The Ethiopian Legend of Solomon and Sheba
By Sarah Norodom, Hannah Kim and Andres T. Reyes Translated by Meseret Oldjira
The Queen of Sheba is on of the most famous women of antiquity, rivaled only by Cleopatra and Helen of Troy for wealth, power and beauty. She is best known for her legendary meeting with King Solomon, an encounter that has resonated through time, nowhere more powerfully than in Ethiopia, where she is a foundational figures within the Ethiopian Church. There, the legend is known not only through the text called the Kebra Nagast, but also through traditional paintings.
One of the most impressive of these paintings is a goatskin example by the artist Janbaru Wandemmu, at Groton School, USA, given by Professor Asrat Woldeyes, personal physician to Haile Selassie. The painting, which shows the legend in 25 panels, is presented here alongside another 56-panel work. This book illustrates the scenes from both paintings, with translations of their accompanying texts and an introduction.
Meseret Oldjira is a doctoral candidate at Princeton University, where she is writing a dissertation on thirteenth- and fourteenth- century Ethiopian illuminated manuscripts.
Andres Reyes teaches Greek and Latin at Groton School in Groton, Massachusetts and is a Research Associate of the Oriental Institute, Oxford University.
95 col. 1 b&w