The term “icon” usually recalls the tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
This does not, however, preclude the existence of another classification of sacred icons: the fascinating and unique “African” production of Ethiopia.
Too often we neglect the fact that even though the Ethiopian plateau is located in the heart of Africa, geographically it belongs to the Mediterranean basin. In fact, the Blue Nile, which originates from Lake Tana in the centre of Ethiopia and encompasses the vast plateau in a perfect embrace, runs north and, becoming one with the White Nile, flows into the Mare Nostrum, the Mediterranean Sea. The aim of this book – the result of thirty years of impassioned work at the hands of a “Western” enthusiast – is to shed some light on a treasure which has remained largely unknown until now: the religious art of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and its sacred icons.
Our Fondation is particularly proud and honoured to contribute to the diffusion of such a significant volume, a true milestone in the study of Ethiopian art and culture. On the eve of the Jubilee of the year 2000 and of the Third Millennium we hope this book will help expand our knowledge and comprehension of humankind.
Mariena Mondelli Montandon, 1999