Esther Scroll (IV.7)
Hand-drawn Ink on parchment, 5 membranes, benedictions + 13 text columns, 22, 24, 27, 32 or 33 lines per column 295 × 1830 mm (11.6 × 72.1 in.)
The scroll opens with the benedictions recited before the Megillah reading written in three medallions, one under the other. It is lavishly decorated in brown ink and although unsigned, is almost certainly the work of the scribe/artist – Isaac son of Moses Baruch Halevi (יצחק בר משה ברוך הלוי), whose name is known to us through other Esther scrolls and manuscripts which he has illustrated in this same characteristic style. The scroll is adorned with the elaborate foliate decoration flowers and leaves, precisely fill all the available space on the upper margin and between the text columns. Text columns are written within the decorative arcades and in four instances, four words (ויהי (1:1), איש (2:5), ומרדכי (8:15), ליהודים (8:16)) are stressed by writing them with larger letters and enclosing them in the decorative frames. One of them is additionally decorated with flowers, and another with running deer shown between trees. These words are highlighted as they begin each of the sentences which are traditionally recited aloud by the congregants during the reading of the megillah. The Tetragrammaton was also marked four times with enlarged and bolded letters.
Other scrolls decorated by this scribe are held in: the Jewish Museum in Prague (inv. No. 178.267, Ms 327), the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art in Berkeley (188.8.131.52), a private Collection in Europe, the Braginsky Collection.