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Illuminated Manuscript, Ethiopian canon tables, Canon table, Walters Manuscript W.838, fol. 1v | by Walters Art Museum Illuminated Manuscripts
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Illuminated Manuscript, Ethiopian canon tables, Canon table, Walters Manuscript W.838, fol. 1v

This fragmentary manuscript, comprised of four canon tables spread over one bifolium, would originally have been the introductory pages of a fourteenth- or early fifteenth-century Gospel Book. Written in the Lake Tana region of Ethiopia, the pages contain canons I-V, which relate the concordance of the Gospels through a chart in which each number corresponds to a Gospel passage, a system originally created by Eusebius of Caesarea in the early fourth century. The numbers here, in keeping with a long tradition, are placed within an arcade of brightly decorated columns and arches. Common within Ethiopian canon table decoration are the curtains, which hang from the sides of the columns, and the interlace-filled arches adorned with birds. These pages provide an excellent example of Ethiopian canon table illumination from the early Solomonic period.

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Taken on December 3, 2012