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Art of Ethiopia Paperback – January 3, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press (January 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0954901460
  • ISBN-13: 978-0954901462
  • Product Dimensions: 11.8 x 9.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,322,478 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The hand crosses, icons and illuminated manuscripts of Ethiopian Christianity are the subject of this slim, lavishly illustrated volume, a treasure of devotional art. Though today a majority of its citizens are Muslim, Ethiopia-the oldest independent country in Africa-has Christian roots that date to the fourth century and the conversion of their King Ezana, and the Orthodox Christian art featured here dates from the 12th century to the 19th. This carefully curated book is divided into three sections, focusing on the ornate cast iron and bronze crosses first used in church processionals during the Middle Ages; the illuminated texts that were popular from the 14th to the 16th century and then again in the late 17th and 18th; and the painted icons that had begun playing a crucial role in worship by the 15th century. All reveal the dynamic marriage of Judeo-Christian and sub-Saharan African traditions and the traffic between Ethiopia and Byzantine, Islamic and European art. The crosses have a Celtic flavor, the icons seem Byzantine and some compositions were modeled on Roman paintings-and yet the subject matter, figures and colors form a distinct iconographic tradition.
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Review

[Art of the Ethiopia] is a beautiful catalogue.... The clear, full-color images enable close study of the narratives and portraits represented.... [it] will serve for years to come as a resource for those interested in Ethiopian liturgical art.

(Museum Anthropology)

The hand crosses, icons and illuminated manuscripts of Ethiopian Christianity are the subject of this slim, lavishly illustrated volume, a treasure of devotional art. Though today a majority of its citizens are Muslim, Ethiopia-the oldest independent country in Africa-has Christian roots that date to the fourth century and the conversion of their King Ezana, and the Orthodox Christian art featured here dates from the 12th century to the 19th. This carefully curated book is divided into three sections, focusing on the ornate cast iron and bronze crosses first used in church processionals during the Middle Ages; the illuminated texts that were popular from the 14th to the 16th century and then again in the late 17th and 18th; and the painted icons that had begun playing a crucial role in worship by the 15th century. All reveal the dynamic marriage of Judeo-Christian and sub-Saharan African traditions and the traffic between Ethiopia and Byzantine, Islamic and European art. The crosses have a Celtic flavor, the icons seem Byzantine and some compositions were modeled on Roman paintings-and yet the subject matter, figures and colors form a distinct iconographic tradition.

(Publishers Weekly)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Milton A. Meads on December 25, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was given to my husband for Christmas. He has spent many delightful hours pouring over it and translating the art into his own interpretations of wood carvings.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jeffery Mingo on June 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
East Africans are beautiful! It's not just Iman; they all have that type of hotness. I went to college with Selassie's grandson and he was cute. So if you understand that those from the Horn of Africa are quite personable, then you'll want to see their artwork.
Womanist writer bell hooks, on several occasions, has registered her disgust when people of all races imply that angels or Biblical figures shouldn't be painted as Black. In protest, she once put a painting of a Black angel done by an Ethiopian on the cover of her book. For those who love seeing, Black Biblical figures, then the artwork here will please you. The Coptic Christians of Ethiopia prove that there were Black Christians in existence before colonialism.
The work here does not have the realism that one may expect from Western trained artists. In one painting, a man holds a baby and the baby looks like it's ripping through the adult's arm. In another, a woman is holding her child and she has fingers, but no arm. These works have a "cartoony" vibe similar to drawings and tapestries of William the Conqueror's time. Please understand the art can be deemed "imperfect," but it has much value outside of that.
Many Black cultural critics have complained about how much Western art only portrays one Black, if it shows any Blacks at all. You can see that in the expendable figures in "The Boys in the Band" and "Melrose Place." Kobena Mercer has made a similar condemnation of Mapplethorpe's "Little Black Book." The same critique can be lobbed against the controversial Impressionist painting "Olympia." This book and its art contain many paintings of multiple Blacks. Though iconographic, these works show Blacks in community, and sometimes communion, with each other.
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