Chester Beatty Library – Collections – The Western Collection – Manuscripts - Coptic | The Western Manuscripts Coptic Collection, Chester Beatty Library Coptic Collection
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Ethiopian

The collection of Ethiopian manuscripts includes both codices and scrolls, some of which are of exceptional importance. In addition to the beautifully illustrated Gospel Books and psalters, there are examples of popular devotional works such as the Praises of Mary (Weddase Maryam) and the Miracles of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Ta'amera Maryam). There are also several fine examples of amulets, or magic scrolls, that were used against sickness or for spiritual protection.

The manuscripts range in date from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century and are primarily written on parchment. Chester Beatty purchased most of the collection at Sotheby's auctions in London, some in the 1930s but most were acquired after his move to Dublin in 1950. A small number of books were added to the collection by bequest, by transfer from the National Library of Ireland or by donation from the late Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Dermot Ryan. 

The collection is augmented by many fine printed books (which show the early use of Ethiopian type) housed in the Rare Book Collection, such as travel accounts (especially those of Jesuit missionaries) and colour-plate books depicting landscapes, architecture and dress.

Publications

Cerulli, Enrico (1965) I manoscritti etiopici della Chester Beatty Library in Dublino