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<< return to search Ethiopic Psalter with Canticles W.768
Manuscript Overview
References
Bindings & Oddities

Abstract

This beautifully copied and bound Ethiopian Psalter likely belonged to one of the princes of the Gonderite royal family, whose reign ended in 1769. The main text of this undecorated manuscript is written in the ecclesiastical language of Gǝ‛ǝz while the minor texts are in Amharic, added at a later time. While the colophon and the hand suggest that the original manuscript only contained the 151 Psalms of David, which is in an early eighteenth-century hand, the other texts such as the fifteen Canticles, Song of Songs, Weddase Maryam (Encomium of Mary) and the Anqasa Berhan (Porch of Light) were added in the nineteenth century to create a more complete Psalter. More unusual texts, unrelated to the Psalter, have also been added, for it begins with a homily admonishing the clergy to conduct themselves well spiritually, and ends with directions for undoing charms. The life of the manuscript can be traced not only in these cumulative texts, but also in added prayers for later owners, of which there are at least twelve appended to the ends of the Biblical texts.

Text Note

Manuscript includes the Standard Gǝ‛ǝz Psalter (with the Psalms copied in the eighteenth century and the rest in the nineteenth century) as well as short texts in Amharic on Christian morality and instruction to the clergy on how to execute their duties; prayers for later owners added after their deaths throughout the manuscript as follows: fol. 10r, (end Psalm 40): "O Lord, give rest to the soul of your servant."; fols. 12r, 20v, and 25r (ends of Psalms 50, 90, and 110): "O Lord, give rest to the soul of your maid, Wälättä Hǝywät."; fols. 13v and 18r (ends of Psalms 60 and 80): "O Lord, give rest to the soul of your maid, Wälättä Kidan."; fols. 15v and 21v (ends of Psalms 70 and 100) and fol. 35r (end of Canticles): "O Lord, give rest to the soul of your servant, Bä’ǝdä Maryam."; fol. 28v (end of Psalm 130): the name of "Bä’ǝdä Maryam."; fol. 31v (at end of original colophon): "This is the glory and praise of the God of King David. O Lord, give rest to the souls of your servant Bä’ǝdä Maryam and the souls of your maids Wälättä Heyat [and] Wälättä Kidan."; fol. 37r (end of Song of Songs): "O Lord, give rest to the souls of your maids Walatta Kidan [and] Wälättä Ḥǝywät."

Decoration Note

No illuminations; small cross designs created from alternating black and red dots decorating the text periodically; text written in black and red ink

Contributors

Principal cataloger: Getatchew Haile, .

Cataloger: Herbert, Lynley

Contributor: Bockrath, Diane

Contributor: Emery, Doug

Contributor: Isaac, Ephraim

Contributor: Noel, William

Contributor: Pizzinato, Riccardo

Contributor: Tabritha, Ariel

Contributor: Toth, Michael B.

Conservator: Owen, Linda

Conservator: Quandt, Abigail

Bibliography

St. Strelcyn. "Le Psaume 151 dans la tradition ethiopienne," Journal of Semitic Studies, Vol. 23 (1978), pp. 316-329. See this for apocryphal Psalm 151.


The Ethiopic Version of the Song of Songs. Edited and translated by H. C. Cleave. London, 1951. See this for Song of Songs of Solomon.


Weddâsê Mârjâm. Ein äthiopischer Lobgesang an Maria, nach mehreren Handschriften herausgegeben und übersetzt. Edited and translated by Karl Fries. Leipzig, 1892. See this for Praises of Mary (Wǝddase Maryam).


Äthiopische Marienhymnen. Herausgegeben, übersetzt und erläutert. Edited and translated by Adolf Grohman. Leipzig, 1919. See this for Praises of Mary (Anqäṣä Bǝrhan).


Getatchew Haile et al. Catalogue of the Ethiopic Manuscript Imaging Project. Eugene, Oregon, vol 1, 2009, pp. xxxiii-l. See this for religio-magical prayers.


"Bulletin Codicologique," Scriptorium, Vol. 26, 1972, p. 208, no. 402.


These are pages that we pulled aside that disrupted the flow of the manuscript reader. These may be bindings, inserts, bookmarks, and various other oddities.

Upper board outside

Lower board outside

Spine

Fore-edge

Head

Tail

Keywords
Calligraphy
Christian
Colophon
Prayer
Devotion
Psalter
Ethiopia
Ethiopian
Original binding

Origin Place

Ethiopia

Date

Early 18th century and 19th century CE

Form

book

Binding

Original Binding

Binding Description

Blind-tooled, stamped goatskin with cross design over wooden boards

Language

The primary language in this manuscript is Geez. The secondary language of this manuscript is Amharic.

Provenance

Probably created for one of the princes of the Gonderite royal family, whose reign ended in 1769

Names of Wälättä Ḥǝywät and Wälättä Kidan, who added texts in the nineteenth century, mentioned repeatedly in later added prayers

Acquisition

Purchased by the Walters Art Museum through the S. & A. P. Fund, January 1960

<< return to search Ethiopic Psalter with Canticles W.768

Origin Place

Ethiopia

Date

Early 18th century and 19th century CE

Form

book

Language

The primary language in this manuscript is Geez. The secondary language of this manuscript is Amharic.

Provenance

Probably created for one of the princes of the Gonderite royal family, whose reign ended in 1769

Names of Wälättä Ḥǝywät and Wälättä Kidan, who added texts in the nineteenth century, mentioned repeatedly in later added prayers

Acquisition

Purchased by the Walters Art Museum through the S. & A. P. Fund, January 1960

Manuscript Overview

Abstract

This beautifully copied and bound Ethiopian Psalter likely belonged to one of the princes of the Gonderite royal family, whose reign ended in 1769. The main text of this undecorated manuscript is written in the ecclesiastical language of Gǝ‛ǝz while the minor texts are in Amharic, added at a later time. While the colophon and the hand suggest that the original manuscript only contained the 151 Psalms of David, which is in an early eighteenth-century hand, the other texts such as the fifteen Canticles, Song of Songs, Weddase Maryam (Encomium of Mary) and the Anqasa Berhan (Porch of Light) were added in the nineteenth century to create a more complete Psalter. More unusual texts, unrelated to the Psalter, have also been added, for it begins with a homily admonishing the clergy to conduct themselves well spiritually, and ends with directions for undoing charms. The life of the manuscript can be traced not only in these cumulative texts, but also in added prayers for later owners, of which there are at least twelve appended to the ends of the Biblical texts.

Text Note

Manuscript includes the Standard Gǝ‛ǝz Psalter (with the Psalms copied in the eighteenth century and the rest in the nineteenth century) as well as short texts in Amharic on Christian morality and instruction to the clergy on how to execute their duties; prayers for later owners added after their deaths throughout the manuscript as follows: fol. 10r, (end Psalm 40): "O Lord, give rest to the soul of your servant."; fols. 12r, 20v, and 25r (ends of Psalms 50, 90, and 110): "O Lord, give rest to the soul of your maid, Wälättä Hǝywät."; fols. 13v and 18r (ends of Psalms 60 and 80): "O Lord, give rest to the soul of your maid, Wälättä Kidan."; fols. 15v and 21v (ends of Psalms 70 and 100) and fol. 35r (end of Canticles): "O Lord, give rest to the soul of your servant, Bä’ǝdä Maryam."; fol. 28v (end of Psalm 130): the name of "Bä’ǝdä Maryam."; fol. 31v (at end of original colophon): "This is the glory and praise of the God of King David. O Lord, give rest to the souls of your servant Bä’ǝdä Maryam and the souls of your maids Wälättä Heyat [and] Wälättä Kidan."; fol. 37r (end of Song of Songs): "O Lord, give rest to the souls of your maids Walatta Kidan [and] Wälättä Ḥǝywät."

Decoration Note

No illuminations; small cross designs created from alternating black and red dots decorating the text periodically; text written in black and red ink

References

Contributors

Principal cataloger: Getatchew Haile, .

Cataloger: Herbert, Lynley

Contributor: Bockrath, Diane

Contributor: Emery, Doug

Contributor: Isaac, Ephraim

Contributor: Noel, William

Contributor: Pizzinato, Riccardo

Contributor: Tabritha, Ariel

Contributor: Toth, Michael B.

Conservator: Owen, Linda

Conservator: Quandt, Abigail

Bibliography

St. Strelcyn. "Le Psaume 151 dans la tradition ethiopienne," Journal of Semitic Studies, Vol. 23 (1978), pp. 316-329. See this for apocryphal Psalm 151.


The Ethiopic Version of the Song of Songs. Edited and translated by H. C. Cleave. London, 1951. See this for Song of Songs of Solomon.


Weddâsê Mârjâm. Ein äthiopischer Lobgesang an Maria, nach mehreren Handschriften herausgegeben und übersetzt. Edited and translated by Karl Fries. Leipzig, 1892. See this for Praises of Mary (Wǝddase Maryam).


Äthiopische Marienhymnen. Herausgegeben, übersetzt und erläutert. Edited and translated by Adolf Grohman. Leipzig, 1919. See this for Praises of Mary (Anqäṣä Bǝrhan).


Getatchew Haile et al. Catalogue of the Ethiopic Manuscript Imaging Project. Eugene, Oregon, vol 1, 2009, pp. xxxiii-l. See this for religio-magical prayers.


"Bulletin Codicologique," Scriptorium, Vol. 26, 1972, p. 208, no. 402.


Bindings & Oddities

These are pages that we pulled aside that disrupted the flow of the manuscript reader. These may be bindings, inserts, bookmarks, and various other oddities.

Upper board outside

Lower board outside

Spine

Fore-edge

Head

Tail

Keywords
Calligraphy
Christian
Colophon
Prayer
Devotion
Psalter
Ethiopia
Ethiopian
Original binding
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