Chasuble, late 15th–early 16th century
Silk velvet; L. 46 in. (116.8 cm)
Gift of Ann Payne Blumenthal, 1941 (41.87)
Animal patterns in European velvets were rare during this period, which suggests that the unusual design of this polychrome silk velvet was a special commission and may depict the device of a particular family or individual. The unidentified birds facing each other (perhaps swans or herons) are skillfully detailed by fine lines of contrasting color. The silk pile of this chasuble is composed of fours colors: two shades of green, punctuated with a deep vivid pink and off-white. The white is almost completely gone—probably due to the corrosive effects of the bleaching process necessary to achieve this color.