Day: December 18, 2019

Kebra Nagast

The Kebra Nagast is an Ethiopian epic about the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon’s relationship and how the Ark of the Covenant came to Ethiopia, also it is treated as a reliable historical work for Ethiopian Christians . Scholars believe that the text originated in the fourteenth century in Ethiopia as an epic to tell the origin of the Solomonic line of kings in Ethiopia.
The art above is in my opinion a beautiful illustration of the story of the Kebra Nagast. Each panel depicts a different scene that is told through out the text. The artist uses color though the entire piece to help convey the story and above and below each panel is text written in Greek.

The first part of the Kebra Nagast is a lot like the Old Testament in the Christian Bible for the Torah, but then it turns to focus more on the Queen of Sheba and her trip to Jerusalem. In this version, according to L’Altra Gensei, “has decided she will no longer worship the Sun as her ancestors, but her Creator, God of Israel, as Solomon”. So, there are extreme changes happening at this time.

The narrative goes on to talk about how the Queen and Solomon meet and share this connection. He peacocks around when they first meet so she can see all his vast wealth and how much of a generous king he is, but she falls for him with because of his wisdom and he feels the same. She stays with him in the living quarters he had for her, but she eventually has to leave (because she is a queen and has queenly duties). He tries to get her to stay but she refuses and sets off back to her kingdom. She eventually has a son and the father is Solomon.

The next part of the narrative is about the child, who is now a man, and his voyage to meet his father. Solomon welcomes his son and is more than happy to have him stay with him, but his boy is here on business and is not playing around. His son, Menelik, is there to ask for a drape that covers Zion, the Ark, so that his own people can respect it. Solomon pesters Menelik to stay with him, so he can one day take over, but he resists saying that he belongs in his motherland with his people.