The Evolution of the Apparelled Amice: The Cappino, Collarin and Colletin

Over the years I have published many photos of liturgical events from across the globe and in some of those an article is worn around the neck that invites both interest and curiosity. The article in question is derived from the ornamental "apparel" that was placed upon the amice (the white cloth piece that is tied around the neck and shoulders of the cleric, worn under the vestments) and was seen in more recent times in three distinct forms. These particular forms are found in Milan, Lyon and, more broadly, Spain and some of her colonies.

To assist readers in identifying these and their distinct forms, I thought it would be useful to document them in a single article. With that in mind here are these three contemporary forms -- and for those wondering what an "apparelled amice" is, see the end of the article.

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The Milanese (Ambrosian) Cappino

In the Ambrosian rite, the article in question is known as the "cappino" and takes the form of a rectangular piece of fabric decorated with a cross (often three) that is worn around the neck and shoulders -- barely coming to the front except to be attached. It is worn by the priest, deacon and subdeacon in Solemn Masses. Here is what the cappino looks like:

Two examples of the cappino laid flat courtesy of Nicola de Grandi

The Spanish Collarin

Next we have the "collarin" of Spain and some of her colonies. The collarin is worn by the deacon and subdeacon (but not the priest) in Solemn Masses. The particular form of the collarin is, much as the word suggests, in the form of a collar being worn high around the back of the neck and head and attached in the front. An ornamental tassel often accompanies the attaching strings.

The Lyonese Colletin

Finally, we have the "colletin" of the rite of Lyons which likewise takes the form of a collar, but one which sits halfway between the Ambrosian and Spanish forms, laying flat like the cappino but coming to a point at the back which reaches around the front where it is attached. Like the Spanish collarin, this was worn by the deacon(s) and subdeacon(s).

The Apparelled Amice

As noted, all of these are derived from the apparel which was often placed upon the amice (not to mention the hem and cuffs of the alb) in earlier centuries, no doubt for both practical as well as ornamental purposes. Here is the article in question for those who are not familiar:

The distinguished German liturgiologist, Fr. Joseph Braun, had this to say about it's history:
In the 12th century a peculiar, collar-like ornamentation of the amice came into use, which must have pleased enormously, since it quickly became common everywhere. It was applied at one of the two long sides, namely that one on which the bands to tie it were. It consisted either of a strip immediately embroidered onto the humeral or - and that was more common - of an initially only narrow, but later on broader galloon ca. 40 to 50 cm long, often decorated with embroidery, pearls and little metal plates. While vesting, the amice was put upon the head in such a way that the decoration stretched from temple to temple. Then the bands were tied around the breast, alb, stole, chasuble resp. tunicle or dalmatic were put on, and now the amice lowered by the back of the head in such a manner that the decorative strip resp. the galloon surrounded the neck like a collar.

In the inventories this decoration is called, especially if it occurs in the form of a galloon: parura, collare, plaga, plagula, plica, gemma, prætexta, truncus, aurifrisium (auriphrygium, firsium), but also, probably because it lay upon the shoulders, or because it was a decoration of the humeral: humerale.

The described manner of ornamentation had its origin apparently in France, from where it spread throughout the entire Occident, not excluding Italy. Its heyday falls into the 13th and 14th century. With the beginning of the 16th century it gradually falls again into disuse, earliest in Rome, in Germany around 1600. In France it remained in rare instances, e.g. in Paris, until the end of the 17th, or even until the 18th century. It never became entirely extinct. For even now the parura of the amice is in use in the Ambrosian rite, at Lyon and in Spain, albeit not any longer attached to the amice, but as a loose collar, which however it seems to have already been here and there at the end of the middle ages.
As you will note from the images above (also taken from Braun), the apparel on the amice effectively takes the shape of an ornamental collar once it is pulled down off the head. With this precedent clearly in view, I think readers will understand the origination of these three later forms in Milan, Lyon and Spain.

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