The Delicacy of Seventeenth Century Vestment Embroidery

Continuing on with some considerations in the area of the vestment arts, I wished to turn our readers' attention to the following chasuble. The chasuble itself is Italian in its origins and shows a style of embroidery that is much more 'delicate' than its 18th and 19th century counterparts, being a type of embroidery that is more typically found on vestments dated to the 17th century.

The design itself is the usual Italian form, with a single column on the back and a T shaped cross on the front. Typical to this style and period, the embroidery on the orphreys is much heaver than that which is found on the rest of the chasuble. (Interestingly, the front orphrey appears to be set on a different colour, which possibly suggests some later restoration to the front of the chasuble).

This particular closeup (see above) will give you a better sense of the delicacy of the embroidery -- and many of our readers will no doubt also find the prelatial arms (or "stemma") found on the chasuble to also be of interest.

This particular style of embroidery puts me to mind of another exquisite red chasuble, this time coming from the papal sacristy, which we most recently saw by Pope Benedict XVI on Good Friday, 2011:

In modern times, this particular chasuble was also seen on Pope John XXIII:

This type of lighter embroidery is, regrettably, rather under-represented since the 19th century.

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