Prayerbook with Carrying Case
[Ethiopian psalter and prayerbook, with maḫdär].
Ethiopia, [ca. 19th century]. (BRMS 63)
This Ethiopian manuscript on parchment is preserved with its sturdy leather folding case, called a maḫdär, which features a shoulder strap. The carrying case was essential for the daily use of the book, as it not only gave protection to the book, but also made it easily portable for the Ethiopian priest as he traveled between congregations.
The text was written in Ge’ez, the Ethiopian ecclesiastical language that generally was written and read only by the Christian clergy. The readings consist of Dawit (the Psalms); the Fifteen Canticles of the Prophets, the Song of Songs; the Weddase Maryam (Praises of the Virgin Mary), and the ancient hymn called Anqasa Berhan (Gate of Light).