Fragmentary Chasuble with Woven Orphrey Band

Fragmentary Chasuble with Woven Orphrey Band

1300s

Silk and gold thread, lampas weave; embroidered orphrey

Overall: 106.7 x 68.6 cm (42 x 27 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1928.653

Description

The second half of the 14th century was one of the great periods of Italian silk design. Drawing upon Chinese and Islamic as well as European motifs, designers created international designs of beauty and drama. This rare, fragmentary chasuble displays a Chinese phoenix with outstretched wings flying toward a group of pseudo-Arabic letters while a dog snarls at the bird. Arabic script was associated with the Holy Land. Although generally decorative rather than legible, it was incorporated in Italian silk patterns during the 1300s and 1400s and in paintings frequently decorating the border of the Virgin’s mantle and occasionally her halo.

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