Religious vestments and other textiles

Religious vestments and other textiles

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London houses an exquisitely decorated mitre that (most probably) derives from Italy and was made in the first half of the sixteenth century. It is decorated with gold and silk thread using chain stitch, long and short stitch, and satin stitch. The mitre is made of silk satin with linen lining and paper stiffening.

The Jesse cope, now housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, consists of a number of embroidered fragments sewn together into a cope. The fragments are decorated in the tradition of opus anglicanum. They date to the early fourteenth century.

The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, houses the so-called John of Thanet panel, which was attached to the back of a cope. The panel dates to the early fourteenth century. It measures 99 x 42 cm. The panel is made of silk with silver-gilt, silver and silk thread, and pearls. It is a prime example of Opus Anglicanum.

The decorated Ka'aba key bag is used to hold the key to the Ka`aba, a sacred Islamic building in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. 

The kiswa is the embroidered cloth covering of the Ka`aba, a cubical building in the al-Masjid al-Haram mosque, Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The Ka`aba is about 15 m high, with a circumference of 47 m. It has one door, which is set about 2 m above the ground. During the annual hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca, Muslims walk around the Ka`aba seven times.

La Grande Broderie was the name given to a set of gold-embroidered ecclesiastical garments and textiles designed in the mid-fifteenth century by Pierre de Villant.

A laudian is a decorative piece of cloth that hangs over the altar frontal cloth on some Christian altars. The laudian is sometimes called an antependium, but the latter is a general term that means a hanging and is used to describe other church items as well.

A lectern is a tall, narrow stand with a slanting top. Its primary function is to support books or documents, especially when someone is reading aloud from them. The word lectern derives from the Latin lectus (past participle of legere – 'to read'). In the Christian Church, a lectern is generally used to support a Bible from which the Scriptures are read aloud (a process called the ‘lessons’).

The so-called Maaseik embroideries are believed to include the oldest extant Western European embroidered pieces of fabric. They are incorporated into a medieval ecclesiastical vestment, namely a chasuble (casula). The chasuble and related textiles are housed in the Sint-Catharina (St. Catherine) Church, Maaseik, Belgium. The chasuble is now known as ‘The chasuble of Sts Harlindis and Relindis’.

The mahmal is an embroidered palanquin (a form of travelling tent), specifically associated with the (symbolic) transport of the kiswa, the covering of the Ka`aba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. A mahmal in its more general meaning was a covered construction perched on the back of an animal, usually a camel, and used to carry people, especially noble ladies and brides, who required a degree of privacy.

A maniple (also sometimes known as the fanon) is a liturgical vestment that consists of a band, often embroidered with silver thread, that hangs down the left arm of the wearer. It is a garment, usually made of silk, used mainly in the Catholic Church, during the celebration of the mass and worn together with the chasuble. Its colour follows that of the other liturgical garments and accords with the liturgical calendar.

Reputedly the oldest extant example of Russian ecclesiastical embroidery is the so-called veil or shroud of Grand Princess Maria of Tver, from c. AD 1400.

The Melk chasuble is a prime example of opus anglicanum, which was a famous technique practised in England in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The chasuble is now housed in the Museum für angewandte Kunst in Vienna, Austria. It dates to about AD 1300 and measures 116.8 x 487.7 cm. It retains its original bell-shaped form. The arm-holes were cut out later. The colours are somewhat faded.

The British Museum in London keeps a square of cotton cloth with a printed embroidery design. The print dates to the 1980's and was purchased in Sierra Norte de Puebla, in southeastern Mexico. The cloth is 42 x 48 cm in size.

A mitre (Greek: μίτρα, 'headband' or 'turban') is a Christian liturgical vestment, generally triangular in shape, which may take different specific forms. Mitres have long been worn by Christian bishops and abbots in many Anglican, Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Since the medieval period, mitres have often been made from decorative woven and/or embroidered material. 

The Musée Provincial des Arts Anciens du Namurois, Namur, Belgium, houses a mitre that is embroidered with silver-gilt and silver thread, and coloured silk embroidery, worked with underside couching, split stitch and stem stitch on a silk ground material. The mitre is 18.8 cm high and 28 cm wide.

The upper part of two boots or stockings to be worn by a bishop, and worked in Opus Anglicanum with gold and silver thread embroidery, are preserved in the Archbishop’s Palace Museum, at the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway. They probably date to the late twelfth century. Nidaros is the medieval name of Trondheim.

An orphrey is an applied decorative band, usually richly embroidered, on a Christian ecclesiastical vestment, such as a copechasuble or dalmatic. According to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, the term orphrey derives from the Old French orfreis (mod. orfroi), from the medieval Latin auriphrygium, which comes from Latin aurum (gold) and Phrygius (Phrygian). Compare Dutch: aurifries.

Page 4 of 6