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Walters Ms. W.839, Single leaf with Christ's entombment and resurrection

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Single leaf with Christ's entombment and resurrection

Text title
Fragmentary leaf


This fragmentary leaf once belonged to an Ethiopian Gospel book from the Lake Tana region. Dating from the late fourteenth century, the leaf contains two images from a prefatory cycle depicting the Passion of Christ, which would have preceded the Gospels. On the recto, a shrouded Christ is carried to the tomb by Joseph and Nicodemus. The verso depicts the resurrected Christ, accompanied by the Archangel Michael, appearing before Mary Magdalene, St. John, and St. Peter. Intact Gospel books with comparable image cycles, such as that at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1998.66), and the J. Pierpont Morgan Library, Ms. M828, demonstrate that these two images likely fell between depictions of the Crucifixion and the Ascension.


Late 14th century CE


Lake Tana, Ethiopia






The primary language in this manuscript is Geez.

Support material


Heavy darkened, partially fragmentary parchment


Foliation: Not applicable


27.0 cm wide by 38.8 cm high

  1. Image: 22.2 cm wide x 28.2 cm high

fols. 1r - 1v:
  1. Title: Fragmentary leaf
  2. Decoration note: Two full-page miniatures painted in orange, yellow, green, black, blue, and salmon tempera, now badly abraded; decorative headpiece; orange border


fol. W.839r:

  1. W.839, fol. W.839r
  2. Title: Burial of Christ by Joseph and Nicodemus
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Comment:

    The inscription on the image reads: "በ/ዘከመ፡ ገነዝዎ፡ ዮሴፍ፡ ወኒቆዲሞስ፡ (bä/zä-kämä gänäzǝwwo yosef wä-niqodimos)," or "How Joseph and Nicodemus shrouded him." (Jn 19:38-40)

fol. W.839v:

  1. W.839, fol. W.839v
  2. Title: Christ resurrected, with the Archangel Michael, Mary Magdalene, St. John, and St. Peter
  3. Form: Full-page miniature


Originally created as part of a Gospel book's prefatory cycle, Lake Tana, Ethiopia, late fourteenth century

Joseph and Margaret Knopfelmacher collection, New York, before 1996


Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Knopfelmacher, 1996


Holbert, Kelly, ed. Ethiopian Art: The Walters Art Museum. Baltimore: Trustees of the Walters Art Gallery, 2001, pp. 98-99, cat. no. 11.

Mann, C. Griffith. "A Devotional Ethiopian Icon Acquired in Honor of the Director (36.16)." Journal of the Walters Art Museum 62 (2004): 191-193, p. 192, fig. 2.


Principal cataloger: Getatchew Haile, .

Cataloger: Herbert, Lynley

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Bockrath, Diane; Emery, Doug; Isaac, Ephraim; Noel, William; Tabritha, Ariel; Toth, Michael B.


The Walters Art Museum


Licensed for use under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Access Rights, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/legalcode. It is requested that copies of any published articles based on the information in this data set be sent to the curator of manuscripts, The Walters Art Museum, 600 North Charles Street, Baltimore MD 21201.