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The Anglo-Ethiopian Society News File - Spring 2013 Our return to Ethiopia in 1995, after 40 years, was to celebrate

the golden jubilee of the General Wingate School and to revisit places we had seen so many years ago. It was at times overwhelming to take in so many of the changes that had taken place since our departure in 1958. Most moving of all was meeting up with former Wingate students and hearing about their lives and careers. We felt privileged to have contributed to their education and to have had the experience of living in such a beautiful and interesting country.

Exhibition Review
thiopia Porta Fidei
I Colori dellAfrica Cristiana
Vicenza, Museo Diocesano, 27 October 2012 24 February 2013 Set in the town of Vicenza, a small architectural jewel of northern Italy dotted with Palladian villas, the exhibition thiopia Porta Fidei, from Acts 14:27, offered an overview of Ethiopian art from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. This was the last in a series of three exhibitions held in the Veneto region and centred on the arts and culture of Christian Ethiopia. It offered, in the words of the curator Giuseppe Barbieri, a synthesis of the previous two events. Although largely based on artefacts from private collections it incorporated several artworks of the Museo Diocesano of Vicenza. A few panels helped contextualize the exhibition, discussing the history of the country as well as the role of art amongst Christian Ethiopians. The overall experience of the exhibition was enriched by the projections of videos and the reproduction of mezmur, Christians songs in Amharic. Particularly worthy of mention was the projection of an interview with the late Prof. Stanislaw Chojnacki. A small, but rich catalogue, with contributions by prominent Italian scholars such as Alessandro Bausi and Osvaldo Raineri, accompanied the exhibition. The artworks, mostly crosses and seventeenth century portable icons were displayed in a simple, yet elegant, fashion. Some of the icons (cat. 2 and 20) offered exquisite examples of Ethiopian painting and carving. There were also four manuscripts from private collections, the oldest of which was dated to 1524, as well as several other artefacts, such as shields and magic scrolls, collected by Pietro Nonis Bishop of Vicenza between 1988 and 2003. My only point of criticism of this excellent exhibition is the dating of certain objects. I feel uncertain about the attribution of some of the icons to the seventeenth century. Whereas, I am quite certain that two groups of crosses, one dated roughly between the fifteenth and the sixteenth century (cat. 51-54), the other to between the seventeenth and the eighteenth century (cat. 56-60), belong to the twentieth century, or at the very earliest to the nineteenth century.

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The Anglo-Ethiopian Society News File - Spring 2013 Overall the exhibition was well presented and engaging. The museums director Mons. Francesco Gasperini, was kind enough to allow me to publish some pictures of it for News File readers. Several of these can be found on our facebook page at:
w w w . f a c e b o o k . c o m / AngloEthiopianSociety. If you are interGiuseppe Barbieri and Gianfranco Fiaccadori, thiopia Porta Fidei (Treviso: Terra Ferma, 2012). ISBN 978-8-86322-191-6 Paperback 80 pages, numerous colour photographs 15.00 euro

ested in obtaining a copy of the catalogue please contact the editor.


Jacopo Gnisci

Book Reviews
Foundations of an African Civilisation
Aksum and the Northern Horn 1000 BCAD 1300
David Phillipson This comprehensive book has clearly superseded my own 2007 book on the archaeology of Ethiopia. It should now be recognised as the standard work on the archaeology of the northern Horn of Africa. Drawing upon extensive experience of Ethiopia going back over forty years, David Phillipson is probably the worlds premier expert on matters Ethiopian and archaeological. This book draws upon a number of published sources and extensively quarries all of the available relevant literature (the bibliography is quite exhaustive and wide-ranging). Professor Phillipsons extensive and important excavations at Aksum (Tigray, Ethiopia) in 1993-97, and which were published in 2000 as a Society of Antiquaries Research Report, shed new light on the chronological development and material culture of the Aksumite polity which dominated these highlands during the first seven centuries AD. In more recent years, Professor Phillipson has slightly re -orientated his interests to consider the development of medieval church architecture of the northern and central highlands, and his work on the ancient churches of Ethiopia (Yale University Press 2009) also typically set new and high standards in the analysis of these distinctive churches. This book is centred upon the Aksumite polity, but is usefully flanked by detailed discussions of the (misnomered) pre-Aksumite period, and the question of South Arabian cultural and economic influences upon the Ethiopian highlands, and the post -Aksumite medieval period, characterised by developments in church building in Tigray and Lalibela. Fourteen chapters deal in detail with varying facets of the Aksumite system, including inscriptions, trade, burials, coinage and monumental architecture inter alia. The sources are extensive and comprehensive and one is left with the feeling that nothing has been left out. This book will remain the standard work for years to come, and is well recommended Page 24

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