Cerulean Blue Marian Vestments from Formerly Colonial Peru

Being so close to the Assumption, I thought it apropos to share another vestment set in blue coming from the Spanish tradition. The shape of the chasuble is, of course, Spanish, being a much more truncated form that the more ample Italo-Roman form. The colour is blue, and specifically the shade of blue that was authorized for Marian feasts in certain territories: cerulean blue. (Darker blues were historically a form of purple/violet from days when synthetic dyes didn't exist and explicit colour matches were not always achievable). 

The particular example we are considering today comes from the second half of the 19th century and is found within the Franciscan convent of Sao Francisco de Lima located in Peru -- a former Spanish colony within the continent of South America.  It is made from an azure or cerulean blue silk that has been decorated by gorgeous, raised silver thread embroideries -- the heavier embroidery style being quite typical to vestments of the latter half of the 19th century.  

In the midst of both the front and the back of the chasuble we find explicit Marian imagery. In the front, the classic "Ave Maria" symbol made up "A" and "M" and topped with a crown (further surrounded by lilies); on the back, and image of the Virgin herself, the Virgin of the Miraculous Medal.

Surrounding these explicit Marian images are various flowers which are also Marian in their symbolism.  

The stole from the set is also of typical Spanish design without any fringes on its base. Instead of crosses on the ends of the stole we find roses -- consonant with the Marian theme of the set. 

The one other piece we can show you from the set, which shows its origins as a solemn Mass set, is the beautiful humeral veil taken from it. In this particular instance, instead of a cross or monogram of Christ on the centre of the veil (which is by no means a de rigeur requirement) we once again find a crowned Marian monogram. To either end of the veil is a beautiful silver fringe and a continuance of the floral motif of the set. 

Regrettably, the other pieces from the set are not available to share. One suspects that the cope, dalmatic and tunicle for this set must be spectacular.  One can well imagine the weight these particular vestments must have had with their heavy, raised embroideries and one can further imagine their particular beauty as light and shadow caught these embroideries, further set off by the beautiful light blue tones of the silk. 

Join in the conversation on our Facebook page.