About This Artwork

Iran (Persia, Tabriz)

Chasuble, Late 13th/14th century

Silk, plain weave with twill interlacings of secondary binding warps and gilt-animal-substrate-wrapped silk supplementary facing wefts; supplementary pile warps forming cut voided velvet; edged with gilt-metal-strip-wrapped silk, bobbin-made tape; lined with silk, plain weave
107.5 x 70.6 cm (42 1/4 x 27 7/8 in.)
Repeat: 3.2 x 3.2 cm (1 1/4 x 1 1/4 in.)

Gift of Martin A. Ryerson, 1911.202

This chasuble, a Western church vestment worn by bishops and priests during Mass, is made from red velvet patterned with staggered rows of gold disks and is a prime example of cultural exchange between the Middle East and the West. It is one of about 30 surviving pieces with this pattern, most of which are fragments. Papal and Italian church inventories establish that such fabrics were woven in the late 13th and 14th centuries. Long associated with Spain or Italy, this fabric has more recently been attributed to the eastern Islamic world, specifically Tabriz in northwestern Iran. The attribution is based on technical characteristics, inventory descriptions, and Tabriz's fame as a center for luxury textiles.

Gallery label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

The Art Institute of Chicago, Raiment for the Lord's Service: A Thousand Years of Western Vestments, November 15, 1975–January 18, 1976

The Art Institute of Chicago, The Antiquarian Society of The Art Institute of Chicago: The First One Hundred Years, April 23–June 19, 1977

The Art Institute of Chicago, Agnes Allerton Gallery, Sumptuous Velvets from the Permanent Collection, March 1–September 28, 1980

The Art Institute of Chicago, Agnes Allerton Gallery, Vestments and Liturgical Textiles from the Permanent Collection, July 27–October 9, 1983

The Art Institute of Chicago, Department of European Decorative Arts, Gunsaulus Hall, European Textile Masterpieces from Coptic Times through the 19th Century (in conjunction with), September 27, 1989–January 22, 1990

The Art Institute of Chicago, Department of European Decorative Arts, A Birthday Celebration: 100 Years of Antiquarian Society Textile Collecting 1890–1990 (in conjunction with), September 11–February 19, 1992

The Art Institute of Chicago, Elizabeth F. Cheney and Agnes Allerton Textile Galleries, Gloria in Excelsis Deo: Heralding a Vestment Collection, September 11, 1996–January 12, 1997

The Art Institute of Chicago, Gallery 50A, Islamic Galleries, Asian Art Department, November 14,2014- February 27, 2015

Publication History

Bulletin of The Art Institute of Chicago, vol. VI, no. 1 (July 1912), p. 11 (illus.).

Christa C. Mayer Thurman. Raiment for the Lord's Service: A Thousand Years of Western Vestments(Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, 1975), p. 130 (illus.), no. 44.

John W. Keefe. The Antiquarian Society of The Art Institute of Chicago, The First One Hundred Years (Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, 1977), p. 130 (illus.), no. 44.




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