The Prince and the Plunder

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

Silver gilt paten inscribed with the emperor’s name

Published / by Andrew Heavens / Leave a Comment

What: A silver gilt paten, inscribed with the emperor’s name, 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 mentioned at length in acquisition notes. Paten marked with Tewodros’s name.

The catalogue entry reads:

“Paten made of silver gilt engraved with holy images on uppermost surface and Ge’ez inscriptions around the rim. In the centre of the paten is the representation of Christ as the sacrificial lamb, to the left is the Virgin Mary with a cross on her mantle and an elaborate halo. She kneels before the lamb; tears are shown on her face and her hands are raised in grief. To the right are two identical bearded men in tears, with hands raised in grief. Below the lamb is a semi prostrate figure of a man in priest’s robes. Around the edge of the paten are eleven figures which represent Christ’s followers, all bearded and wearing hooded priests’ robes. Around the internal surface of the raised rim are seven angels.”

Inscription Translation: “This paten […] (for the) house of Mary was given by Emperor Tewodros for the deliverance of his body and soul.”

Museum number: Af1868,1001.11
Field Collection by: Sir Richard Rivington Holmes
Acquisition date: 1868

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