Connected Histories? Arabia, India and the Architecture of Medieval Ethiopia

Although early modern artistic connections between India and Ethiopia are reasonably well documented, there is little or no epigraphic or textual evidence for earlier histories of circulation across the Indian Ocean. Yet, architectural and other material from the Horn of Africa suggests a certain intensity of contacts with western Indian in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Highlighting the ‘archival’ value of extant artifacts and monuments, this lecture explores the role of medieval Ethiopia as a nexus between the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean.