The Art of Altar Missal Ribbons

A forgotten liturgical art related to bookbinding is the art of the ribbon.  Over the years I have noticed a wide variety of ribbons used in altar missals the world over.  My favorite are the ribbons of the immediate preconciliar period that came from Belgium.  Following are several examples from the first half of the twentieth century.  While the ribbons of yesteryear were generally made of pure silk, unfortunately today synthetic materials are more commonly seen.  While the art of beautiful ribbons is making a slow comeback, it is at least moving in the right direction.  A solid pure silk ribbon of average quality should hold up for many years. While there are countless examples we have all seen, below are a few images. 

Below are missal ribbons available from Gammarelli in Rome. They are hand-made in Italy in braid in several colors. Standard lengths available are 11.8 and 17.7 inches. Other measurements can be realized on request. To purchase online, click here


If you enjoy John Sonnen's content on LAJ,  why not make a donation to him? You can choose the amount and it goes directly to him.

Why not also consider subscribing monthly/yearly to Liturgical Arts Journal? Choose the amount for yourself. Your support of LAJ and its writers makes all the difference.

Join in the conversation on our Facebook page.