Auctioneers of Rare Books, Collectibles and Fine Art

Auction 72: March 16th, 2017

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Lot: 239 (ETHIOPIA). Ethiopic Psalter. Comprising 151 Psalms of David, fifteen biblical canticles from the Old and New Testaments, Song of Songs of Solomon, Weddase Maryam (Encomium of Mary), the Anqasa Berhan (Porch of Light), etc. Ge'ez manuscript written on vellum. Ink and pigments on heavy, yellow parchment. Includes four full-page (later) illuminations. ff. 145. Contemporary blind-tooled goatskin, with cross design over wooden boards. Housed in a stiff leather carrying-case. Lg. 4to.

18th-century (and later). Est: $1,000 - $2,000

-Finely composed Ethiopian Psalter, likely commissioned for personal use by a member of the Gonderite royal family, whose reign ended in 1769. The primary text of this manuscript is written in the ecclesiastical language of Ge'ez, while the minor texts are in Amharic and added later. While the colophon and the hand suggest that the original manuscript only contained the 151 Psalms of David, other texts were added in the 19th century to create a more complete volume better suited for personal devotions. The volume opens with a homily admonishing the clergy to conduct themselves in an appropriately spiritual demeanor and concludes with directions for the undoing of charms. The evolution of the manuscript can be traced not only in these cumulative texts, but also in prayers supplied for later owners, of which there are at least twelve. The illuminations are added later still.

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