Ethiopian Magic Scroll (from the late 19th century)
This is an attractive scroll in excellent condition with four talismanic paintings coloured in blue, red and yellow. The first shows the figure of a guardian angel with drawn sword. Above the figure is an exceptionally fine series of bands of decoration in the form of laticework and crosses, some incorpating protective eyes. The second shows a grid of nine squares filled with alternating face and cruciform motifs. The third shows a cruciform laticework design. And the fourth shows a schematic eight-pointed star with a central face motif. The original owner’s name (a woman) remains throughout as Wälättä Maryam, accompanied once with her given name Mässäläch.
Amharic is visually a very beautiful language!
William Morris (1834–1896) was an English textile designer, artist, writer, and utopian socialist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the English Arts and Crafts Movement. Morris wrote and published poetry, fiction, and translations of ancient and medieval texts throughout his career. He devoted much of the latter half of his life to the Kelmscott Press, which he founded in 1891. Kelmscott was devoted to the publishing of limited-edition, illuminated-style print books. The 1896 Kelmscott edition of the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer is considered a masterpiece of book design.
Esther scroll, folded and bound in a silver book binding, Italy, 18th century.