Sixteenth Century Spanish Vestments from Granada Cathedral

The Cathedral of the Incarnation in Granada (or what is fully known as the Catedral de Granada, Santa Iglesia Metropolitana de la Encarnacion) located in the Andalusian region of Spain, has shared an impressive display of their ornaments coming from the 16th century. For those of you who are particularly fond of the Spanish style, these are certainly "top tier" examples. This particular cathedral was founded in 1518 so in that regard these particular vestments are contemporary to the founding of the cathedral.

Facade of the cathedral of Granada

One of the most striking sets is attributed to the master embroiderer, Juan de Villalón, and is a work dated to 1584-1591 -- showing precisely how long such work traditionally takes. The set was commissioned by Archbishop Juan Méndez de Salvatierra (1577-1588). Shown here is the back of the chasuble, with its distinctive Spanish cut. It, like the rest of the set, is set upon a red velvet which has been ornamented with golden embroideries of flowers, leaves and tendrils. Set against this backdrop is a beautiful golden orphrey that includes images of St. Peter, St. Paul and St. John.  

The dalmatic continues the theme and shown here on the backside is an image once again of St. John. One will also note the Spanish "collarin" -- an ornamental piece worn around the neck which derives from the medieval apparel found on the amice, here now separated into its own distinctive parament. 

One the arms of the dalmatic and tunicle are panels which depict the four Latin Fathers of the Church: St. Gregory the Great, St. Ambrose, St. Jerome and St. Augustine.  Shown here below is the sleeve that depicts St. Gregory:

The cope from the set depicts scenes from the life of Christ's childhood (i.e. Flight into Egypt, Adoration of the Magi and the Nativity, Circumcision and Presentation) along the orphrey and also depicts the arms of Archbishop Martin Carillo de Alderete (Bishop from 1641-1653) which is believed to be a later addition.  On the backside of the cope we find a depiction of the Assumption on the hood or shield of the cope along with an image of God the Father in the orphrey above.

In addition to this stunning red set, I must also take a moment to share another set featured in their exposition: a beautiful black brocade cope. This particular cope has a style very similar to that of the red example above, The orphrey, which we regrettably can only get a hint of as we are not shown the front, includes various apostles. But of particular interest is the very beautiful and fine depiction on the hood/shield of the cope which depicts the crucifixion with Christ flanked by the two thieves and, at the foot of the Cross, Our Lady, St. John, St. Mary Magdalen and Roman soldiers. 

It is worth noting here that the geometric designs that are found on these vestments are Moorish in origins, which certainly speaks to the historical influences and history found within the region. 

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