Green Floriated Chasubles and the Imagery of the Enclosed Garden of the Song of Songs

The Song of Songs (sometimes called the Canticle of Canticles or Song of Solomon) is a book of sacred scripture that is rich in imagery. imagery that is frequently interpreted and understood as an allegory for love of Christ for His Church.  

One passage in particular, chapter 4, verse 12, was also taken as an image of the Blessed Virgin as an "enclosed garden." In the middle ages and Renaissance it was one of the popular images and titles given her, taken to be in reference to Mary's perpetual virginity on the one hand (i.e. the wall) and her maternal fruitfulness on the other (i.e. the garden). 

This theme of an enclosed garden was adopted elsewhere as well, such as to depict the Garden of Eden in this early fifteenth century painting by an unknown master:

To understand the basis of these various images, here is Song of Solomon inclusive of 4:12 through 5:1:

My sister, my spouse, is a garden enclosed, a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed up. Thy plants are a paradise of pomegranates with the fruits of the orchard. Cypress with spikenard. Spikenard and saffron, sweet cane and cinnamon, with all the trees of Libanus, myrrh and aloes with all the chief perfumes. The fountain of gardens: the well of living waters, which run with a strong stream from Libanus. Arise, O north wind, and come, O south wind, blow through my garden, and let the aromatical spices thereof flow. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat the fruit of his apple trees. I am come into my garden, O my sister, my spouse, I have gathered my myrrh, with my aromatical spices: I have eaten the honeycomb with my honey, I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends, and drink, and be inebriated, my dearly beloved.
These images of a fruitful, enclosed gardens, put me to mind of a certain type of floriated vestments generally, but the green versions in particular; vestments that are comprised of designs that includes flowers and often various fruits as well.  Whether such symbolism is or was purposeful or purely accidental, there is certainly a catechetical point that can be made here. Namely of how designs such as these can serve also as images of the Garden of Eden, or also of fruitfulness and purity. 

The following are some examples of chasubles of this sort, taken from the eighteenth through twentieth centuries. 

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