Bohemian Pearl Work

St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague. St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague.

From the thirteenth to the seventeenth centuries, Bohemia was known for the production of applied pearl embroidery.

In applied pearl embroidery a design is created with applied fresh water pearls of various sizes, with details being added using coloured silk or flax threads in the earlier examples, and gold thread in later ones. Examples of this type of work can be seen on display in the Treasury of the Holy Cross (the Saint Vitus Cathedral, Prague, Czech Republic).

In particular, there are a pearl-embellished mitre (fourteenth century; cat. no. 11), as well as a series of four panels from the front of a dalmatic (fourteenth/fifteenth centuries; cat. no. 71) depicting various scenes associated with the life of Christ, St. Catherine of Alexandria and St. Vojtěch. By the seventeenth century pearls were being applied in conjunction with goldwork using both passing and purl forms, as seen in a mitre associated with Empress Eleanor, the wife of Ferdinand III (seventeenth century, cat. no. 83). It is possible that this mitre was made in Italy for the Bohemian court.

Source: KYZOUROVÁ, Ivana (ed.), (2012). Svatovítský poklad: Katalog stálé výstavy v kapli sv. Kříže na Pražském hradě, Prague: Vydal Správa Pražského hradu, pp. 43, 108-9, 122.

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 9th May 2017).


Last modified on Tuesday, 09 May 2017 19:00