Custodia di Mitra

Here at Liturgical Arts Journal, we are fortunate to be able to feature not only the most primary of the liturgical arts, but also the rather more obscure, and in that vein we are pleased today to be able to present the decorative cases that would protect the precious mitres (mitra pretiosa) of prelates -- or what are, in Italian, referred to as "custodia di mitra."

What's of interest in this is just how much attention and detail was put into absolutely everything; not just the mitres themselves, but even to the cases which would protect and preserve them. These are secondary elements, it is true, but they are elements and traditions which are unseen and unknown to many and we are pleased to present a few examples of these objects that were created to protect liturgical symbols. 

Bologna, 1700-1749

So then, how did these work? Well it was very simple. They were cases that were designed to contain the mitre:

Umbria, 1745

Of course, these could be very simple in design, but frequently in previous centuries -- times which better appreciated the beauty of ornament -- they were also decorative in nature. Here are just a few examples:

Imola, 1790-1799

Viterbo, 1750-1799

Grosseto, 1790-1799

Rieti, 1744-1786

In some instances, the leather was dyed to reflect the particular rank of the prelate, from cardinalatial red to episcopal green.

The lesson in these is simply this: the tradition of liturgical arts is deep and rich. 

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