Sep 12, 2011

Chasuble Back with Embroidered Orphrey Band

Chasuble Back with Embroidered Orphrey Band


Polychrome velvet: cut pile and voided; Embroidery: silk, gold and silver thread; split and couching stitches

Overall: 122.2 x 73.7 cm (48 1/8 x 29 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1950.85



The chasuble is the main sleeveless outer vestment worn by priests while officiating during Mass. By the 1400s, the chasuble became highly ornamented with embroidered decorative bands called orphreys, often in the shape of a cross, as seen here. This luxurious Italian example features velvet of three colors with lush pile. In Graz, Austria, it was embellished with a locally embroidered orphrey featuring crowns, haloes, and backgrounds of scenes formed with gold thread. The Virgin and Child, and Saints Catherine, Dorothy, Ursula, and Barbara are featured.

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