Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Treasure of Halberstadt IV - the Pannisellus

Delving deeper into the Treasure of Halberstadt Cathedral (for previous parts of the series click on the "Halberstadt Cathedral" label at the bottom of the post, or here), we find this cope which belongs to the most magnificent late Gothic set of Halberstadt (you can see part of the chasuble to the left). They are made of black and gold velvet brocade probably woven in Florence and made for Bishop Ernest of Saxony (you can see the arms of the prince-bishopric ["Hochstift"] of Halberstadt and of Saxony at the bottom of the cope) who may have worn cope and chasuble (there are also two dalmatics) for the final consecration of the cathedral in 1491. The shield of the cope depicts in (unfortunately damaged) relief embroidery a rather unusual theme for this place: the noli me tangere.

As always, click on the pictures to see larger versions.

Here is another picture of the cope I found on the web:

And now we have an example of a rather rare piece of liturgical vesture: the pannisellus, velum or sudarium. This is a light piece of cloth (pannus) attached to the nodus of the crosier beneath the crook which the bishop originally used to wipe of the sweat (sudor) and which also protects the metal of the crosier from the sweat of the bishop's hand. This pannisellus made from cotton crepe is extraordinarily richly decorated in pearl embroidery; it is from the first half of the 14th century.

Another example of the pannisellus, also from Halberstadt, can be seen in the following picture to the left,

While the pannisellus originally was worn by bishops and abbots alike, it is today most often encountered in the coats of arms of abbots. However, some abbots still actually wear it, as for instance the abbot of Heiligenkreuz in Austria:

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