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The painting illustrates an interesting Ethiopian painting convention of depicting the 'good' full-faced and the 'bad' in profile only. In this painting the Ethiopians are always shown with all their facial features, but the Italians are only ever shown side-on. The victory at Adwa was widely reported, strengthening Ethiopia’s image as defender of African independence. It became the source of pride and inspiration for Africans around the world. Today Ethiopians celebrate this historic victory with a national holiday on 2 March, the anniversary of the battle. Painting on cotton depicting the battle of Adwa. To the left are the massed armies of Ethiopia and to the right the Italian forces. In the centre of the painting, at the top, above the battle field, is Saint George, the patron saint of Ethiopia. The saint appears in a halo of red, gold and green, the colours of the Ethiopian flag. To the left of Saint George is the seated figure of Emperor Menelik. To the left of the Emperor is a large crowd of priests with white turbans, some carrying large crosses. Three priests carry holy tabots on their heads concealed beneath red cloths. Below, on horseback, is Empress Taytu with a revolver urging the Ethiopian troops to victory. The Italian forces are depicted as rows of pale-faced troops with white pith helmets.
Horniman Museum and Gardens
Title: painting (art)
Description:
The painting illustrates an interesting Ethiopian painting convention of depicting the 'good' full-faced and the 'bad' in profile only.
In this painting the Ethiopians are always shown with all their facial features, but the Italians are only ever shown side-on.
The victory at Adwa was widely reported, strengthening Ethiopia’s image as defender of African independence.
It became the source of pride and inspiration for Africans around the world.
Today Ethiopians celebrate this historic victory with a national holiday on 2 March, the anniversary of the battle.
Painting on cotton depicting the battle of Adwa.
To the left are the massed armies of Ethiopia and to the right the Italian forces.
In the centre of the painting, at the top, above the battle field, is Saint George, the patron saint of Ethiopia.
The saint appears in a halo of red, gold and green, the colours of the Ethiopian flag.
To the left of Saint George is the seated figure of Emperor Menelik.
To the left of the Emperor is a large crowd of priests with white turbans, some carrying large crosses.
Three priests carry holy tabots on their heads concealed beneath red cloths.
Below, on horseback, is Empress Taytu with a revolver urging the Ethiopian troops to victory.
The Italian forces are depicted as rows of pale-faced troops with white pith helmets.

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