Medieval art history has long emphasized the glories of the Byzantine Empire, but less known are the profound artistic contributions of Nubia, Egypt, Ethiopia, and other powerful African kingdoms whose pivotal interactions with Byzantium had an indelible impact on the medieval Mediterranean world. Bringing together more than 170 masterworks in a range of media and techniques—from mosaic, sculpture, pottery, and metalwork to luxury objects, panel paintings, and religious manuscripts—Africa and Byzantium recounts Africa’s centrality in transcontinental networks of trade and cultural exchange. With incisive scholarship and new photography of works rarely or never before seen in public, this long-overdue publication sheds new light on the staggering artistic achievements of late antique Africa. It reconsiders the continent’s contributions to the development of the premodern world and offers a more complete history of Africa as a vibrant, multiethnic society of diverse languages and faiths that played a crucial role in the artistic, economic, and cultural life of Byzantium and beyond.
Published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Distributed by Yale University Press
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
(November 19, 2023–March 3, 2024)
The Cleveland Museum of Art
(April 14–July 21, 2024)