The Prince and the Plunder

A book on how Britain took one boy and piles of treasures from Ethiopia

The anthropologist’s scroll

Published / by Andrew Heavens / Leave a Comment

What: A roll of parchment inscribed and painted with figures, more than two metres long

Where: Pitt Rivers Museum, South Parks Rd, Oxford, OX1 3PP

The catalogue entry has six pictures and describes: a “roll of parchment incribed in Amharic and painted with figures. Similar to other charms/amulets worn either on the person or on horses as protection from diseases.”

The base of the glass-topped box in which the object is currently kept is inscribed: “Long Himyaritic charm-roll, ABYSSINIA. Found at MAGDALA, 13 April, 1868. E.B. Tylor. Pres. by Lady Tylor, 1917”.

The Accession Book entry says it was part of the collection of the anthropologist Sir Edward Burnett Tylor, D.C.L., F.R.S.

It is not clear whether Tylor was on the expedition – his name does not appear to be mentioned in the official accounts – or whether he acquired the scroll from someone who was. 

Dimensions: L = 2170 mm W = 75 mm

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