Painted Esther Scroll (Italy, 18th century) [62.0.21]
Painted manuscript of the Book of Esther, rolled for use on the holiday of Purim. The Hebrew text, in Ashkenazi squared Hebrew script (without Masoretic punctuation), is set in 15-line sections throughout the manuscript.

The first thirteen sections (until Esther 4:1) are decorated with painted scenes illustrating the story narrated in the text. The remaining sections bear marks made in preparation for further decorations.

Illustrated scenes include: king Ahasuerus' banquet (Esther 1:3); queen Vashti's banquet (section 2; Esther 1:9); the king's ministers requesting the queen's presence at the king's banquet (section 3; Esther 10-12); the king and the seven princes of Persia and Media (section 4; Esther 1:14); the king's emissaries visiting young women (section 5; Esther 2:2); young women brought to the king's palace (section 6; Esther 2:3); the interiors of the royal palace and Hegai, keeper of the women (section 7; Esther 2:8); the encounter between Esther and the king (section 8; Esther 2:16); Bigthan and Teresh, the rebellious ministers (section 9; Esther 2:21); the king's servants warning Mordecai by the king's gate (section 10; Esther 3:3); Mordecai refuses to bow to Haman (section 11; Esther 3:5-6); the king's scribes (section 12; Esther 3:12); the king and Haman sit down to drink (section 13; Esther 3:15).

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