Early 20th Century Bezalel Purim Megillah Scroll

20th century

 Twelve-foot long Hamelech parchment scroll shows exceptional calligraphy.  Olive wood case is typical of the Bezalel School, Jerusalem.  Fine turned case has pressed flower inlay, and "Jerusalem" stamped in ink under heavy lacquer finish.

Identifer: CJF.2009.001.087


Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design; Items on Display; Purim

University of Cincinnati Hillel Collection

Bezalel School, a school for the study of arts and crafts in Jerusalem (now regarded as the national institution for the study of arts and design in Israel) was founded in 1906 by the sculptor, Boris Schatz. 

Megillah means “scroll” and so it recalls a time in history when all books, including the Bible, were written on parchment scrolls.  But it has come to refer particularly to the Scroll of Esther, written on parchment or leather, and wound on a single rod, often enclosed in a protective case or cover, often elaborately decorated.  The scrolls used for synagogue reading are not illuminated, but those commissioned for private use usually are.  Their details illustrate the story which commemorates the triumph of the Jewish Queen Esther and her uncle Mordecai over the king’s wicked prime minister, Haman, who elaborated a plan to exterminate the Jews.  The story is read in a carnival atmosphere in the synagogue on the morning and evening of the holiday.


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