Sunday 4 January 2015

On the tenth day of Christmas, ARCAT stored for me…

...ten ’broidered vestments,

Textiles Special Collection, TX.01, TX.06, TX.101, TX.50, TX.09. TX.121, TX.49, TX.122, TX.04, TX.95

Embroidery refers to thread or yarn stitched to fabric for decoration. Historically, liturgical vestments were richly embroidered by hand to emphasize the solemnity of the garments' purpose.  In our collection, we have a variety of textiles with embroidery ranging from weighty metallic thread to fine, machine-made details.  

In this selection are four chasubles (gold, white, purple and red), the liturgical garment worn by the celebrating priest. All of these are examples of the "fiddleback" style. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, chasubles were heavily lined and stiffened to support the heavy embroidery. Therefore, in order to allow for better range of arm motion, the front sides were cut away, forming a fiddleback shape. 

Other embroidered vestments include:
  • a humeral veil, worn for holding the monstrance during the Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament;
  • liturgical gloves (also called episcopal or ceremonial gloves), which are reserved for bishops. They are worn only at Pontifical Mass, and then only to the washing of the hands before the Sacrifice;
  • an unusual grey-coloured stole, presumably for funerals;
  • an alb, the garment worn under the chasuble or dalmatic, with embroidered cuff details;
  • a green dalmatic, the sleeved tunic worn by celebrating deacons;
  • a gold mitre that belonged to Cardinal Carter.

nine document seals,

eight spir’tual bouquets,

seven papal bulls,

six pairs of buskins,

five golden rings,

four photographs,

three mitres,

two maniples,

and a pen used to vote at Conclave.

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