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AFROMET - The Association for the Return of The Maqdala Ethiopian TreasuresDetail from the amulet of Emperor Tewodros
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Ta'amra Maryam, 33 Miracles of the Virgin Mary and Document concerning a conciliation

This combined manuscript went on a remarkable journey after it was taken by a British soldier at the battle of Maqdala.

The soldier sold it, along with a number of other Maqdala papers, to London's Quaritch bookstore, a dealer in antique manuscripts. The British Museum looked into buying it but was in effect outbid by Lady Meux, a flambouyant figure in Victorian London, known for her collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts. She left it to the descendants of Menelik II, Emperor of Ethiopia, in her will.

Ta'amra Maryam, 33 Miracles of the Virgin Mary 1682-1706But on her death, it was sold to William Randolph Hearst, the notorious US newspaper magnate immortalised in the film Citizen Kane. After his death it was sold on again and ended up in the private collection of Martin Sch°yen, based in Oslo and London.

The entry on the Sch°yen collection's website reads:

Manuscript in Ge'ez and old Amharic (text 2) on vellum, Gondar, Ethiopia, ca. 1682-1706, 106 ff. (complete), 35x33 cm, 2 columns, (23x25 cm), 17-25 lines in a fine square Ethiopic Ge'ez book script by 2 scribes, one named Gabre'el, headings, the names of Virgin Mary and King Dawit in red, 41 full-page, and 10 half-page miniatures in very bright colours, by 2 artists in a transitional style between 1st and 2nd Gondarine styles.

Binding: Ethiopia, ca. 1700, blindtooled morocco over stout wooden boards, chain stitches on 4 sewing stations.

Ta'amra Maryam, 33 Miracles of the Virgin Mary 1682-1706 Provenance: 1. Emperor Zyasu I (1682-1706); 2. Emperor Tńkla Haymanot I, (1706-1708); 3. Emperor Dawit III (1708-1721); 4. The Church of Makdala, Ethiopia; 5. An officer in the British Expedition to Abyssinia 1867 (1867-1897); 6. Quaritch, London (1897); 7. Lady Meux, Hertshire MS 2 (1897-1911); 8. William Randolph Hearst, San Simeon, California (1911-1939); 9. John F. Fleming, New York (1960); 10. Otto Schńfer, Schweinfurt (1960-1989); 11. Bernard Breslauer, New York.

Published: The present MS was translated and reproduced in colour for Lady Meux by Sir E.A. Wallis Budge, London, W. Griggs, 1900.

Current location

The Schøyen manuscript collection

Private Collection Martin Sch°yen
Oslo / London

See its entire Ethiopian collection
treasure count:
468 items
still missing
10 items
(still counting)

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current locations

The British Library
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Duke of Wellington's Regimental Museum Halifax
Dundee University Museum
Edinburgh University Library
The John Rylands Uni Library
Lancaster Museum & Priory
National Archives of Scotland
The Sch°yen Collection
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