Art Themes

Getting Started

Each Art Theme gets a file with an ID assigned (= ATID). Before creating a new ATID make sure it does not already exist, if you create the file on the app make sure you: a) add the ID to the taxonomy in the Art Themes section; b) create a new file and save it in new; c) commit the newly created file.

The ID should be concise, and should ideally allow identification of Theme/Object:

  • Art Theme ID (ATID) = AT1005Crucifixion (AT + incremental number + first word of Art Theme)


For the title of the work, when possible: a) include most common definition in British English; b) include Ge'ez title; c) consider including alternative titles used in principal art projects (e.g. ICONCLASS, Artstor, Index of Christian Art). Minimally, it has to contain an English title:

Ex. 1

<titleStmt> <title>Crucifixion of Jesus</title> </titleStmt>


Each ATID should contain a brief description outlining its subject-matter and principal recurring features. If more than one typology is attested for a particular art theme in the Ethiopian tradition, provide a brief description of the features of each typology.

In addition to this basic information you may choose to provide references to Work IDs that inform the content of the ATID (e.g The Crucifixion will include a reference to the Gospels) and/or, where possible, to the relevant passages of that work with @cRef:

<abstract> <p> Miniature showing <persName ref="PRS5684JesusCh">Jesus</persName> in the Garden of Gethsemane before his Arrest, (<ref cRef="urn:cts:greekLit:tlg0031.tlg001.perseus-grc1:26.36">Mt 26:36</ref>; <ref cRef="urn:cts:greekLit:tlg0031.tlg002.perseus-grc1:14.32"> Mk 14:32</ref>; <ref cRef="urn:cts:greekLit:tlg0031.tlg003.perseus-grc1:22.39">Lk 22:39</ref>;). </p> </abstract> Finally, the description can be expanded to mention whether a theme type is attested in other traditions, in which case provide relevant bibliographic data.

Similarly, WorkIDs can be used to specify the particular scene in a miniature with a generic ATID within a <decoNote>.

Ex. 2

<abstract> <p> A miniature showing the Crucifixion of <persName ref="PRS5684JesusCh">Jesus</persName>. The scene may include a number of additional figures, such as the <persName ref="PRS6819Mary">Virgin Mary</persName> or <persName ref="PRS5695John">John</persName>, the scene typically follows the account of the <ref type="work" corresp="LIT1560Gospel">Gospels</ref>, but may include iconographic elements inspired by apocryphal sources. The three main typologies attested in the Ethiopian tradition are: <list> <item>Type 1 <desc>There is an Empty Cross and there are figures associated with it (i.e. it is not just an interlaced cross).</desc> </item> <item>Type 2 <desc>The body of Living Jesus is nailed to the cross.</desc> </item> <item>Type 3 <desc>The body of the Dead Jesus is nailed to the cross.</desc> </item> </list> </p> </abstract>

N.B. Typologies are encoded using keywords, see the for further details.

Consider including relevant keywords (e.g. The Theme of the Crucifixion should contain keywords such as Bible; Crucifixion; Passion of Jesus; New Testament) to link it to other works (artistic/literary) and content that is relevant to that ATID, these are placed after <abstract>.

Ex. 3

<textClass> <keywords scheme="#ethioauthlist"> <term key="Bible"></term> <term key="NewTestament"></term> </keywords> </textClass>


Lastly, please include at least a couple of references to the relevant bibliography at the end of your file. If there are works that deal with the history of the ATID in Ethiopia, these should be always included. For some themes, there might not be such a publication, in which case strive to include a reference that provides at least some basic information and additional references to the topic. Ideally also include a reference to one or more works dealing with the broader history of the ATID in art. Before adding the bibliography, make sure you have carefully read our guidelines on the matter here and here.

Ex. 4

<listBibl type="secondary"> <bibl> <ptr target="bm:Mathews1991ArmenianIconography"></ptr> <citedRange unit="pages">107b-109a</citedRange> </bibl> </listBibl>

That is all, you are good to go!

This page is referred to in the following pages

Revisions of this page

  • Pietro Maria Liuzzo on 2018-04-30: first version of guidelines from Wiki
  • Dorothea Reule on 2018-05-02: Updated examples and fixed links