Photographs of Haile Selassie (r. 1930–1974) can be seen today on the streets of Addis Ababa and in books, museums, and photo agencies around the world; they have gained as well a new life on the Internet, partly through Rastafarianism activism. While the reign of this King of Kings has been widely depicted in photographic images, particularly in countless portraits (Hirsch and Perret 1995, Perret 1995), Haile Selassie was not the first Ethiopian ruler to exploit photography. Foreigners had brought this medium to the court of Yohannes IV (r. 1872–1889), but it was his successor, Menelik II (r. 1889–1913), who was the first to make extensive use of photography (Pankhurst 1994). A glimpse at his portraits reveals that they were laid out carefully and seem to reflect a triumphant political power (Fig. 1–3). How can these documents be deciphered, beyond the...
Hybrid Images: From Photography to Church Painting: Iconographic Narratives at the Court of the Ethiopian King of Kings, Menelik II (1880s–1913)
Estelle Sohier; Hybrid Images: From Photography to Church Painting: Iconographic Narratives at the Court of the Ethiopian King of Kings, Menelik II (1880s–1913). African Arts 2016; 49 (1): 26–39. doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/AFAR_a_00268
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