Abba Mäsälä, Debrä Genet Medhane Alem, Mek’ele, Tigray, Ethiopia, March 2009

Abba Mäsälä, Debrä Genet Medhane Alem, Mek'ele, Tigray, Ethiopia, March 2009

I am in Mek’ele, the capital of Tigray, the Northern province of Ethiopia, interviewing scribes and other manuscript craftsmen. I took the opportunity to visit the treasury of Debrä Genet Medhane Alem monastery, which has a number of deluxe manuscripts presented by Atse (Emperor) Yohannes IV, who brought Mek’ele to prominence by establishing it as his capital (Ethiopia’s capital has changed a number of times). Abba Mäsälä is the treasurer of the monastery, and when he was putting away the books, I asked if I could take a photo of him. He ran upstairs to the treasury, to get his favorite processional cross, before he was ready to pose for a couple quick photos.



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