Connecting the Natural and Liturgical: Floriated Vestments for Easter, Spring and Summer

It was about one year ago that I published an article on The Tradition of Floral Vestments, noting how apropos they are to the Easter season as well as the feast days of the spring and summer months. I say this because, as I only just noted yesterday, there tends to be a great deal of interest in that which intersects the natural and the supernatural, from the bees of the Exsultet to Ember days and their connection to the four seasons. It seems to me that floriated vestments can provide a similar visible connection between the liturgical world and what is taking place within nature -- what with the new spring and summer flowers that are coming forth after the long winter months,  just as we proceed with the festive joys of Eastertide and Pentecost after the liturgical winter that is Lent. 

Sitting as we are in the Octave of Easter, I can think of no better time to revisit this subject and share some further examples coming from this tradition, and while last year's article focused on a certain type of floriated vestment, this year I thought I would expand this to include some other examples.

To be certain, some floriated vestments can present challenges -- particularly when they involve the use of two competing floral damasks as was frequently done in 19th century France for example; the end result can be very "busy." However, I believe all of the examples shown here strike a reasonable balance between the use of colourful, floriated ornament and a certain tasteful restraint.


Before I conclude this, I feel compelled to make one comment.  Regrettably, a tired trope that is popular amongst a vocal minority is one that would characterize floriated vestments in disparaging terms. This polemic is one that is as mistaken as it is modern and it betrays a woeful lack of awareness of the history of textiles and their use in vestments.  From my perspective, these polemics can not only be safely ignored, they should be.

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