An Antependium for Good Friday

Awhile back I came across this interesting antependium from the Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane (located in London, England). As you will see, it is not of the textile variety, being instead comprised (so far as I can see at any rate) of painted details, likely set upon wood.  I suspect the antependium in question was intended for use at Good Friday given that the details are done in black and white. 

Added to this are the symbols on the frontal which clearly and distinctly relate to the Passion with its central crown of thorns and three nails, as well as the other tools that would have been used in the same; the spear, the vinegar/gall, the ladder, the pincers and the hammer. 

The design of this antependium is interesting insofar as it is a black design set on top of a white backdrop. Many might thereby find this confusing, believing that the background necessarily dictates the liturgical colour proper, but in reality this is not really the case. Certainly anyone interested in the history of vestment design will be quite familiar with this particular dynamic, and foregrounds and backgrounds have less to do with things than the matter of which is the dominant colour -- which, in this particular instance, it is black 

Antependia offer a way of extending the symbolism of the liturgical day or season and are therefore to be encouraged. Anyone interested in reading more about them may wish to consult our article, The Historical, Theological, Liturgical and Artistic Case for Altar Frontals, published here in November 2017. 

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