Aug 9, 2016
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Ethiopian magic scroll.

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Magic Scrolls from Ethiopia from late 18th century. 33 × 14 cm. Pigment on parchment. On Exhibition at Museu de Cultures del Món, Barcelona, Sala 04. Provenance: Acquired during the Ethnological Museum’s expedition to Ethiopia, performed between January and February, 1974, and led by August Panyella Gómez, director. CC BY-NC-ND by Museu de Cultures del Món.

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In Ethiopia, the ancient tradition of making healing and protecting amulets is still alive. Most of them are in the form of parchment scrolls containing prayers, quotations from the Holy Scripture, incantations and magic formulas written in Ge’ez, the ancient language of Ethiopia. The texts are accompanied by magic pictures representing good and evil spirits, various amuletic figures and talismanic signs. The textual and pictorical content of the scroll responds to the specific needs of the commissioner. Since the scrolls are believed to be a protection against the attacks of evil powers, they are usually the same length as their owners.

Museu de Cultures del Món

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1 CE to Present · Illustration · Western Africa

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