Dating ethiopian crosses
The "pre-Axumite" Iron Age culture of about the 5th century BCE to the 1st century CE was influenced by the Kingdom of Kush to the north, and settlers from Arabia, and produced cities with simple temples in stone, such as the ruined one at Yeha, which is impressive for its date in the 4th or 5th century BCE.
The powerful Kingdom of Aksum emerged in the 1st century BCE and dominated Ethiopia until the 10th century, having become very largely Christian from the 4th century.
Ethiopian diptychs often have a primary wing with a frame.
A smaller second wing, which is only the size of the image within the frame, is painted on both sides to allow closed and open views.
Secondly there are popular arts and crafts such as textiles, basketry and jewellery, in which Ethiopian traditions are closer to those of other peoples in the region.
They used versions of a number of common Byzantine types, typically flanked by two archangels in iconic depictions.
Some "diptyches" are in the form of a "ark" or tabot, in these cases consecrated boxes with a painted inside of the lid, placed closed on the altar during Mass, somewhat equivalent to the altar stone in the Western church, and the antimins in other Orthodox churches.
These are regarded as so holy that the laity is not allowed to see them, and they are wrapped in cloth when taken in procession.
One of the best known examples of this type of painting is at Debre Berhan Selassie in Gondar (pictured), famed for its angel-covered roof (angels in Ethiopian art are often represented as winged heads) as well as its other murals dating from the late 17th century.
Diptychs and triptychs are also commonly painted with religious icons.