- Museum number
Painting on cotton, hand-woven in two sections, stitched together centrally top to bottom. The painting depicts the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and scenes from the life of Bishop Selama. The central image of the painting depicts the crucifixion of Christ, to the left of the cross two angels collect Christ's blood, Christ is offered vinegar on a sponge, his side is pierced with a spear by Longinus who rides a brown horse, the legs of crucified thief are broken. To the right of the cross the legs of the second crucified thief are broken and an angel collects Christ's blood. At the foot of the cross five figures are depicted (l-R) Mary, the Virgin Mary, St. John, Mary and Mary Magdalene. Below Christ's feet is the skull of Adam with Christ's blood falling into his mouth representing man's salvation through the blood of Christ.
Scenes in the top left corner show the veil of the temple rent in two, the flagellation of Christ by Pilate and Christ wearing the crown of thorns whilst being spat on.
Below (and anticlockwise) are scenes from the life of Bishop Selama; the coronation of Emperor Tewodros II by Selama at Dirasge Maryam Church, Selama being greeted by the priests of Gondar, Selama being expelled from Gonder, Selama greeted by the priests of Tigre, the imprisonment of the Etchege Mahsentu, Goshu Biru, Selama meeting Dejazmach Wube, Selama celebrating communion at the church of Medhane Alam at Adwa, Selama ascending on a rope to Debra Damo monastery.
- Production date
Height: 233 centimetres
Width: 183 centimetres
Depth: 8.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Book of Presents, 10/11/1893 "A painted cloth with the subject of the crucifixion, obtained by the donor in Abyssinia". British and Medieval Dept. Register, v.7, p.52 : pencil note "Late 19th. cent. copy ? for Mr[s ?] Bent." Ethno. Temporary Register (1861-1921), p.67, annotated "Eth"[nography]. No Ethno.Dept. registration Slip.
This item is ticked in the British and Medieval Register (which may mean that it is now in the Medieval and Later Dept.); howver it is also included on a list of material to be transferred from M&LA Dept. to Ethnography Dept. in 1981 (other material was received). (AMD,11/1996; 12/2001).
- Bibliographic references
Cutts et al 2010 / The image revealed: study and conservation of a mid-nineteenth-century Ethiopian church painting (p.1-17, p.2, fig.1, p.4, fig.5, p.5, fig.6, p.6, fig.7, p.7, fig.8-9, p.8, fig.10, p.9, table.1, p.10, fig.11, p.11, fig.12-13, p.12, fig.14)
- On display (G25/od)
- Exhibition history
2008 3 Mar-5 May, BM, Room 3, Church & Emperor, an Ethiopian Crucifixion
- Associated events
- Associated Event: Coronation of Emperor Tewodros II
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- J.T.Bent purchased the painting in 1893 from a priest at the church of Medhane Alam, Saviour of the World, at Adwa, Ethiopia for "Ten pieces of silver", probably Maria Theresa Thalers.
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number