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Bracelet

Bracelet

  • Place of origin:

    Ethiopia (made)

  • Date:

    before 1868 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the Secretary of State for India

  • Museum number:

    409A-1869

  • Gallery location:

    Silver, Room 66, The Whiteley Galleries, case 1

This silver bracelet was formerly in the possession of Queen Woyzaro Terunesh, second wife of the Ethiopian emperor Tewodros II (Theodore) and mother of the prince Alamayou. In 1864, frustrated by a lack of communication from Queen Victoria's government, Tewodros took a number of Europeans captive, including the British consul, Captain Cameron. The British response was a military expedition of huge complexity and expense led by Sir Robert Napier. The expedition marched to Tewodros's fortress at Maqdala (Magdala) where a brief battle took place. Britain won the conflict, but not before the captives were released and Tewodros himself had committed suicide.

Contemporary reports record that the widowed Queen expressed a wish to 'be escorted as far as her native province of Semyen, in the north-west part of Tigreh [but] … when the head-quarters' camp reached Aikhullet, on May 15 [1868], this poor lady died', apparently of lung disease. 'Her funeral took place next morning in the great church at Chelicut … The women of her household, showing her robe, her ornaments, her slippers and her drinking cup, beat their breasts, tore their hair, and scratched their cheeks, shedding tears of real grief as they bewailed her death' (Illustrated London News, 1868). An inventory of the Queen's possessions includes mention of a 'pair bracelets silver'. These possessions were sent on to the Secretary of State for India at the India Office, London, and given to the South Kensington (later V&A) Museum the following year.

Physical description

Bracelet, silver band with three sets of triple cylinders. Closed means of pin inserted through three lugs.

Place of Origin

Ethiopia (made)

Date

before 1868 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Silver

Dimensions

Diameter: 4.7 cm of band not including added ornament, Height: 1 cm of band not including added ornament

Object history note

Accessions register entry: 'Bracelets, a pair. Silver, with three sets of triple cylinders; belonging formerly to the Queen of Abyssinia. Abyssinian. Given by the Secretary of State for India. April 28th 1869'.

See 'Set of Articles of Deceased Queen of Abyssinia' and related correspondence in British Library collections at IOR R/20/AIA/503.

Descriptive line

Bracelet, silver, Ethiopia, before 1868 (formerly belonging to Queen Woyzaro Terunesh, second wife of the Ethiopian emperor Tewodros II (Theodore)

Labels and date

Jewellery belonging to Queen Terunesh
የእቴጌ ጥሩነሽ ጌጣጌጦች
Queen Terunesh was the second wife of Tewodros II and the mother of Prince Alemayehu. After her
husband’s suicide, Terunesh asked that the British troops escort her to her native Semyen (ሰመይን),
but she died of lung disease before the journey was complete. After her death, her jewellery and other
possessions were sent to the Secretary of State for India at the India Office in London. They were then
given to this Museum.

Bracelets የእጅ አምባር
Made in Ethiopia before 1868
Silver
Museum nos. 409&A-1869 []

Materials

Silver

Categories

Africa; Jewellery

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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