Length of fabric
late 17th–early 18th century
Object Place: possibly Italy
Height x width: 49 x 21 in. (124.5 x 53.3 cm)
Medium or Technique
Silk damask brocaded with silk and metallic-wrapped threads
Not On View
Green lace-patterned silk damask brocaded with silver metallic file and frise threads. Luxuriant design with central stylized floral and foliate sprays in silver metallic thread with outlines and details in oink, salmon, yellow, and green silk against figured green damask ground and enclosed in scrolled cartouches; borders densely patterned with silver and silk florals and foliage.
Elaborately patterned fabrics brocaded with silk and gold and silver metallic threads were the height of fashion in the late Baroque period. They were used to make women’s dresses and men’s waistcoats as well as ecclesiastical garments. The shape of this length of fabric indicates that it may have come from a chasuble, the outer vestment worn by a priest while serving mass. The glittering chasuble would have made an effective statement of the wealth and power of the church at the turn of the seventeenth century, its pure silver yarns, still free of tarnish today, flashing brilliantly at the candlelit altar.
Purchased by the MFA from Cora Ginsburg, New York City, April 26, 2006.
Frank B. Bemis Fund