The art of Ethiopia

Ethiopia is known for its magnificent churches, illuminated manuscripts, and world-famous contemporary art.

c. 1 C.E.–present

videos + essays

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City of Aksum
City of Aksum

The ruins of the ancient city of Aksum are found close to Ethiopia's northern border.

Sheila Hicks on <i>The Harp of Praise</i> by Ethiopian scribe Baselyos
Sheila Hicks on The Harp of Praise by Ethiopian scribe Baselyos

Contemporary artist Sheila Hicks discusses the geometric iconography and calligraphy of this Ethiopian prayer book

An Ethiopian icon
An Ethiopian icon

The earliest known Ethiopian icons have been dated to the fifteenth century and typically portray the Virgin and Child, the Apostles, and Saint George.

Christian Ethiopian art
Christian Ethiopian art

Ethiopia’s Christian heritage predates much of Europe’s, and includes churches hewn from living rock.

Illuminated Gospel
Illuminated Gospel

This 15th century manuscript is based on Egyptian Coptic sources, but its creators imbued it with local flair.

Aksumite Coins
Aksumite Coins

Pious, multilingual, and technologically advanced, these coins were currency in more ways than one.

The kingdom of Aksum
The kingdom of Aksum

By 400 C.E., Aksum was a sophisticated Christian empire with a written language and an international reputation.

Julie Mehretu, <em>Stadia II</em>
Julie Mehretu, Stadia II

In this work, a contemporary Ethiopian artist explores the utopian potential of chaos in a globalizing world.

Selected Contributors