Anklet

before 1869 (made)

Unknown

Height: 3.3 cm, Diameter: 6.3 cm

403A-1869 MET

Anklet, hinged silver band with silver chains and pendants, Ethiopia, before 1868.

Anklet, hinged band of silver from which silver chains and conical pendants are suspended.

This silver anklet was formerly in the possession of Queen Woyzaro Terunesh, second wife of the Ethiopian emperor Tewodros II (Theodore) and mother of the prince Alamayou. In 1864, frustrated by a lack of communication from Queen Victoria’s government, Tewodros took a number of Europeans captive, including the British consul, Captain Cameron. The British response was a military expedition of huge complexity and expense led by Sir Robert Napier. The expedition marched to Tewodros’s fortress at Maqdala where a brief battle took place. Britain won the conflict, but not before the captives were released and Tewodros himself had committed suicide. Contemporary reports record that the widowed Queen expressed a wish to ‘be escorted as far as her native province of Semyen, in the north-west part of Tigreh [but] … when the head-quarters’ camp reached Aikhullet, on May 15 [1868], this poor lady died’, apparently of lung disease. ‘Her funeral took place next morning in the great church at Chelicut … The women of her household, showing her robe, her ornaments, her slippers and her drinking cup, beat their breasts, tore their hair, and scratched their cheeks, shedding tears of real grief as they bewailed her death’ (Illustrated London News, 1868). The Queen’s possessions were sent on to the Secretary of State for India at the India Office, London, and given to the South Kensington (later V&A) Museum the following year.

Accessions register entry: 'Anklets, a pair. Silver with coral ornament and cone shaped pendants; belonging formerly to the Queen of Abyssinia. Abyssinian. Given by the Secretary of State for India. April 28th 1869'. See 'Set of Articles of Deceased Queen of Abyssinia' and related correspondence in British Library collections at IOR R/20/AIA/503. Anklets do not appear on this list.

Given by the Secretary of State for India

Location: In Storage

View this object on the V&A website