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Author Topic: Ethiopian Christ icon found 500 years on  (Read 2643 times) Average Rating: 0
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sainthieu
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« on: December 23, 2010, 12:38:22 PM »

Miraculous Ethiopian tryptic, The One Who Listens, restored by the monks of St Stephen's.
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« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2010, 12:45:20 PM »

What a beautiful icon!


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Gebre Menfes Kidus
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« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2010, 03:26:08 AM »

What a beautiful icon!





Yes! Glory to God!


Selam
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HabteSelassie
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« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2010, 05:50:34 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

This is delightful!  Also recall that this past July, the oldest existing Illuminated Gospel was found in a monastery in Ethiopia, and I understand carbon dating places is as the second old copy of the Gospels in existence, second to a copy from a monastery in Greece which bears the recognition as the oldest.  Ethiopia is pivotal to Christian history, and quite a few ancient and even lost texts have been found there, in fact I personally believe that the scramble for africa (which did not begin in the 1880s but in fact int he 1380s) was entirely oriented around the hunt for lost manuscripts, especially in light of the fact the the Ge'ez Ethiopian alphabet has the same gematria functions as other semitic alphabets such as Hebrew or Arabic.  Gematria should never be underestimated, even cherished scientist Sir Isaac Newton in fact invented modern calculus in the effort to mathematical determine the date of the Apocalypse according to the gematria of the Bible.  Most people don't realize that Newton read the Bible in twelve languages (!!) and actually upwards of 90% of his published works were Biblical commentary and translation rather then academic science.  Gematria is extremely important in the history of the medieval and post- Renaissance world.  Evidence to me? The British did not take mountains of gold and silver from Ethiopia, which indeed they easily could have at various times, but instead opted to take approximately 60,000 (!!) manuscripts, and to this day adamantly refuse to give them back.  The FIRST place Europeans ended up after sailing around West Africa was in fact East Africa, and it is well attested that they were in search of Prester John, and had to sail around having been cut off by the Turks in the North. 

Ethiopia not only has the oldest biblical manuscripts, but also several key lost texts including the Book of Jubilees, the Book of Enoch, and several other canonical texts such as the Kebra Negast, which were all quite common in early Oriental Christianity but which over the subsequent centuries were completely lost to the world outside of Ethiopia.  The very fact that they survived the massive, anti-Christian cultural and physical genocides in Ethiopia, first in the 10th century during the "Gudit" Jewish civil wars and then more completely during the genocide by the Ahmed Gragn in the 16th century, when not only did many thousands of Christians receive martyrdom, but countless and priceless texts, iconography and architecture were pillaged and absolutely destroyed.  So much of Ethiopian Christianity was almost lost, it is a true miracle that so many rare and pivotal Christian manuscripts actually survived!

Also, many other import historic texts are also found in Ethiopia from lost histories and biographies, and other archaeological treasures such as ancient coins from as far away as Northern Europe and China! 

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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Ortho_cat
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« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2010, 06:16:19 PM »

Can someone tell me more about this 'perfume' used during worship?
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Jake
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« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2010, 08:59:49 PM »

I don't see any information about how the icon was tested for age.  There was an exhibit of Ethiopian Icons at the Smithsonian about 5 years ago.

Here is some info about testing etc from the time of that exhibit.

Technical Study of Ethiopian Icons, National Museum of African Art ...

This article describes a technical study of six Ethiopian icons at the National
Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, and includes a brief synopsis of
the history of Ethiopian painting. The preliminary research involved visual and
photographic examination using ultraviolet fluorescence and infrared color
photography as well as x-ray radiography. Following this initial examination,
dispersed pigment samples and cross sections were analyzed using polarized light
microscopy. In addition, the cross sections and loose samples were analyzed
using scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive spectroscopy
capabilities, x-ray fluorescence, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and
x-ray diffraction. The technical study clarified the techniques and materials of
Ethiopian icons. The paint layers contained the following pigments: cinnabar,
orpiment, indigo, smalt, Prussian blue, terre verte, gypsum, charcoal black, and
earth brown. In addition, gypsum was identified as the main component in the
ground layer. The binding medium in the pigment and ground was characterized as
proteinaceous. This technical study provides insight into icon production in
Ethiopia from the 17th to 19th centuries.

Journal of the American Institute for Conservation © 2005 The American Institute
for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works



Exhibit at the Smithsonian:
http://www.nmafa.si.edu/exhibits/icons/index.html


Some more pictures of icons by Betsy Porter:
http://www.betsyporter.com/Ethiopia.html



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« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2010, 10:14:24 PM »

beautiful!
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HabteSelassie
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« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2010, 11:06:18 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Lips Sealed
Can someone tell me more about this 'perfume' used during worship?

This is just a mistranslation of incense, but that is also inaccurate.  If you look more carefully at the Icon, that is not a priest holding an incense censer, but it is a deacon holding the Chalice with the Blood of the Offering, especially evident in holding the chalice veil in the conspicuously Ethiopian posture, when ever I have the grace and fortune to receive the Blood and Body, the deacon looks identical.  What is most important of 600 year old images such as this is the historical evidence of the continuity of the Holy Tradition and the Liturgy.  Many images and icons from this period detail the liturgical services of the Tewahedo Church and they are indeed nearly identical to the contemporary liturgical services performed each and every Sunday, and further that is most definitely a deacon giving out the Offering.

Another way to date Ethiopian (or an historical icons) is in the style of the artistry and methods of production.  Like any other kinds of painting in any other place or time in history, stylistically these images can be dated.  Ethiopia has several distinctive eras of their artistic and iconographic tradition, different "schools" as they are called.  For example this would be pre-Gonderine era, 1400-1450 though it is truly miraculous in its sophistication and detail, most icons of that period are much cruder in style.  Honestly, I might be inclined as an Ethiopianist historian to suggest that dating was wrong, and that in fact that is a 16th, more than likely even 17th century based upon the style and sophistication.  Such detailed and even photographic iconography and even common painting did not evolve indigenously in Ethiopian until well into the 1500s.  Their craft previously had been architecture, music, and handicraft artwork such as metalurgy and smithing and also carvings.  Tapestry and weaving were also of more sophistication than the painting styles, the Ethiopians really upped their game in what can be though of as a Reformation in the recovery period after decimating genocide and war of Ahmed Gragn (1524-1540).  The traditional Ethiopian architectural and cultural arts immediately began to flourish in the 1580s and specifically after a romance with the Portuguese (who assisted the Emperors in defeating the Turks and the Gragn) the painters began to get more sophisticated.  It was not that Ethiopia had never seen sophisticated painting before the 1500s, after all they had never lost communication with the Near East and even Eastern Europe.  Its just that for a long period of time, Ethiopians did not particularly favor painting and imagery and their tastes evolved a bit later towards that direction.

All that being said condensed, the imagery on that icon appears way to sophisticated for the 1400s (15th century), it is definitely more in line with the Gonderine "schools" of the 1600s.

Stay blessed,
habte selassie

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"Yet stand aloof from stupid questionings and geneologies and strifes and fightings about law, for they are without benefit and vain." Titus 3:10
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