Six-Color Chasuble Front with Animal Pattern

Six-Color Chasuble Front with Animal Pattern


Silk, polychrome velvet with cut pile

Overall: 80 x 57.8 cm (31 1/2 x 22 3/4 in.); Mounted: 86.4 x 63.5 cm (34 x 25 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1943.66



Few velvets were woven in Italy with as many as six colors of pile, such as this front panel from a chasuble. The chasuble is the main sleeveless outer vestment worn by priests while officiating during Mass. The resulting weave highlights a complex animal pattern in which deer appear behind a fence and peacocks flank a fountain above—an artistic fashion that emerged in the 1300s. This complicated weaving process was gradually abandoned during the 1400s in favor of monochrome floral patterns that were often embellished with gold.

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