Home Institution

Northwestern University

Publication Date

Fall 2006

Program Name

Ethiopia: Sacred Traditions and Visual Culture


This study seeks to uncover the significance of painted portraits of Ethiopian emperors within the Ethiopian culture. By evaluating artworks throughout Ethiopian history and interviewing the art community and scholars, the author has attempted to draw a relationship between power, religion and art. In doing so, this study reveals how emperors have historically legitimized their power within the context of religious imagery. It follows this pattern until the decline of the monarchy and the rise of realism in the twentieth century. This transition highlights the tension between tradition and modernity as well as the ideological changes which caused them.


African History | History | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology | Religion


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