Restoration of a Unique Preaching Stole

Recently I came across an interesting bit of restoration work undertaken by Michele Cassata paramenti ricamati a mano who is based out of Palermo, Italy.  The restoration caught my attention for two reasons: First, the very fact of the restoration itself for we live in an age which is often very quick to dispose and replace items without giving due consideration to the skilled craftsmen who might be able to preserve them instead. Second, the particular piece in question is rather unique, being a stole that is made up of gold thread that has been embroidered onto a kind of mesh instead of the more usual foundation of a silk textile.

Here is the fully restored work:

Apparently this particular piece was, in fact, one of six such stoles that were utilized during solemn processions.  Unfortunately due to age, use and little or no conservation efforts, the stole had become extremely worn, its tassels having disintegrated and the mesh no longer being able to support the gold embroideries. To restore the stole, an entirely new mesh was crafted and the embroideries were re-integrated, with any missing parts being recreated.

Here are a few details that show the before (right) and after (left) which will help readers to appreciate the restoration work that was required.

Left: The restored stole. Right: Prior to restoration

I think readers will agree that the end result is nothing short of superb, restoring the stole back to its original appearance and lustre. Let us hope that it will now see many more years of use.

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