The Prince and the Plunder

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

Three-panel silk church hanging

Published / by Andrew Heavens / Leave a Comment

What: A huge three-panel silk church hanging,  used to cover the entrance to the Holy of Holies of an Ethiopian church

Where: The Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queens Park, Toronto, ON M5S 2C6, Canada

A curtain made up of three panels of woven coloured silk was initially loaned to the museum before 1914 by Colonel George Augustus Sweny – an officer who had taken part in the Magdala campaign – according to Michael Gervers in his 1996 paper Four Eighteenth-Century Monumental Ethiopian Tabletwoven Silk Curtains.

It was then given to the museum in 1922 by his son, according to Martha H. Henze’s 2007 paper “Studies of Imported Textiles in Ethiopia” in the Journal of Ethiopian Studies.

It is made of the same coloured silk and with the same technique as a single-panel hanging in the British Museum, the paper added.

The curtain is made up of an essentially ‘royal’ central panel and ecclesiastical side panels, dated c.1730-38 and, in all, is 535 by 212 cm, according to Gervers’ article “The tablet-woven hangings of Tigre, Ethiopia: from history to symmetry” in The Burlington Magazine in September 2004.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *