The Possibilities of the Parisian Cross on a Gothic Revival Cut

The origins of the so-called "Parisian" cross (see above), which was particularly popular in 19th and 20th century French vestment work, has frequently interested me. Frequently it is thought of as being unique to this period and shape of vestment, but in point of fact that need not be the case. Case in point, we find an example of a fuller gothic style chasuble (this coming from the early 20th century) which has utilized an earlier embroidered orphrey (dated to between the 15th-16th centuries) in this fashion with the typical square found at the axis cross hosting the Blessed Virgin and the Beloved Disciple, St. John, standing at the foot of the cross.

Now an interesting question here is one of the "chicken and the egg." Does this embroidery represent the earlier origins of this Parisian shaped orphrey -- made to so as to facilitate a scene just such as this within it -- or is it a case simply of an earlier orphrey being re-shaped and re-fashioned according to a current style?  Either is possible, though if we look at the front orphrey we will see that it is wider than its counterpart, which certainly is suggestive of the possibility that the back side cross may too have, at one time, been shaped more akin to a Latin cross than a Parisian one. 

Whatever the case, what this demonstrates is that the person who is fond of the so-called Parisian cross but who prefers a fuller cut of vestment does have design possibilities the could consider -- design possibilities that work quite well in fact. 

Join in the conversation on our Facebook page.