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Some sixty Ethiopian church icons and artifacts are currently on display at The Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, Massachusetts.
The paintings, mostly gathered from a European private collection, dated back to the 16th century and represent Ethiopia’s ancient Christian tradition.
The exhibition, which will be open until April 18, 2015 features sixty small-scale icons triptychs, larger icons, and illuminated manuscripts. There will also be several cast-brass, handheld processional and benediction crosses with intricate designs form the museum’s own collection as well as some small pendant/pectoral crosses worn by priest as part of their sacred vestments.
A press release issued by The Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton said “The majority of paintings are religious in nature, often decorating church walls and bibles. From the 16th century on, Roman Catholic church art and European art in general began to exert some influence.”
However, Ethiopian art is highly conservative and retained much of its distinct character until modern times. The production of illuminated manuscripts for use continues up to the present day.
“Pilgrimages to Jerusalem, where there has long been an Ethiopian clerical presence, also allowed some contact with a wider range of Orthodox art,” the press release states.