The St. Wenceslas Chasuble from the Czech Republic

LAJ has shown a lot of violet vestments over the years, but perhaps none as unique as this one. The chasuble, which is referred to as the St. Wenceslas chasuble for reason that St. Wenceslas features prominently on the back of the chasuble, is dated to 1487 but I suspect it is solely the raised embroidery work that is from that period as the underlying purple silk seems to be of a much newer vintage. My suspicion is that the heavy, medieval style of embroidery (which seems to have been particularly popular in the Eastern European regions of the period) was likely re-purposed from an older vestment and re-applied on a newer base.  Certainly the floriated, embroidered elements that surround the figures of the angels, Virgin and St. Wenceslas, stylistically also point to those too likely belonging to a later period such as the seventeenth or eighteenth century. 

On the chasuble we see a scene of the Virgin Immaculate standing upon the crescent moon, rays of glory and light emanating from around her while two angels with beautifully coloured wings and flowing robes circle above her; between them we see an emanation of heavenly glory.  To one side of Virgin is a rather unique looking IHS Christogram, while on the other side is another symbol that is a bit mysterious but could be a heavily stylized form of the Marian monogram "M.R." (Maria Regina).  As already mentioned, beneath the Virgin are two more angels, again with beautifully coloured wings, hovering above an image of the figure of the Duke of Bohemia, St. Wenceslas, shown as he generally is wearing his armour and holding a shield and banner.  To either side of him are more inscriptions that remain a mystery, at least to me. It has the appearance of dating. 

The chasuble measures 90cm / 30.5in wide and 125cm / 49in long and has a rounded shape (which we tend to refer to here as "Austrian") that was commonly found in this region of the world. 


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