Artist: Sophia, Hadewigis, and Lucardis

Date: second half 14th century

Culture: German

Medium: Linen embroidered with satin, chain, chevron, and Roumanian stitches

Dimensions: Overall: 47 1/2 x 156 in. (120.7 x 396.2 cm)
Storage (Rolled and boxed): 9 3/4 × 75 1/4 × 11 in. (24.8 × 191.1 × 27.9 cm)

Classification: Textiles-Embroidered

Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1929

Accession Number: 29.87


The Adoration of the Magi appears on one end of this exceptionally large, well-preserved altar covering from the convent of Altenberg, not far from Trier in Germany. Among other figures represented in richly textured embroidery are Christ as judge; Saint Elizabeth of Hungary and Thuringia, mother of a thirteenth-century abbess of Altenberg; and Saint Nicholas, patron saint of the convent. A monk in their company kneels on a coat of arms identified as that of Henricus de Cronenberg.

An inscription in Latin names the nuns who served as needleworkers—Sophia, Hadewigs, and Lucardis—and invokes Jesus with the prayer that their work be acceptable to him.