The Barbavara Mitre in the Cathedral Treasury of Palermo

I thought I would take an opportunity today to share with readers an example of a precious mitre (mitra pretiosa) coming from the earlier 17th century by way of Michele Cassatta -- whose work we featured only just earlier this week. The mitre in question is the so-called "Barbavara mitre" -- its name coming with reference to Don Camillo Barbavara, an important craftsman from the region who may have had a hand in creating this piece.

Mr. Cassatta was engaged by the cathedral treasury to help restore and re-arrange the mitre for better display and in the course of executing his task, he managed to get some "candid shots" of it.

As you will see, the beadwork and gemwork on this particular piece are quite fine. I would in particular draw your attention to the coloured stones (which are rubies, beryl, and turquoise enamel) which really bring focus and life to the mitre visually speaking.

Some close up images may be helpful:

Here is a slightly more detailed view of the front of the mitre, taken from a different angle and with different lighting. This gives a particularly good sense of the pearls which adorn most of the surface of the mitre (both front and back I would add).

The pearls are, in turn, set against a field of gold threads.

Finally, not to be forgotten are the lappets of the mitre.

For those curious about its dimensions, it stands 40cm (or 15.75") in height.

The mitre is thought to have belonged to Cardinal Giannettino Doria (1608-1642), Archbishop of Palermo.

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