Two ''Memento Mori' Chasubles

On All Souls Day in the year 2018, I made a case for the inclusion of "Memento Mori" on Black vestments -- which is to say, "imagines mortuorum" (images of the dead). In a nutshell, I would argue that we live in a time where the illusion of immortality reigns supreme and with it a concurrent avoidance of the reality of the four last things. As such, visible remembrances of these realities seems not only apt but arguably even necessary -- though counterbalanced with a healthy sense of Christian hope of course.

One of the earliest articles on LAJ catalogued some black vestments which contained this sort of imagery and it remains one of our most popular articles to date.  Images such as these tend to get recycled very quickly as there is a definite appetite and interest in them and, as such, when I run into new examples I am always quite keen to share them.

Today I am pleased to share two new examples coming from within this tradition. The first shows a very typical image of a skeleton playing with various images of civil and ecclesiastical power (e.g. a crown, a tiara, and so on) which is intended as a reminder of the temporary nature and glory of worldly power -- and a remembrance of what is eternal. Around it are various skulls which are surrounded by floral motifs that bring to mind this element of hope and re-birth.

The second example is dated to the 19th century and is found in the collection of the Muzeum Diecezjalne w Siedlcach in Poland. It includes various symbols in the "Arma Christi" tradition that show the instruments of the Passion. It's symbols suggest this chasuble might have been particularly envisioned for use on Good Friday but it could, of course, been used at All Souls or  Requiem Mass as well.

The back of the chasuble includes the skull of Adam, the Cross and other instruments of the Passion,.
The front of the chasuble includes not only skulls, but also the Souls in Purgatory, the  Sacred Heart and an image of Christ crowned in thorns.

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