Monday, August 2, 2010
Modernist Monday - Art Nouveau Vestments
On one of my "sacristy raids" on Thursday I found something quite remarkable - Art Nouveau vestments! Since Art Nouveau was only really popular for a decade or two at the turn of the twentieth century, I feel fairly confident dating the set to that period. This set is also unusual because it is made of black silk. Black vestments can only be worn for somber occasions such as All Souls' Day and funerals. Most Catholic and Episcopal churches today don't use them, instead favoring white vestments that point to the Resurrection. Despite their dark coloring, the Art Nouveau vestments are full of signs of new life. Embroidered panels on the black damask and green orphreys feature butterflies, pomegranates, a peacock, and even a PHOENIX. The text at the bottom of a dalmatic (deacon's robe) reads "Requiescat in pace."
These are so rockin', I wish I could have them worn at my own funeral. Is that too morbid? Eh, these are too lovely to care about such things.
Update May 4, 2012. I feel quite honored that Shawn Tribe of the New Liturgical Movement blog linked to this post today. Welcome new visitors, and many thanks to the comment informing me about Arts and Crafts embroidery. If you are interested in my master's thesis research on Episcopal vestments, you can read more posts about it here.