RARE HANDWRITTEN ETHIOPIAN COPTIC GE’EZ BIBLE ILLUMINATED WITH TWO FULL-PAGE MINIATURE PAINTINGS
Ethiopian Coptic Ge’ez Bible.
Item Number: 90405
Ethiopia: C. 18th Century.
Rare illustrated Ethiopian Coptic Ge’ez Bible. Small octavo, bound in full leather with elaborate tooling stamped in blind to the front and rear panels, braided leather ribbon bound in, parchment manuscript of approximately 120 leaves in black and red ink, with a full-page miniature depicting Madonna and child flanked by two cherubs and double-page spread featuring Saint George slaying the dragon. Housed in the original leather chemise case with leather carrying handle.
Ethiopian Handwritten Coptic Ge’ez Bibles were produced as early as the fourteenth century until the late 19th century throughout Ethiopia, the first country to become an independent African nation. Christianity was introduced to Ethiopia in the 4th century when Syrian missionaries first translated the Bible into Ge’ez, the language of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. The surviving body of Ge’ez literature in composed almost entirely of Christian liturgy, as education was exclusively the responsibility of priests and monks. The bibles produced typically contain the gospels of the New Testament, recounting the life of Jesus of Nazareth and the foundation of the Christian faith with illuminated miniature paintings depicting the lives of the Saints.