Ethiopia at the end of the 19th century

Tip of the Iceberg: Unique & Unusual Finds at the Harvard Library 2014-03-15

Lazzaro Pasini (1861-1949), an Italian painter mostly know for his landscapes, traveled to the Eritrean port of Massawa where he deviated from his typical landscape imagery to focus on the life and culture of the native people. Eritrea was the only remaining Italian controlled territory after the epic Battle of Adwa and the subsequent treaty for Ethiopian independence. The battle is noted for its high casualty rate, greater than the Napoleonic Wars, and the disasterous results for the Italian government and its colonial ambitions in that region. As a result, Ethiopia became the first independent state with its sovereinty recognized throughout Europe. In this small publication, Pasini’s sketches were converted into chromolithographs depicting dress, ceremonies, and daily activities. The cover image is a scene of Abyssinians playing the game of mancala outside of their houses.

Goldsmith work

Banquet feast

A hairdresser and women pulverizing burberries

Baptism ceremony

Usi e costumi dell’Abissinia e dei dintorni di Massaua. Milano : A. Vallardi, [18--].
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