Illustrated Parchment Manuscript – Seder Tikunei Shabbat by the Arizal, with Songs for Shabbat and Motzaei Shabbat – Written for a Woman – Germany/Austria, 18th Century

Opening: $37,000
Estimate: $40,000 - $60,000

Illustrated parchment manuscript, Seder Tikunei Shabbat. [Germany/Austria, 18th century].
Pocket format. Ink on parchment, with colorful illustrations. Ashkenazic square script, vocalized, in various sizes; and semi-cursive (Rashi) script.
This illustrated manuscript is characteristic of the Moravian school of art, of 18th century Germany or Austria. The illustrator of this manuscript was presumably familiar with manuscripts produced by members of this school: Aaron Wolf Schreiber Herlingen of Gewitsch, Meshulam Simmel of Polna and others, and his illustrations were inspired by their works.
The manuscript opens with an illustrated title page, depicting a three-arched gateway, with Moses and Aaron in the side archways and the manuscript's title in the central archway. The title ends with the words "in Amsterdam typeface"; the word "Amsterdam" is enlarged (as was often done by printers in those days). A walled European city is depicted at the top of the title page, with a wanderer walking along a path near it. At the foot of the page, dedication to the woman for whom the manuscript was prepared, encircled by a wreath tied with a ribbon: "In honor of the prominent woman… Gittel daughter of the community leader…" (some of the letters are erased or faded, and the inscription is difficult to decipher).
Each page of the manuscript is enclosed in an orange border. Eight enlarged and decorated initial words (pp. 2a, 4a, 7a, 16a, 22b, 24a, 29b, 37a). Illustration depicting the Havdalah ceremony (on p. 33b), based on a woodcut printed in Sefer HaMinhagim in Germany and Amsterdam in the 16th and 17th centuries. The initial words are decorated in various styles, mostly inspired by printed books and decorated manuscripts from the 17th and 18th centuries. They are set within colorful borders and are decorated with illustrations of flowers and branches, birds, seashells, lions, putti, curtains and crowns.
The manuscript ends on p. 48a (with a statement of the manuscript's completion). On the verso, wedding blessings and Sheva Berachot were added in a later hand.

[40] parchment leaves. 11 cm. Fair-good condition. Many stains. Tears to title page and three other leaves. Faded ink and blemishes. Several leaves with damage to text. Repairs in several places. New binding.

Regarding the artists of the Moravian school, see: Shalom Sabar, Seder Birkat HaMazon, Vienna, 1719/20 – The Earliest Known Illuminated Manuscript by the Scribe-Artist Aaron Wolf Schreiber Herlingen of Gewitsch, in: Zechor Davar LeAvdecha: Essays and Studies in Memory of Prof. Dov Rappel, edited by Shmuel Glick and Avraham Grossman, Jerusalem: The Center for Jewish Educational Thought in Memory of Dov Rappel, Lifshitz College, pp. 455-472 and plates 8-17.

Esther Scrolls and Parchment Manuscripts