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The Sacred Art of Ethiopia

Ethiopia is one of the oldest Christian civilizations in the world. Even today, more than half of Ethiopians identify as Christian and are still creating religious objects similar to those done centuries ago. The Sacred Art of Ethiopia is organized to familiarize ourselves and celebrate Ethiopia’s rich artistic heritage exhibition.

 

Most of the pieces in the show are the work of Ethiopian artists and artisans from the last thirty to fifty years, who carry on ancient forms of sacred art-making in the modern era. They include hammered metal processional and pectoral crosses, folding icons, and leather and parchment paintings on biblical themes in the style of traditional Ethiopian illuminated manuscript art. One of the highlights of the show is a hundred year old painting on leather of the Virgin Mary and Her Beloved Son surrounded by stories from the life of Jesus.

 

The Ethiopian school of iconography was formed by skilled artisans in medieval Ethiopian monasteries, similar to what happened in European monasteries where the monks were often trained to work in scriptoriums copying religious texts and painted icons, always remaining faithful to the tradition. Making icons continues to be an important vocation in Ethiopia today.

 

The purpose of Ethiopian art is use color to portray the drama of the Gospels. These icons are made of wood or leather panels, and are used as personal altars. From the Annunciation to the Wisemen at the Nativity, Christ’s Baptism, The Wedding at Cana through the many events of his Passion, the Ethiopian artist has focused on the life of Jesus.

 

When thinking of Ethiopian art it would be impossible not to mention the array of crosses that dominate their culture. Nowhere in the world has the cross been proliferated in so many ways as in Ethiopia. As seen in this exhibition there are large elaborately designed processional crosses mounted on poles, many in metals, but some in wood, to be used in public worship. For over 1,600 years Ethiopians have worn pendants or neck crosses, many times given at baptism and worn as evidence of the faith. Still other crosses were worn by priests and pilgrims during religious processions.

 

It is hoped that The Sacred Art of Ethiopia will enhance the viewer’s appreciation for how varied the Christian community worldwide ‘sees’ the Scriptures.

2025

September 1 to November 30, 2025

First Congregational Church

535 Forest Ave

Glen Ellyn IL 60137

Contact: Deb Giampoli debgiampoli@gmail.com

630 697 2941

 

May 18 to July 20 2025

Soujorn Arts

1303 S Shelby St

Louisville KY 40217

Contact: Michael Winters, Michaelwinters@sojournchurch.org

(502) 494-7042

 

February 1 to April 30, 2025

First Presbyterian Church of Flint

746 S. Saginaw St.

Flint, MI 48502

Contact: Rosemary Lutz, lutzycle@gmail.com          (810) 234-8673

 

July 1 to September 30, 2024

Patmos Arts Center

Community of Jesus

5 Bay View Dr, Orleans, MA 02653

Contact: Laura McKendree, lauramck75@gmail.com

(508) 237-6275

 

January 15 to April 30, 2024

Luz Art

1640 Irving Blvd

Dallas, Texas 75207

Contact: Carmelita Martel

Www.luzart.com

 

August 1 to December 30, 2023

St Lukes Anglican Church

50 Pope Ave, Hilton Head, SC 29926

Contact: Ruth Hauck, rwh22hhi@aol.com

Andy Sonfield, andrea.sonfield@gmail.com‬

Sacred Art of Ethiopia

31 pieces

 

Legend Queen of Sheba and King Soloman (Triptych)

 

OLD TESTAMENT STORIES

Abraham and Isaac Unknown artist

Old Testament Dipthyc shadow box

 

BIRTH AND LIFE OF JESUS

Annunciation

Mary and Her Son with Two Archangels 1970

Mary and Her Beloved Son with Archangels Michael and Gabriel

(Altarpiece) 18 x 14 open & 18 x 7 ¾ closed.

Mary and Her Beloved Son with Other Saints  (leather panel) 27 5/8 plus 1½ hanging x 13 7/8 inches

Birth of Christ and His Life  32 1/2 x 27 1/2

Nativity with Wisemen 5 ½ x 7 ½ inches

Flight to Egypt  yellow

Flight to Egypt

Baptism of Jesus (wood) 9 ¼ x 5

Baptism of Jesus  10 x 6 ½

Triptych: Three Illiuminations

 1. Jesus birth

 2. Wedding at Cana

 3. Mary Magdalene

 

PASSION

Last Supper sm

Last supper 12 ¾ x 24

Jesus Washing the Disciples’ Feet 12 1/2 x 25

Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane 11 x 11 shadow box

Arrest of Jesus 12 ½ X 6 ¾

Christ Carrying the Cross 15 34 x 11 ¾

Crucifixion and Resurrection of Adam and Eve ( pendent)

Resurrection

 

CROSSES

Ethiopian Processional Cross (21st century)

Ethiopian Presessional Cross (with sculptured Mary 19th c)

Presessional Cross..(smaller)

Three Handheld crosses (framed)

Pectoral Crosses  (Shadow box)

 

OTHER

Ethiopian Illuminated Prayer Book

Ge’ez Prayer Book 9 x 13 ¼ x ¼  open

Lamb of God  10 ¼ x 7 1/4

Coronation of the Virgin/Virgin Enthroned leather panel 11 ½ by 12 ½

 

 

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