A king is a very important man. He is usually surrounded by advisers, wears special clothes, wears a crown and lives in a magnificent palace. The Book of Esther, for example, describes Ahasuerus' feast in his garden as being decorated with colorful fabrics of light blue, white, green, and crimson. The author also mentions sofas made of gold and silver as well as cutlery made of gold. The Book of Esther in the museum collection presents us with a wide variety of garments and represents a combination of East and West. In this scroll we find Vashti in Western attire, alongside Ahasuerus in Oriental attire with a large turban on his head.
King David, on the other hand, is often depicted with the object most associated with him - the harp. David can be seen playing the harp both in a distinctly non-religious engraving and on the title page of a printed Bible book.
Pharaoh also receives his own treatment. Many times biblical and mythological figures were represented in contemporary attire. For example, in an illustration from the Passover Haggadah, Pharaoh is depicted as a typical European king, with a crown, scepter and robe decorated with white weasel fur with black dots as can be found to this day in royal robes.
Book of Esther,
Northern Italy, late 17th century
Handwriting on parchment decorated with engraving and painted margins
Donation from the Shapira family
The feast of King Ahasuerus, except from the Book of Esther
A medallion with a scene from David's life
Engraving on paper
Moshe Aharon and King David, opening page for the Bible in two volumes
Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 1716
Printing on paper
The Miley Brothers Gift in Honor of Their Father Umberto Miley, 1992
Moses and Aaron before Pharaoh, illustration from the Passover Haggadah
Vienna, Austria, 1749
Handwriting, ink, gold and watercolor on parchment
Gift of Nora Aviad, 1987