Title and statement of responsibility area
The Psalms of David Codex
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- Textual record
- Graphic material
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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)
Dates of creation area
1801 - 1960 (Creation)
Physical description area
I + 142 folios. 183 x 130 x 65 mm
1 column, 25 of lines. sheepskin parchment codex. Written in black and red ink. 10 miniatures. No case. Wooden boards with stamped red leather, stitched with bound spine, two-colour endband, text pricks.
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Archival description area
The Psalms of David codex came from the Lake Tsana Island Monastery in Ethiopia. Robert N. Thompson acquired the codex during his time in Ethiopia from the 1940s into the 1950s. In 1983, Thompson donated textual material to TWU Archives and over the course of the next decade additional materials including the Ethiopian codices were transferred to the care of the Archives.
Scope and content
This is a complete Ethiopian Psalter codex and contains 151 Psalms of David, hence the codex's name, as well as 15 biblical canticles, the Song of Songs, and two Ethiopian Orthodox works known as The Praises of Mary and The Gate of Light. The codex is comprised of 142 folios bound into twelve quires with 10 illuminations. On folio 128r there is a decorative border to introduce a new book in two columns in the manuscript.
There are 10 illustrations, see description below.
-Illustration: Fol. 2v: Miniature of the Virgin Mary holding child Christ who is holding a book held in the left hand. Archangels Gabriel and Michael float above in the top left and right corners. Painted with black border. Water damage on the top left corner down the left side.
-Illustration: Fol. 39r: Miniature of a bearded older noble male wearing a crown and holding a book in their left hand and a sceptre in the right hand. Painted with black border.
-Illustration: Fol. 40v: Miniature of Jesus Christ holding the globus cruciger (cross-bearing orb) in the left hand. Painted with black border.
-Illustration: Fol. 60r: Miniature of three identical older male saints with white hair seated holding the globus cruciger (cross-bearing orb) in their left hands. Painted with black border.
-Illustration: Fol. 61v: Miniature of crucified Jesus Christ. Painted with black border.
-Illustration: Fol. 120r: Miniature of the Virgin Mary praying. Painted with black border. Water damage along the top right edge and down the side.
-Illustration: Fol. 121v: Miniature of King David playing the lyre. Painted with black border. Water damage along the top left edge and down the side.
-Illustration: Fol. 130r: Miniature of an unidentified saint holding flowers. Painted with black border.
-Illustration: Fol. 131v: Miniature of an clergy older man holding a staff in his left hand and a gold cross in his right hand. Painted with black border.
-Illustration: Fol. 141r: Miniature of the Virgin Mary holding child Jesus. Painted with black border.
The codex has water damage throughout the manuscript. There are fourteen holes in the parchment located on folios: 33r, 36r, 42r, 43r, 50r, 59r, 66r, 67r, 69r, 72r, 95r, 105r, 107r, and 127r. In addition, there are nine stitched tears located on folios: 41r, 46r, 47r, 59r, 79r, 80r, 85r, 90r, 98r. The largest stitched tear measures 7 cm in length located on folio 98r diagonally across text located in the bottom right.
Immediate source of acquisition
Robert N. Thompson
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script note
Ge'ez, the traditional liturgical language of the the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
Location of originals
Availability of other formats
A digital copy can be found on the Vivarium website under the identifier "Trinity Western University Codex 1", see https://cdm.csbsju.edu/digital/collection/SGD/id/9200/rec/281.
Restrictions on access
Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication
The Ethiopian manuscripts published in digitised format by the Ethiopian Manuscript Imaging Project are to the best of our knowledge not in copyright under Ethiopian law. However TWU Archives and Special Collections recognises broader interests in the cultural heritage which the Ethiopian manuscripts represent. The manuscripts included are often of a religious nature, and the Archives have taken considerable care not to distort or alter the underlying material. We ask users also to show appropriate respect in reusing the digital images of the Ethiopian manuscripts, which should not be altered or reused in ways that might be derogatory or offensive to the Ethiopian communities for whom they are of special cultural importance.
Preferred Citation: Trinity Western Archives and Special Collections. Ethiopian Manuscripts Collection, Coll. 12-MS 01, Psalms of David Codex, 1801-1960.
To access the digital copy of the codex from TWU Archives and Special Collections database, click on the codex image to open the PDF document.
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July 2020, tk