The Prince and the Plunder

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


Published / by Andrew Heavens / Leave a Comment

What: A censer with a small piece of corrosion, taken by the British Museum’s expert on the expedition, Richard Rivington Holmes

Where: The British Museum, Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3DG

Provenance: Maqdala referenced at length in the museum’s acquisition notes.

The catalogue entry reads:

“Censer cast in bronze in two parts; a square bodied container on pyramidal base and an arched, open work lid. The body of the container which has a Ge’ez inscription on one side, has a suspension ring on each corner and one centrally placed on three sides of the rim, one is missing. Three chains pass through the centrally placed rings to corresponding rings on the top of the lid securing it in place. One chain is missing. The chains, with multiple round bells are attached to a hollow, cast handle. A square patch on the top of the lid indicates a missing finial. The inner surface of censer is encrusted with burnt incense.”

Partial inscription translation:
This [..] was given for Aba Tekle Haymanot […]

Museum number: Af1868,1001.14
Condition: Patch of corrosion and small hole to one side of container.
Previous owner/ex-collection: Sir Richard Rivington Holmes
Acquisition date: 1868

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