A Sicilian Missal Cover from the 1500's

What you are seeing is a beautiful specimen of a silver missal cover dated to the 1500's that was created in the workshops of Sicily. The design of this cover includes beautifully etched floriated designs, done in a kind of latticework that allows the underlying coloured missal cover to be seen in part, which adds further beauty to the overall design.

If you look closely, you will see that four winged cherubs are found along the borders of the front and back covers, as well as the arms of the likely benefactors of the cover. Most noteworthy, however, are the central designs found on the centre on the front and back, one of which depicts the Eucharistic symbol of the chalice and host, while the other appears to depict a female saint, possibly the Blessed Virgin. 

Covers such as these (or their textile equivalents) have, regrettably, become something of a rarity in our own age, lost to an era which tends to value utilitarianism and strict functionalism over ornamentation and beautification. 

However, one can see from this example how covers such as these would not only serve the protect the missal itself, it also served to further augment the sense of sacrality that was wrapped around each and every object tied to divine worship.

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