Esther Scroll (IX.5)
Italy, Venice (?)
Second half of the 17th century
Hand-painted, printed and hand-painted border Ink and gouache on parchment, 5 membranes, 19 text columns, 23 lines per column 255 × 2560 mm (10.0 × 100.8 in.) Wooden roller, 460 mm (18.1 in.)
This scroll is a hand drawn copy of an engraved border that was characterized by the scholar Mendel Metzger as the Gaster II type. It opens with a decoration that consists of leaves and flowers, among which are placed four figures of animals: a deer, a leopard, an eagle and a lion that are an allusion to the text from the tractate Pirkei Avot 5:23. In the central part is a blank decorative cartouche. The main body of decoration on the scroll consists of a row of arcades enframing the text columns. The arcades serve as a base for a balustrade on which pairs of birds are placed that are either turkeys or roosters with their heads turned towards the back. Between each two of them is located a cartouche and above each one of them is depicted either a double-headed eagle (accompanies the pairs of turkeys) or a peacock (accompanies the pairs of roosters). The following pairs of birds are separated by the flower-filled vases. The lower margin contains narrative scenes enclosed in rectangular frames separated by the bases of the pillars decorated with flowers. The illustrations seem to be printed from the separate metal plates and then colored by hand (in the illustration no. 10 are traces of a different image that was originally printed in here). The scroll ends with symmetrical floral decoration.