On the holiday of Purim, which begins on Thursday night this year, the book of Esther is traditionally read from a handwritten scroll. One of the oldest such scrolls extant has recently been in acquired by the National Library of Israel, where it can be viewed online:
Scholars have determined that the . . . scroll was written by a scribe in the Iberian Peninsula around 1465, prior to the Spanish and Portuguese expulsions at the end of the 15th century. These conclusions are based on both stylistic and scientific evidence, including Carbon-14 dating.
The megillah is written in brown ink on leather in an elegant, characteristic Sephardi script, which resembles that of a Torah scroll. The first panel, before the text of the book of Esther, includes the traditional blessings recited before and after the reading of the megillah, and attests to the ritual use of this scroll in a pre-expulsion Iberian Jewish community.
According to experts, there are very few extant Esther scrolls from the medieval period in general, and from the 15th century in particular. Torah scrolls and Esther scrolls from pre-expulsion Spain and Portugal are even rarer, with only a small handful known to exist.