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Home > Auctions > 30th November 2021 > Ethiopian Book of Divination Including the Cycle of Kings

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LOT 0473

Estimate
GBP (£) 4,000 - 6,000
EUR (€) 4,700 - 7,060
USD ($) 5,330 - 7,990

Sold for (Inc. bp): £3,810

Ethiopian Book of Divination Including the Cycle of Kings

Early 19th century AD

A vellum manuscript of 123 leaves bound within wooden boards, the front upper with incised decoration of a cross, two paintings of guardian angels inside; the contents include the Awdä Nägäst (Cycle of the Kings) and a zodiac; preserved in the original pouch with straps and inner case. 887 grams, 20cm (8"). Fine condition. [No Reserve]

Provenance
Acquired in London at an antiquarian book fair, c.1990; accompanied by a detailed previously researched cataloguing sheet; this lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no.10970-180967.

Literature
See Conti Rossini, Carlo. 1941, Lo ‘Awda nagast scritto divinatorio etiopico, Rassegna di Studi Etiopici 1, 127-45; Baxter, R.M. 1977. Predicting the future with lakes and rivers : a note on the Awda Negast, Limnology and Oceanography 22,4, 777-80.

Footnotes
This is a divination manual used by a fortune teller. A composite volume with pages of different sizes and by many scribes, with numerous illustrations, in its original carrying case. The primary texts are: 1) The Awdä Nägäst (Cycle of the Kings). An Ethiopian divinatory text, probably originally composed in the 15th century. There are 16 full-page circular diagrams. These tables (awd) allow the diviner or fortune teller to find answers to specific questions posed by his clients. The sixteen tables are each named after Ethiopian lakes or rivers and always have the same basic structural format, differing only in the sequence of the various sectors. 2) Dialogues of the stars (zodiac). Subsidiary texts include
additional divinatory texts.