condition

In general, the manuscript (the text, decorations, and parchments) is well preserved.

The silk is dirty.

Extant
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
Description

Lavishly decorated Esther scroll adorned with an engraved border designed by Shalom ben Mordecai Italia (also known as Shalom D'Italia).

The scroll opens with a symmetrical decoration composed of six birds and a prefatory panel with two angels and cartouches. In the upper cartouche, a coat of arms is drawn, while in the lower cartouche, the initial benedictions are written. Below it, on the ribbon, the name of the artist is printed.

The Hebrew text of the Book of Esther is inscribed within elaborately decorated arcades on which ornamentation of the upper margins is placed. They are filled with repetitive elements: two women with their heads turned away from one another, holding palm branches and leaning on broken pediments (possibly an allegory of Peace) and flower-filled vases placed inside the pediments (they are flanked by decorative masks) and separating the pairs of women. In the elongated cartouches placed at the top of the arches, various land- and cityscapes are included. Full figures of four Esther story protagonists - Ahasuerus, Esther, Mordecai, and Haman - are placed in the niches between the text panels. They stand on small octagonal pedestals on which narrative scenes from the Book of Esther are drawn in pen and ink (in all other copies - see "Related objects" - they are filled with eight different land- and seascapes). The same engraved metal plate was used for all membranes; therefore, the decorative scheme repeats along with the entire length of the scroll, except for illustrations.

Underneath the opening section of the scroll, a piece of silk fabric is stitched. The scroll is mounted on the roller but it is not stitched to it.

Custom
Contents

The Book of Esther in Hebrew preceded by the initial benedictions.

Codicology

The scroll is formed of 4 sheets. The first 3 sheets contain in total 22 columns with the text of the Book of Esther and the two additional panels are written on the fourth sheet. Each column includes 21 lines, except for col. 19 which has 19 lines, col. 20 which has 11 lines divided into two half-columns, and col. 22 with 23 lines (the last two words of the book are written on the lower margin).

The number of columns of text per sheet: nos. 1 - 6 columns, nos. 2 and 3 - 8 columns, no. 4 - 2 columns.

The text is written in Hebrew square script in brown ink of different shades on the flesh side of parchment membranes.

The letters ח (Es. 1:6) and ת (Es. 9:29) are enlarged and bolded. Other enlarged and diminished letters are included in col. 20.

The text opens with an enlarged word ויהי written separately in the first line.

The name of Harbona in col. 14 starts with an enlarged letter ח that is formed of two parts joined with a roof.

The ruling is barely visible and only in a few places.

The pricking is invisible.

The membranes of the scroll are stitched together.

Scribes
Script
Number of Lines
Ruling
Pricking
Quires
Catchwords
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Direction/Location
Façade (main)
Endivances
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
Signature
The signature of the engraver is incorporated in the opening decoration: "Salom. Italia sculpsit."
Colophon

Within the last arcade (no. 22 on the fourth membrane), a short inscription by the scribe Moses Gabay in Portuguese is written: "Mosse gabay escreueo esta migila [two illegible words] 1470 [or 1670]".

Scribal Notes
Watermark
Binding
Decoration Program
Summary and Remarks

It seems the illustrations were drawn with the same ink as the text was copied.

Some details on the third membrane are colored with orange paint.

The text in col. 20 is written in darker ink.

There are several scrolls sharing the same pattern and others adorned with different borders designed by the same artist (see "Related objects").

History/Provenance
Main Surveys & Excavations
Bibliography

Bibliography concerning the scrolls designed by Shalom Italia or attributed to him:

Sharon Assaf, Emily D. Bilski, Salom Italia's Esther Scrolls and the Dutch Golden Age, Amsterdam 2011.

A Journey through Jewish Worlds: Highlights from the Braginsky Collection of Hebrew Manuscripts and Printed Books, eds. E.M. Cohen, E. Schrijver, S. Liberman Mintz, Amsterdam 2009, 228-231 (describes another scroll designed by Shalom Italia).

Michael Garel, An Esther Scroll by Shalom Italia, "The Israel Museum Journal" 5 (Spring 1986), 107–108.

Mordecai Narkiss, Yeẓurato shel Shalom ben rabbi Mordechai Italia (1619–1655?) [The Oeuvre of the Jewish Engraver Salom Italia (1619–1655?)], "Tarbiz" 25(4), 1956, 441–451, and: ibidem no. 26(1), 1957, 87–101.

Shalom Sabar, A New Discovery: The Earliest Illustrated Esther Scroll by Shalom Italia, „Ars Judaica” 2012, no. 8, 119–136.

Schöne Seiten. Jüdische Schriftkultur aus der Braginsky Collection, eds. Emile Schrijver, Falk Wiesemann, Evelyn M. Cohen, Sharon Liberman Mintz, Menahem Schmeltzer, Zurich 2011, 274‒279.

Short Name
Full Name
Volume
Page
Type
Documenter
Dagmara Budzioch | 2021
Researcher
Dagmara Budzioch | 2021
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