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Gondarine sensul

Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description This Ethopian sensul, or "chain" manuscript, was made in the seventeenth century in the Gondarine region. It was created out of a single folded strip of parchment attached to heavy hide "boards" at each end, creating a small book when folded. Comprised solely of inscribed images, this pocket-sized manuscript would have served a devotional function for its owner, who while unidentified, inscribed the first image with a note reminding people under the threat of excommunication not to steal or erase the manuscript. Narrative illuminations, which tell the story of the Virgin Mary, allow for private meditation. The book can also function as something of an icon, for when it is opened to the middle and stood on end, the facing figures of St. George and the Virgin and Child form a small diptych, resembling other icons of this era.
  • Ethiopian Art at The Walters. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1996.
  • Angels of Light: Ethiopian Art from the Walters Art Museum. Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham; Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton; Museum of Biblical Art, New York. 2006-2007.
  • Shrunken Treasures: Miniaturization in Books and Art. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2009.
Provenance Robert and Nancy Nooter Collection, Washington, D.C., before 1996, and mode of acquisition unknown] [Nooter 20.4]; Walters Art Museum, 1996, by purchase.
Credit Museum purchase with funds provided by the W. Alton Jones Foundation Acquisition Fund, 1996

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late 17th century (Gondarine)
ink and pigments on medium weight parchment, reinforced with a heavier parchment backing covered with upper and lower boards made of heavy undecorated hide, stitched to ends of parchment strip
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
H: 3 x W unfolded: 23 in. (7.62 x 58.42 cm); H each panel: 3 5/8 x W: 3 1/8 in. (9.2 x 9 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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