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Christmas 2018: Paraments – Liturgical Textiles Issue number
Date of issue
Face value
0.65 €
Sell price
0.65 €

The theme used for the postage stamp represents a rare textile artefact used in liturgical services in the Roman Catholic Church – a chasuble, i.e. the top liturgical vestment of the priest leading mass. It is the property of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spiš in Spišské Podhradie and was manufactured around middle of 15th Century.
In Slovakia, this chasuble represents a rare example of the use of luxurious Italian silk velvet fabric, in this case cut and embossed velvet interwoven with metal threads. The chasuble is also extraordinary thanks to its embroidered dorsal cross. Despite the reduction, the embroidery is a rare example of the use of a split stitch needle painting technique. The use of this stitch makes it possible to date the embroidery to the mid-15th century. The embroidery was possibly made in the present-day Slovakia or in the broader central European area. Besides the alteration of stitches made with colourful silk threads, the modelling of the shapes of the figures and emphasis of accessories is also completed by the use of metal threads applied in several parts of the scenes.
In the central part of the cross, there is a Madonna of the apocalyptic type “Virgo in sole” – Woman clothed in the sun. Beneath the figure of the Madonna, there is a saint - bishop (St. Nicholas?) and another male figure is at the bottom. However, one can see only the head and part of the attribute – an X-shaped cross, which allows the bottom figure to be identified as St. Andrew. The arms of the dorsal cross contain the heads of female saints. These are St. Dorothy (with a basket) and St. Apollonia (with tongs) and they are both depicted in two variations of a single motif. Mirrored half-figures (originally whole), which were adjusted during the restoration of the chasuble into the desired shapes, differ only in the details, e.g. the colour of the halo (green on the left and red on the right).  

Eva Hasalová  

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