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"How Beautiful She Is!" in Her Mirror: Polysemic Images and Reflections of Power of an Eighteenth-Century Ethiopia Queen

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After a difficult succession, Queen Mentewwab governed the Ethiopian kingdom for, and then with, her son King Iyasu II (1730-55), as the official chronicle of their reign describes. A parallel study of a painting representing those members of the royal family who participated in the government, analyzed according to its specific logic and not only in reference to the history of the time, illustrates the nature of her power and allows one to see, in return, how she used pictures to legitimate herself as well as how these pictures work.


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