Friday, 27 September 2013

What Colour Was the Queen of Sheba - Black or White?

The Queen of Sheba as depicted ca. 1405 in a Prague manuscript

The visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon
A white queen with a black  entourage
Canterbury cathedral 1170-1180
Window n.XV panel 27

I do not have a ready answer as to why she appears black in one depiction - Pargue c1405 - while in another - Canterbury 1170 - she is white. More research is required, which I plan to do over the comming months meanwhile I leave you with those two arresting and diametrcially apposed images of the Queen.

The above was posted 27th September 2013, today is 18th March 2017 , three and half years later. I've still not done the research but have come across an equivalent image to the Canterbury Cathedral Sheba. 

Claude Lorrain (1604 -1682) in his Seaport with the Embarkation of the Queen of Sheba (1648)

Detail from Claude's Seaport with the Embarkation of the Queen of Sheba
A white queen with black attendants

In Claude's depiction we have the white Queen of Sheba attended to by two black maidservants  - perhaps a referencing that Sheba was believed to be in Africa. Almost 500 years separate the two images both have essentially the same representation. More research still needed.....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The artist of the day would have us think that there were no black people in power as king or queen