cape with lion's mane in shoulder area; flaps dangle down, made of velvet with floral embroidery around the outer edges of the flaps; metal oblong pieces line the inner side of the flaps at the body as well as at the bottom; metal chains at outside edges; gold metal fastener; blue silk lining on inner side of flaps

Cape, c. 1900

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Everything about this prestigious Ethiopian costume shouts “lion”! The animal’s fur and mane were used to decorate the shoulders of the cape and the crown of the headdress. The cape’s shape is modeled on a lion skin, with long straps suggesting four paws and a tail. The front-piece has a central triangular gilded plaque engraved with a lion and a sword. This is the Lion of Judah, traditionally regarded as the symbol of the Israelite King Solomon from which the emperors of Ethiopia claimed descent. In the past, an emperor would have given this costume to a great hunter or warrior as a badge of honor.

Details
Title
Cape
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2021.4.1
Curator Approved

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cape with lion's mane in shoulder area; flaps dangle down, made of velvet with floral embroidery around the outer edges of the flaps; metal oblong pieces line the inner side of the flaps at the body as well as at the bottom; metal chains at outside edges; gold metal fastener; blue silk lining on inner side of flaps
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