The Ongoing Revival of Liturgical Embroidery at Sacra Domus Aurea

The atelier of Sacra Domus Aurea has been quite busy in recent months with a number of new additions to their collection of embroidered works -- works that frequently utilize a nice mixture of historical as well as original design work -- so it seems like a good time to catch up with some of these offerings which encompass all of the primary liturgical colours with the exception only of violet -- something to look forward to in the future.

Our first consideration comes in the form of the most recent offering, a red chasuble thoroughly rooted in the Roman tradition.

The chasuble is set on a blood red silk moiré with a single gold tone embroidery. For any who are familiar with the study of Roman vestments, this combination will be readily familiar. The design is a variation on one of the very first embroidered offerings and demonstrates just how much colours and their combinations can change the look and feel of a vestment. A closer look:

The second offering comes in black velvet and falls (in a very discreet way) into the Roman tradition of memento mori. Now, as many of our readers will no doubt know, memento mori were frequently included in in vestment work of the later 19th and 18th century, also appearing in the 19th, until its use was abolished by the S.R.C. However, as I have myself argued here, I think there is a contemporary case for its revival in our own time and frequently these revivals happen in just such a way as this -- unassumingly. Whatever your own particular position on memento mori on vestments (and let's recall they are found within our churches everywhere else, including our altars), I believe you will find this particular offering, set on velvet in two tones of gold, quite interesting.

Next we turn to green. I mentioned earlier how the intersection of colours can entirely change a vestment's look and feel. This includes not only the particular shade of the liturgical colour used (i.e. a light green, a bright emerald green and a dark forest green will each result in a very different feel) but also any accents. Case in point, this particular chasuble below is actually using the same embroidered pattern as our first example in red, but because it uses a yellow gold and white gold for its embroidery (as opposed to the single yellow gold used in the red example), it has a completely different character.

Out final consideration today comes in the form of Sacra Domus Aurea's first fully embroidered solemn Mass set -- inclusive of all the usual parts and pieces: chasuble, dalmatic, tunicle, cope and humeral veil. Some of our readers may recognize this set from the recent FSSP ordinations that took place in  Lincoln, Nebraska as it was commissioned and worn by one of the ordinands. Like the red example, it too is set on silk moirĂ© and utilizes a single colour of gold embroidery. 

We are truly fortunate to be living in a time of revival where sets such as these -- which were once the purview only of museums, books or the rich sacristies of Europe -- are suddenly available to a contemporary audience, wherever in the world they might be situated.

For more information on these or other works, visit Sacra Domus Aurea's website or see them on Facebook or Instagram

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