Auction 92 Part 2 Rare and Important Manuscripts and Items of the Gross Family Collection

Large, Decorated Esther Scroll – Morocco, ca. 1800 – One of the Largest Known Moroccan Scrolls

Opening: $20,000
Estimate: $30,000 - $40,000
Sold for: $87,500
Including buyer's premium

Large Esther scroll, decorated in color. Morocco [presumably Essaouira (Mogador), ca. 1800].
Ink and paint on parchment.
Esther scroll; Sephardic script in brown ink on nine large parchment membranes sewn together, 21 columns of text, 17-19 lines per column (the first membrane comprises 41 lines of text, see below). Some of the text is vocalized (later addition).
The text is set within decorative, geometric and foliate frames, in green and brown hues – in a style typical of contemporary North-African ornamentation. Each column of text is set in a frame designed as an arch (several pointed arches in the final columns). Several narrower columns near the end of the scroll (column 17 with the names of Haman's sons, and columns 18-20). The columns are separated by pillar-like ornaments, with clover-shaped and triangular capitals and pedestals.
The first membrane differs in script, design and ornamentation, and was presumably added to replace the original membrane which was lost or damaged. On this membrane, the text is set within a horseshoe arch with a particularly narrow base (resembling a keyhole), with foliate designs in red and green. Most of the text was scribed within the arch, yet the first verses of the Megillah were scribed above the arch, within an outer frame.
To the best of our knowledge, this scroll is one of the largest decorated Esther scrolls from Morocco.

487X34 cm. Overall good condition. Blemishes and tears, including open tears, to edges of first two membranes, repaired. Wear and stains (primarily to first membrane). Several additional tears, repaired in part.

Shalom Sabar, Sephardi Elements in North African Hebrew Manuscript Decoration, printed in: Jewish Art, vol. 18 (1992), pp. 168-191 (illustrated on page 190).
• Yeshiva University Museum, New York: "The Sephardic Journey: 1492-1992", 1990-1992 (see exhibition catalog, p. 290, no. 373).
• Klutznick National Jewish Museum, Washington: "Faces of Faith", 1994.
The scroll is digitized on the NLI website. It is also documented in the Center for Jewish Art (CJA), item 39608.
Provenance: The Gross Family Collection, Tel Aviv, 081.012.024.

Broadsides, Jewish Ceremonial Art, Parchment Manuscripts