Esther Scroll (VIII.8)
Germany or Central Europe (?)
Second half of the 18th century
Hand-painted border Ink on parchment, 4 membranes, benedictions + 16 text columns + closing panel with blessing and liturgical poem, 21, 27 or 28 lines per column 300 × 2590 mm (11.8 × 102.0 in.) Simple wooden roller, 355 mm (14.0 in.)
Hand drawn and illustrated scroll with decoration based on the popular scrolls with engraved borders produced in in Amsterdam in the early 18th century. decorated with busts of the Esther story heroes depicted in the medallions on the upper margin (scroll #50 in the HUC collection). The scroll opens with a panel containing illustrations from the Esther story. In upper register is depicted the royal couple who is accompanied by courtiers. The narrow panel below contains Hebrew words ברכת מגילה written against a black background. The lower consists of three rectangular frames: the middle one contains the benedictions recited before the Megillah reading, the frame on the right shows chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, hanging on two separate gallows (2:23), while the one on the left-hand side depicts Haman and his ten sons hanging on three gallows (7:10, 9:14). The lowest register consists of three narrative scenes; from right to left they are: Hatakh is bringing clothes for Mordecai (4:4), Haman leads Mordecai through Shushan (6:11), Esther and Mordecai write letters instructing the Jews to observe Purim (9:29). On the upper margin, in the decorative medallions, are depicted the busts of the Purim story protagonists; none of them repeats. The text is written in regular rectangular enframed columns and separated by various decorative patterns enclosed in vertical panels filled with plants (a tree, flowers, acanthus leaves), heads of angels, architectural elements, etc. Lower margin is filled with sixteen illustrations enclosed in the rectangular frames which width is equal to the texts columns. They are separated with octagons with various land- and seascapes.
The scroll contains also an illustration of the hanging of Haman’s ten sons (9:14) set within the 14th text column of Megillah. The scroll ends with the figures of five protagonists of the Esther story. Each of them holds an oval shield that contains a short excerpt from the liturgical poem Shoshanat Yaakov and the name of each figure.