Inventory no.: 4132

Eight Silver & Silver-Gilt Pendant Crosses (Yangat Masqal), Ethiopia, 19th century


Eight Silver & Silver-Gilt Pendant Crosses (Yangat Masqal)


19th century

heights: 4.1cm-7.6cm, total combined weight: 151g

This collection of eight crosses (one might possibly be from Morocco) are designed to be worn on a chain around the neck (one still has an old silver chain attached). Each is of silver and several have also been gilded or plated with gold. Each is pierced and engraved and each has a loop at its top to allow suspension. They were worn by Christian groups in Ethiopia particularly in Tigray and Wollo provinces as a sign of their faith.

Much of the Ethiopian silverwork on the market is new. But these crosses have clear wear and significant age. Related examples in the Volkerkundemuseum of the University of Zurich are illustrated in Biasio (2004, p. 222) . Other similar examples are illustrated in Leurquin (2003, p. 110).

Each is in a fine and wearable condition, with ample wear and obvious age.


Biasio, E., Majesty and Magnificence at the Court of Menelik: Alfred Ilg’s Ethiopia around 1900, Verlag Nueue Zurcher Zeitung, 2004.

Leurquin, A., A World of Necklaces: Africa, Asia, Oceania, America from the Ghysels Collection, Skira, 2003.


UK art market

Inventory no.: 4132