The Prince and the Plunder

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

Green silk and leather belt

Published / by Andrew Heavens / Leave a Comment

What: Belt 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: 

“Waist belt made of leather with green silk brocade stitched to the front surface using silk thread, lined with red silk on the inner surface; remnant of a further yellow silk lining is evident around the inner edge. The yellow lining would have covered the inner surface and edged the front of the belt. The belt is decorated with circular, domed buttons made of silver [?] and brass, stitched in linear patterns across the outer surface. Two large silver-gilt repoussé clasps decorated with floral motifs are stitched into either end of the belt.”

Acquisition notes: Richard Rivington Holmes, an assistant in the manuscripts department of The British Museum, had accompanied the expedition as an archaeologist. He acquired a number of objects for the British Museum, including around 300 manuscripts which are now housed in the British Library. In 1868 the Secretary of State for India, Sir Stafford Henry Northcote, 1st Earl of Iddesleigh, donated to The British Museum two further collections of material from Maqdala.

Museum number: Af1868,1001.2
Date: 19thC
Length: 99 cm
Width: 13 cm
Previous owner/ex-collection: Sir Richard Rivington Holmes biography
Acquisition date: 1868

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