An Eighteenth Century Chasuble from the Re-purposed Robe of Karl III

Recently we shared some information on our social media page about historical textiles and how frequently those found in historical vestments are either repurposed from secular garments that have been re-tailored for sacred use. Today we have yet another example of this in action -- a chasuble that has been repurposed from the robes of Karl III Philip, Elector Palatine, Count of Palatinate-Neuberg. The chasuble, which would be dated to sometime in the mid 18th century, is quite unique insofar as its ornamental cross design is concerned. It comes in a blue silk that was likely liturgically used as purple/violet. 

For those who wonder why this approach was taken, one must remember how precious and costly textiles historically were. Even today, one will pay a premium for the very best textiles (and hand-loomed one's are off the chart cost-wise, remembering that it takes approximately one working day simply to produce 30cm /1 foot of hand-loomed fabric). We take for granted today that one can simply order (on demand and frequently at less costly prices as most textiles are now machine made) textiles at will, but for most of history this was not the case of course. Textiles were costly imports and, regardless of their point of origin, they were hand-loomed and took time to produce. In this regard they were very precious items, not simply to be dispensed with and disposed of. Their re-use for liturgical purposes represents the priority that was given to quality and beauty in the sacred liturgy (a lesson we would do well to remember today as we seem to increasingly suffer from the modern affliction of trading quality for cheapness of cost and taking a "throw-away" culture view of these things, rather than a patrimonial view).

Commentary aside, here is the chasuble in question. 

A detail:

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