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Walters Ms. W.838, Ethiopian canon tables
Ethiopian canon tables
Authority name: Eusebius, Caesariensis, Bishop of Caesarea, ca. 260-ca. 340
This fragmentary manuscript, comprised of four canon tables spread over one bifolium, would originally have been the introductory pages of a fourteenth- or early fifteenth-century Gospel book. Written in the Lake Tana region of Ethiopia, the pages contain canons I-V, which relate the concordance of the Gospels through a chart in which each number corresponds to a Gospel passage, a system originally created by Eusebius of Caesarea in the early fourth century. The numbers here, in keeping with a long tradition, are placed within an arcade of brightly decorated columns and arches. Common within Ethiopian canon table decoration are the curtains, which hang from the sides of the columns, and the interlace-filled arches adorned with birds. These pages provide an excellent example of Ethiopian canon table illumination from the early Solomonic period.
Late 14th or early 15th century CE
Lake Tana, Ethiopia
The primary language in this manuscript is Geez.
Heavy yellowed parchment
It is a bifolium with modern parchment flyleaves
Formula: i, 1(2), i
25.5 cm wide by 35.0 cm high
23.0 cm wide by 29.5 cm high
- Dimensions refer to overall decorated surface
- Title: Canon tables
- Contents: The extant canons are I-V
- Decoration note: Four architectural tables comprised of two columns and one large arch with birds above, decorated with geometric and knot patterns in green, yellow, and orange; inscriptions and canon numbers in black ink
Housed in a modern portfolio of heavy archival paper
Originally created as part of a Gospel book in the Lake Tana region of Ethiopia, late fourteenth or early fifteenth century
Joseph and Margaret Knopfelmacher collection, acquired in Addis Ababa ca. 1960
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Knopfelmacher, 1996
Holbert, Kelly, ed. Ethiopian Art: The Walters Art Museum. Baltimore: Trustees of the Walters Art Gallery, 2001, pp. 102-103, cat. no. 13.
"Canon tables," in Siegbert Uhlig, ed., Encyclopaedia Aethiopica, Vol. I. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2003, pp. 680-681.
Principal cataloger: Getatchew Haile, .
Cataloger: Herbert, Lynley
Editor: Herbert, Lynley
Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail
Contributors: Bockrath, Diane; Emery, Doug; Isaac, Ephraim; Noel, William; Tabritha, Ariel; Toth, Michael B.
The Walters Art Museum
Licensed for use under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Access Rights, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/legalcode. It is requested that copies of any published articles based on the information in this data set be sent to the curator of manuscripts, The Walters Art Museum, 600 North Charles Street, Baltimore MD 21201.