The Oriental Chasuble of Dom Pierre-Célestin Lou Tseng-Tsiang, OSB

Many years ago, I published an article on the subject of “Christian Art in the Far East” where I pointed toward an issue of Liturgical Arts Quarterly from 1935.

One of the pieces that was featured in this article was a Gothic Revival chasuble that employed Chinese themed motifs:

This particular chasuble belonged to Dom Pierre-Célestin Lou Tseng-Tsiang, OSB (1871-1949) and is now in the possession of St Andrew’s Abbey in Bruges, Belgium. Dom Lou is shown here wearing it:

Now black and white photos of vestments, in my experience, can do one of two things: they can either make the vestments look better than they really appear in person, or they can do the exact opposite and not show just how spectacular they are. (The reason for this is the same in both instances: the lack of colour doesn’t adequately provide a view into all the textures, textile qualities and colour harmonies).

The case of Dom Lou’s chasuble is clearly an instance of the latter, for the modern colour image shows forth the full exquisiteness of this chasuble in its every detail, from the beauty of its colours and materials to the richness of its embroideries and their corresponding textures. 

As you can see, this is an absolutely exquisite piece of craftsmanship.

Putting aside the themes for a moment, the silks, the bead work, the embroideries, the colours, they all combine into a splendid harmony.

Added to that are the splendid oriental motifs that make this a truly stunning and unique piece of liturgical art.

Photo Credit: Photos of the chasuble by Cyril J. Law with kind permission of the Abbot of St. Andrew's Abbey, Bruges.

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