3711 – Ethiopic Magic Scroll, In Ge’ez, painted manuscript on vellum

Physical description:
Ge'ez Magic Prayer Scroll, brown exterior, stitched together, with nail hole in top for attaching to a wall.
Museum classification:
Amulets and Talismans
Size:
213 cm x 8 cm
Information:

A scroll from Ethiopia, written in Ge'ez, with water-colour inscriptions text and pictograms; Magic Prayer Scroll, brown faded exterior, stitched together, with nail hole in top for attaching to a wall.  Probably 19th or early 20th century.

Amulet scrolls were prepared and written by a dabtara, an unordained cleric, a class thought to have particularly close association with the spirit world. The scrolls carried a variety of spells, prayers and magic formulas that offered protection or cure against the Evil Eye, malevolent spirits and physical ailments. This large scroll was probably hung upon the wall as a wall amulet.

This scroll includes the 'seal of Solomon' or 'captive devil':  a face surrounded by eight horns within a grid of nine squares. It appears here in two forms and represents a demon trapped within the confines of the spell written in red around it, testifying to its efficacy and thus scaring away any other evil spirits. The scroll begins with a depiction of St. Michael with wings and a sword.

Resource:
Object
Materials:
Vellum, paint, ink
Copyright ownership:
MWM