Last year, AES member Jacopo Gnisci received an unexpected approach from an art detective in the Netherlands. A golden crown, believed to be Ethiopian, had been found inside an old suitcase in Rotterdam. Could Jacopo come and help identify it? What was it? Was it genuine? And -- most baffling of all -- where had it come from?
Jacopo will introduce us to Ethiopia’s rich tradition of church crowns, and tell how he traced the history of the Rotterdam discovery, revealing it to be the crown stolen from a church near Mekelle, many decades before.
Update: We now hope to have contributions from several guests, including Sirak Asfaw, who discovered the crown in a suitcase, a representative from Mekelle University, and Professor Michael Gervers from the University of Toronto, who photographed the crown in the 1990s.
Jacopo Gnisci is an art historian specialising in medieval African art and manuscript illumination. He is a Lecturer in the Art and Visual Cultures of the Global South at UCL and a Visiting Academic at the British Museum.