Esther Scroll (VI.9.(2))
The Netherlands, Amsterdam
Early 18th century
Printed border Ink on parchment, 4 membranes, benedictions + 16 text columns, 26 lines per column 200 × 1715 mm (7.9 × 67.5 in.)
A popular and lavishly decorated and illustrated engraved megillah. The first dated example of this engraved border is known from the year 1701 (now in a private collection in Zurich). During the 18th century, this border was reprinted many times with minor variations to the decorative scheme. In each scroll, one plate was used to print the overall decorative pattern on each membrane; however, the illustrations beneath the text, enclosed in rectangular frames, were printed from sixteen individual small metal plates. The scroll opens with a panel containing illustrations from the Esther story. In the upper register is an image of King Ahasuerus and Queen Esther accompanied by courtiers. In the middle register are three rectangular frames: the center panel contains the benedictions recited before the Megillah reading, while the panel on the right shows the traitorous chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, hanging on two gallows (2:23), and the one on the left depicts Haman and his sons hanging on three gallows (7:10, 9:14). The lowest register contains three narrative scenes (from right to left): Mordecai receiving the clothes from Hatakh (4:4), Haman leads Mordecai through Shushan (6:11), Esther and Mordecai write letters instructing the Jews to observe Purim (9:29). In the upper margin, four different landscapes are enclosed in ornamental frames, they are separated either by putti holding the baskets with flowers on their heads or by decorative capitals. Each membrane, features two putti and two capitals. The text is written in regular rectangular columns and bordered by columns decorated with reliefs, elaborate acanthus leaves and garlands of various shapes. Below are octagons with heads of angels and architecture elements (on each membrane, there are two heads of angels and two architecture elements). The lower margin is filled with sixteen illustrations enclosed in rectangular frames that are separated with vases filled with flowers.