A Seventeenth Century Folded Chasuble and Set

I have written here before of the folded chasuble (planeta plicata) and in that article (as well as my 2009 article on New Liturgical Movement), I noted that the form varied throughout history. In some cases the front was simply "cut" off or shortened, while in other instances the front was actually folded up.  The earlier medieval forms tended toward more actual folding of the front, whereas the later shapes of chasuble frequently tended toward simply shortening the front. However, as was noted in those articles, you could also find instances where chasubles of these later shapes also employed actual folding of the front; regrettably few photographs of any good resolution presented themselves, however that recently changed when I came across this set from the first half of the 17th century:

An interesting aside here is the tassel fringe around the entire outer edge of the chasuble. 
You can see here that the front has been folded up on the outside and attached using ribbons -- giving it its unique shape and appearance.

 (A second variation on this that one might also see is where the front has been folded up on the inside instead.)

Back to the set in question however, this particular example comes from the circa 1600-1650 and is from Bologna -- which also helps to explain the arms on the back of the chasuble, which are those of Pope Gregory XV, a native son of Bologna.

Here is the broad stole (stola latior) that goes with this set:

The actual chasuble that completes this set is equally of interest. You will note that it appropriately has a higher degree of ornamentation than the folded chasubles that accompany it, helping to distinguish it from them. This seems to me a very good means of visually and symbolically maintaining the distinction between the two and is something I would encourage people to consider as they undertake new commissions of sets such as this (rather than making them all identical on the back). In addition to the embroidery found within the orphrey there are scenes showing Pentecost, the Resurrection and the Martyrdom of Ss. Peter and Paul.

Here too is a covering for the faldstool:

Finally the burse and the stole:

There is also a cope for this set, but regrettably the photo is in black and white. Here it is, however, for the record:

Photos: BeWeb

Join in the conversation on our Facebook page.