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Illuminated Parchment Esther Scroll – Italy, 18th Century
Auction house commission: 23%
VAT: On commission only
Illuminated Esther scroll. [Italy, 18th century].
Ink on parchment; printed decorations and illustrations, colored by hand.
Ten columns, set within decorative frames; the intercolumnar spaces are decorated with framed panels filled with stylized floral motifs. Above and below the intercolumnar spaces are panels enclosing intricate labyrinth motifs. Twenty printed illustrations appear in the upper and lower bands, colored by hand, depicting scenes from the megillah narrative, from Achashverosh's feast to the hanging of Haman's sons and the Purim festivities. The beginning and end of the scroll are decorated with fine floral motifs, likewise printed and colored by hand.
The scroll is placed in a fine leather and marbled paper case, with gilt decorations.
Height: 16.5 cm. Fair condition. Parchment darkened and stained, particularly in first membrane. Creases. Large open tear at beginning of first membrane, repaired with paper, affecting decorations, not affecting text (decorations replaced by hand). Small open tears to first membrane, repaired with paper. Damage and minor tears. Losses and damage to paint and decorations. Membrane 3 from different parchment.
A similar Esther scroll (presumably mostly printed from the same plates, apart from a variant opening decoration) exists in the National Czartoryski Museum in Krakow, Poland, and is recorded in the Bezalel Narkiss Index of Jewish Art – Center of Jewish Art, catalog no. 2442.