Overall: 154.3 x 374.5 cm (60 3/4 x 147 7/16 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1948.352
When lit from behind, the previously hidden details emerge and the complex design becomes evident.
This large, embroidered altar cloth is one of the rarest, most important medieval church furnishings in existence. It was stitched by nuns in the Premonstratensian Convent in Altenberg on the Lahn River, north of Frankfurt, Germany, and was used to cover the church’s high altar in the weeks
leading up to Easter. The cloth is an example of linen embroidery, a specialty of German nuns in the later Middle Ages.
The Altenberg monastery church once had valuable furnishings; the high altar retable (a decorated frame with sculptures and paintings on the top of an altar) has survived, the main parts of which are now in the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, Germany.
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