A menagerie of embroidered animals adorns this work: hounds with red collars and flapping tongues, bears holding balls, birds beating their wings, and hares prancing on hind legs. Close observation reveals thin hammered strips of silver formed into ribbon designs and couched, or fastened, into place on the surface of the light green silk. The silver and gold embroidery was likely created for this garment’s original purpose as a piece of secular clothing. The naturalistic and playful motifs seen here were common in the early 1600s, especially in the English schools of embroidery. That fashionable article of clothing was later repurposed as a chasuble, a garment worn by a priest during Mass.
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