Ethiopian “magic scroll”

In March 2012, Special Collections purchased a 20th century Ethiopian “magic scroll.” According to the dealer’s description, it is on parchment, probably goatskin, and in the language of Ge’ez (pronounced guh-UHZ, sometimes known as Ethiopic). It’s about 55 inches long and rolls up to the size of one of Wonder Woman’s wrist cuffs.

The scroll provides healing and protection for the person for whom it was made, and its length often matches the height of that person. (Ours is 55 inches long.)

We don’t know a lot about these scrolls, but according to this book, available at Tutt Library, each one is made for a particular individual, and the scrolls mix elements from Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Another useful source on the topic is Harry Stroomer’s chapter “Magic parchment scrolls from Ethiopia,” available here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *