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One of at least 11 Tabots (consecrated altar slabs) seized at Maqdala by British soldiers. This one was taken by a Captain Arbuthnot of the 14th Hussars who may have been an Aide de Camp to General Napier, the leader of the expedition. On return to Britain, recognising the religious significance of the artefact, he presented the Tabot to St. John's Episcopal Church at the west end of Princes Street in Edinburgh.
This Tabot was handed over in Addis Ababa on July 1, 2003 by Dr Ian MacLennan, an Irish doctor who spotted it in a London book dealer's catalogue of Ethiopian manuscripts and artefacts.
The British Museum currently holds nine tabots taken in the aftermath of the battle of Magdala. Given the sacred nature of the tabots, Museum staff have promised never to put them on display. The gesture is appreciated. But it raises the question of why the Museum is insisting on holding on to exhibits that it can never show.
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The British Library
The British Museum
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
The Victoria & Albert Museum
Movable Type 2.63