Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Illuminated Manuscript, Ethiopian Gospels, Evangelist portrait of Mark, Walters Art Museum Ms. W.850, fol. 60v

This large Ethiopian Gospel Book was made in the first half of the sixteenth century and is written in Ge'ez, the traditional liturgical language of the Ethiopian church. Containing eleven full-page miniatures, six canon tables and five elaborately ornamented harags, or headpieces, this manuscript represents the Golden Age of what has been termed the Gunda Gunde style, named after a monastery in the town of Agame. The Gunda Gunde style is characterized by bold blocks of color defined by detailed and often delicate linear motifs. Figures are highly stylized and expressive, while the accompanying canon tables and harags are filled with intricate interlace and geometric forms. The manuscript is exceptionally well preserved, and is an excellent and rare example of Ethiopian illumination from one of its most important artistic centers.

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