ETHIOPIAN MANUSCRIPT Miracles of Mary, and other texts in Ge'ez, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM, [Ethiopia, 17th century]
Lot 19
ETHIOPIAN MANUSCRIPT
Miracles of Mary, and other texts in Ge'ez, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM, [Ethiopia, 17th century]
Sold for £ 22,500 (US$ 28,264) inc. premium

Lot Details
ETHIOPIAN MANUSCRIPT Miracles of Mary, and other texts in Ge'ez, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM, [Ethiopia, 17th century] ETHIOPIAN MANUSCRIPT Miracles of Mary, and other texts in Ge'ez, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM, [Ethiopia, 17th century] ETHIOPIAN MANUSCRIPT Miracles of Mary, and other texts in Ge'ez, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM, [Ethiopia, 17th century] ETHIOPIAN MANUSCRIPT Miracles of Mary, and other texts in Ge'ez, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM, [Ethiopia, 17th century] ETHIOPIAN MANUSCRIPT Miracles of Mary, and other texts in Ge'ez, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM, [Ethiopia, 17th century] ETHIOPIAN MANUSCRIPT Miracles of Mary, and other texts in Ge'ez, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM, [Ethiopia, 17th century] ETHIOPIAN MANUSCRIPT Miracles of Mary, and other texts in Ge'ez, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM, [Ethiopia, 17th century] ETHIOPIAN MANUSCRIPT Miracles of Mary, and other texts in Ge'ez, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM, [Ethiopia, 17th century]
ETHIOPIAN MANUSCRIPT
Miracles of Mary, and other texts in Ge'ez, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM, 109 leaves (3 blank), in gatherings mostly of 10 leaves with numerous single inserts, black ink, rubrics and painting descriptions in red, in 2 distinct hands (Miracles of Mary in an early Gwelh hand, in 2 columns of 25 lines; remaining texts (final 7 pages) in a cursive early räqiq hand), original ruling and pricking marks visible, 75 PAINTED ILLUSTRATIONS, all but 5 full-page, a few small areas of flaking but generally very good and bright, blindstamped morocco over wooden boards, rebacked with later leather spine, large 4to (345 x 305mm.), [Ethiopia, 17th century]

Footnotes

  • The Miracles of Mary are "a group of stories about the Virgin that originated in France in the twelfth century and arrived in Ethiopia via Spain, Palestine, and Egypt in the fourteenth century. In the mid-fifteenth century Mary's significance in Christian Ethiopia intensified, and her worship was integrated into church ritual through daily prayer, feast days, and religious texts. Thereafter, the Miracles of Mary became one of the most popular themes for religious books" (Berzock, Museum Studies 29, no. 2 (2003), pp. 12-13; 94).

    Date and Provenance: there is no colophon to provide either a date or local provenance, but the two hands, and style of painting (Early or First Gondarine style), indicate a date of mid-seventeenth century, during the reign of Fasilädäs (1632-1667) or Iyasu I (1682-1706). The names of the donors are given in the invocations for blessings throughout the text of the Miracles as Mädhen Mogäsa and her daughter Amlakawit. The other texts contain the name of two other women, Wälättä Rufa'∂l and Wälättä Sellas∂. The paintings include saints associated with both the north (such as Arägawi of Däbrä Damo), and south of Ethiopia (such as Täklä Haymanot).

    Texts: the principal text is Miracles of the Virgin Mary, comprising thirty-three events. Each miracle described is followed by either one, or two paintings of the story. The remaining texts, which follow a sequence of paintings of saints and scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary, consist of a hymn of praise to the Virgin Mary, the Mäs'hafä Ser'at, a further miracle of the Virgin Mary, and, in a different hand, a miracle (incomplete) of Jesus Christ.

    Illustrations: the paintings of the Miracles (nos.1-53) are executed in a fine early, or First Gondarene style, with the subjects set against an uncoloured background. Many are composite scenes, with a short descriptive text. The remaining scenes are probably in a different hand, also in an early Gondarene style but mostly with block-coloured backgrounds.

    The subjects of the seventy-five paintings are:

    3v. Hildefonsus [Däqseyos] presents a copy of the Miracles to the Virgin Mary.
    5v. The Virgin presenting Hildefonsus [Däqseyos] with a chair and a robe.
    6r. Composite picture showing Hildefonsus [Däqseyos] sitting reading a copy of the Miracles, and the Archangel Rufa'∂l spearing a bishop.
    7v. The Virgin giving a robe and bread to the poor monk who lies asleep at her feet.
    8r. The monk standing before the seated Virgin and Child.
    10r. A worshipper stands in prayer before the seated Virgin and Child.
    12r. Scenes relating to the Virgin healing the Jew of Akhmim.
    13v. The scribe Damianus seated with his tools.
    14r. The Virgin, holding the infant Jesus, standing over the sleeping figure of Damianus.
    15v. Abbas, bishop of Rom∂ administering the the eucharist.
    16r. Abbas cuts off his hand, and the Virgin Mary restores the hand.
    18r. The Virgin Mary raises up the monk Isaac who has fallen at her feet.
    20v. The Virgin Mary accompanied by the daughter of the man from Däfra.
    22v. Scenes from the story of the painter who fell from the scaffolding whilst decorating a church.
    23v. The Virgin Mary baptizes a sick merchant in the Jordan.
    24r. Further scenes from the story of the sick merchant.
    27v. Scenes from the story of Zacharias.
    28r. Further scenes of the Miracle of Zacharias.
    30v. Scenes from the Miracle of Juliana and Barbara, including the thieves with broken teeth.
    32v. Scenes from the the Miracle of the three shipwrecked Arabs, two of whom were saved by the Virgin Mary.
    33r. The two rescued Arabs present a camel and some wool to the monastery-church of Qälmon.
    34v. Scenes from the Miracle of the church that was removed to the sea shore.
    35r. The rescued church is depicted with the astonished and thankful congregation.
    37r. The blind priest Yohannes Bäkänsi having his eyesight restored by means of milk from the breast of the Virgin Mary.
    38v. Scenes from the life of the nobleman of Qwälasyes, whilst fighting the Turks.
    39r. Qwälasyes's eye is healed by the Virgin Mary.
    42v. Scenes from the story of Elisabeth, daughter of Bedreman, including the restoration of her eyesight.
    44v. Scenes from the story of the three daughters of the poor widow of Tayda.
    45v. The two brother scribes writing the Miracles of the Virgin Mary
    46r. Devils seize the souls of the scribes, while the Virgin Mary rescues one of them by holding his feet.
    48r. St. George the Young bound in prison, protected by the Virgin Mary in the form of a dove, with image of the saint standing restored to freedom.
    50v. Scenes from the story of the priest Kät'ir, including his banishment by the head priest, and his restoration by the Virgin Mary.
    52v. Scenes from the story of Näzib and his false imprisonment for stealing a robe.
    53r. Näzib pardoned due to the intervention of St. George, depicted on horseback.
    55v. Scenes from the story of the man with the club foot.
    56r. The man with club foot shows his foot, now healed by the Virgin Mary, to the archbishop.
    57v. Scenes from the story of Mercurius, whom the Virgin Mary cured of leprosy.
    58r. Further scenes of Mercurius, including showing the archbishop that he is healed, and administering the eucharist.
    59v. Scenes from the story of the lame woman of Hartälom, carried by her relatives to the Virgin Mary.
    60r. The woman of Hartälom lies before the Virgin Mary, and is blessed by her.
    63v. Scenes illustrating the story of the Abbess Sophia, including an angel delivering her child of the Abbess Sophia whilst the Virgin Mary looks on.
    64r. Further scenes of the story of the Abbess Sophia, including her appearance before archbishop Säwiros, the return of her son from Filenkes, and her son's appointment as archbishop.
    65v. The dissolute Barok of Finqi, a devout worshipper of the Virgin Mary, feasting with his guests.
    66r. The Virgin Mary presides over a composite scene showing the attempted murder of Barok by his enemies, his burial, his ordination as a monk.
    67v. Anastasius being blessed in his sickness by the Virgin Mary, and then praying before her.
    69v. Abba Salusi, a monk from the monastery of Qälmon; being beaten by his fellow monks because he was caught eating during the fast.
    70r. Three further images of Abba Salusi, including the other monks preventing him from eating, and standing in prayer before the Virgin Mary.
    73v. Scenes from the story of the cannibal of Qemer, including being seated before the decapitated bodies of his wife and others whom he has killed; administering water to a beggar; the people of Qemer fleeing; two scenes of the cannibal and the ploughman.
    74r. Further scenes of the story of the cannibal, including the Lord commanding that his soul be taken down into Hell; a demon carrying his soul away; the Virgin Mary beseeches her Son for mercy, and the cannibal's soul held up by the Virgin accompanied by two angels.
    75v. Miracle 31, depicting the widow's son stealing a robe from the church.
    76r. The Virgin Mary pardons the widow's son who lies bound hand and foot before her.
    78v. Scenes from the story of the pregnant woman saved from a flood.
    80r. Scenes from the story of the thirsty dog.
    84v. St. Mercurius [Märqor∂wos] striking down Halyanos.
    85r. St. Theodore [T∂wodros] slaying the people of Qwe.
    86v. St. Claudius [Gälawd∂wos] slaying the Centaur.
    87r. St. Basiledes [Fasilädäs].
    88v. Urfas and Säqrat'es.
    89r. St. George of Lydda slaying the "dragon-serpent", held by Birutawit.
    90v. The Annunciation.
    91r. The Virgin and Child with the archangels Michael and Gabriel.
    92v. Our Lord makes His covenant with the Virgin Mary, with the three archangels Raphael, Michael, and Gabriel.
    93r. The Assumption of the Virgin Mary, surrounding by the nine angels who transported her.
    94v. The Dormition of the Virgin Mary, surrounded by the twelve apostles.
    95r. The Flight into Egypt.
    96v. The Resurrection, with the Lord triumphant in the centre, Adam and Eve clutching the hem of his garment, whilst the Devil and "T'emleyakos the Angel of Gehenna" look on.
    97r. Two scenes of the Entombment of Our Lord, with Nicodemus and Joseph.
    98v. The Deposition from the Cross.
    99r. The Crucifixion.
    100v. Scenes from the Sufferings of Our Lord.
    101r. St. Arägawi of Däbrä Damo.
    102v. SS. Täklä Haymanot and µwost'at∂wos.
    103r. St. Gäbrä Mänfäs Qeddus and Abunä Samu'∂l.
    104v. Abba Yohannes of Yafat "who fed the birds of heaven with his own flesh".
    105r. The Flight into Egypt.
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