I was going to write a “Crafts in Ethiopia” blog entry like my Crafts in Rwanda entry from February. Then I realized that in Ethiopia there is heavy overlap between art, craft, and religious icons. Some of the works I brought home are between these categories. For example, if the two paintings on goat skin above were not religious in content, I would consider them crafts; however, because one is depicts Saint George and the other represents the Holy Trinity, and both are heavily inspired in design by ancient icons still in active church use, I am not sure into what category they fall.
The image below of coffee drinkers is clearly craft – even though its media, design, and execution are very similar to the paintings above. The baskets, woven scarves, and jewelry items pictured below are also crafts. The silver cross ear rings and bracelet are something else – maybe religious crafts? The great variety, symbolism, and social importance of Ethiopian Orthodox crosses puts them in another category.
Images Copyright 2014 by Katy Dickinson