Until the last quarter of this century, the artistic production of Christian Ethiopia remained virtually unknown outside its borders. Recent studies have provided some knowledge of the extraordinary output of Ethiopian artists through the centuries, consisting of icons, illuminated manuscripts and church wall paintings. By virtue of its geographical position, Ethiopian art belongs to Africa, and yet its development, wrought by the historical events those regions have experienced, is closely linked to the introduction of models from eastern artistic tradition (Byzantium) to the west, from the Islamic culture to those from the vast area of the Indian Ocean.
This volume contains a general catalogue of the exceptional collection of painting on wood of the Institute for Ethiopian Studies at Addis Ababa, which has assembled those icons jealously guarded for centuries in the churches and monasteries. This volume thus makes a significant contribution to expanding our knowledge of Ethiopian art, at the same time revealing a new dimension of Christian art in Africa. The volume concludes with a section of appendices, including a glossary and the bibliography. Stanislaw Chojnacki, founder and curator of the University College Museum and of the Museum of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies in Addis Ababa and co-director of the Journal of Ethiopian Studies, in 1966 formed the Committee for the Preservation of Old Ethiopian Painting.