A Nineteenth Century Cope from the Cathedral of Seville

Before we leave the season of Advent, I'be been meaning to share this violet cope which comes from the nineteenth century and is located in the Cathedral of Seville in Spain.  The cope is comprised of a dark purple silk that has been ornamented with beautiful, spiralling gold embroidery over the entire body of the cope. 

The hood of the cope is designed in the typical Spanish shape and includes a beautiful embroidered emblem of a dove, symbolizing the Holy Spirit. This is in turn surrounded by shafts of wheat, flowers and vines. 

The inclusion of a symbol of the Holy Spirit might strike some of our readers as strange given that we most typically see this associated with red vestments, and sometimes white, but it is a good reminder that while such associations are common and have a certain symbolic logic to them (red being the colour of the feast of Pentecost, associated with fire), there is nothing that restricts the usage of particular symbols to particular liturgical colours.

To gain a better sense of the liturgical context in which this cope would have been used, here is a view of high altar of the cathedral of Seville as well as its choir.

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