Illustrated Esther scroll

The Book of Esther is a central part of Purim, the festival commemorating the deliverance of the Jews from the plot of Haman. Since antiquity, it has been recited in synagogue from a parchment scroll (megilah), like this one. From the style of its illustrations, we think this incomplete Esther scroll was made in the 18th century in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Pictures from the story of Esther surround the text, with characters dressed in contemporary garments, and with colourful flowers and birds. Some scenes give a visual commentary by showing rabbinical interpretations of the biblical text. 

Esther scroll

Austro-Hungarian Empire(?), mid-18th century
Hebrew MS 44
Composite image showing the entire Esther scroll (Hebrew MS 44)

Esther scroll

Click on the arrow below for a closer look. For a visual guide please click here.