This is an open collection of Ethiopic codices (bound manuscripts), which are chiefly written in Ge'ez (sometimes called Ethiopic), the scholarly and liturgical Afroasiatic language of Ethiopian Orthodox Church, as well as five related items. Many of the Ge'ez manuscripts have varia or marginalia in Amharic; two texts are mostly Amharic. Included among the Ethiopic manuscripts are 16 Psalters, 7 Miracles of Mary , 6 Images , 4 prayer books, 3 Homilies of Michael , 3 Synaxariums , 2 Anaphoras of Mary , 2 antiphonaries, 2 Missals , 1 Gospel of John , and 1 collection of divination texts. Worthy of special note are the variant Miracles of Mary and a rare Cycle of the Kings .
Most of the manuscripts in this collection date from the nineteenth and twentieth century. But at least ten are probably from the eighteenth century, and at least one (Miracles of Mary) is probably from the seventeenth. Precise dating of Ethiopic manuscripts remains difficult. Texts are written in black and red ink on parchment; one manuscript is paper. The manuscripts are bound in a traditional style reminiscent of early Coptic Christian codices in Roman and Byzantine Egypt, for which reason they are sometimes characterized as "Coptic." The quires of the manuscripts are sewn with unsupported link-stitch and then laced into rough-hewn wooden boards, sometimes covered in leather, often blind-tooled. A number of manuscripts are in leather carrying cases, which allowed them to be worn over the shoulder or hung up on pegs in walls.