The Prince and the Plunder

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

Censer with inscription

Published / by Andrew Heavens / Leave a Comment

What: Censer with inscription 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 three parts; base, container and lid, attached to a handle with five chains with multiple bells. The open work pyramidal base is attached to the body of the censer with a large square nail. The square shaped container is inscribed on two sides, has a diamond shaped suspension point on each corner and a centrally placed suspension ring on each side. The open work lid is surmounted with a cross with suspension ring and chain which attaches to a cast, open work handle with cross shaped finial. Four chains pass through the rings on the body and lid and are attached with multiple bells. Tied to one of the chains is a small piece of blue silk thread and a piece of thick white cotton thread. Inner surface of censer is thickly encrusted with burnt incense.”

Inscription Translation
“How she put her trust in the name (?) and gave to […] Mary for […]”

Museum number: Af1868,1001.13
Height: 29 cm (to top of lid)
Height: 88 cm (to top of handle, chains outstretched)
Width: 11 cm
Depth: 11 cm
Previous owner/ex-collection: Sir Richard Rivington Holmes
Acquisition date: 1868

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