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African Ethiopian Tribal Folk Art Painting 20th Century



Ancient Ethiopian painting imported to Italy by a diplomat during the Italian occupation of Ethiopia, in the late 1930s. This genre scene painting is divided into eighteen squares bordered by a black frame and divided into three lines. The scene depicts the story of a couple with three children through the stories of their domestic life and their rural activity; each box has a caption written in the Amharic language. In the first line: they grind; they drink; …illegible… while they spin; they bring water. In the second line: comb, cut your hair; treats your teeth; grind; they bring the wood; they bring water. In the third section: they prepare beer; they prepare bread; they cook bread; they prepare lunch; while they eat; while they drink. This canvas is painted in shades of ocher and is mounteed on a ebonized frame. Dates back to the late 1930s. The canvas show minimal tears and signs of wear but we can customize a restoration. The human figures are characterized by unrealistic proportions of the head and body and depicted in static positions. This sense of fixity and the narration in successive chapters in domestic environments make the paintings easily intelligible and suggestive. A particularly fascinating aspect of Ethiopian art was its adherence to the expression of an objective truth, independent of time and space. The figures are represented in what are considered their true immutable form. At the height of its stylistic perfection, Ethiopian art gave up the illusion of volume, depth and perspective. Under existing legislation, any artwork in Italy created over 70 years ago requires a governative license for export called Belle Arti. The shipping may require additional 2/3handling weeks to require and get the license according to the final destination of the artwork.


  • Dimensions
    Height: 34.26 in. (87 cm)Width: 53.15 in. (135 cm)Depth: 0.79 in. (2 cm)
  • Style
    Folk Art (In the Style Of)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
    circa 1938
  • Condition
    Wear consistent with age and use. Some tears of the canvas but we can customize a repair.
  • Seller Location
    Milan, IT
  • Reference Number
    Seller: A8321stDibs: LU2160325172362

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    Rates vary by destination and complexity.
    Ships From: Milan, Italy
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 1 day of delivery.

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About the Seller
4.9 / 5
Located in Milan, Italy
Platinum Seller
These expertly vetted sellers are 1stDibs' most experienced sellers and are rated highest by our customers.
Established in 1990
1stDibs seller since 2016
107 sales on 1stDibs
Typical response time: 2 hours
International Confederation of Art and Antique Dealers' Associations
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