Papal Vestments and Regalia

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Papal Glove and Ring
Introduction
The regalia of the Pope on his coronation were to impress upon the communicants the manifestation of God’s splendor incarnatus in the person of his representative on earth. Although the earliest priests dressed simply, over time a grand elaboration evolved, especially at the highest levels of the clergy. Every aspect was symbolic. Over the centuries, popes commissioned many versions of vestments and regalia to be consistent with their views of simplicity or ornamentation. Many were destroyed or stolen during difficult times.

Sculptor and historian George Stuart creates his highly detailed Historical Figures in one quarter life size.
The Borgia Historical Figures (R) are from collections of the Museum of Ventura County and George Stuart.

Alexander VI Full Regalia 1492





Reference Sources
The Historical Figure of Alexander VI was extrapolated from his images in Pinturicchio’s paintings in the Borgia apartment in the Vatican Palace, a portrait in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence and a bust of him from life in the Berlin Museum, and from other sources. As newly crowned Pope, he would show himself clothed very much as you see him here. These vestments would be changed often, as function and office required.






Papal Tiara
The Papal Tiara, triple crown tiara or triregnum was a primary symbol only of the Pope. Origins of the three crowns vary, but as the Trinity is held as the most significant aspect of the Roman Catholic faith, this could be its meaning. There are others.
Alexander VI in Regalia






The Orb and Cross
Atop the tiara, the orb and cross finial represents God’s rule over the world.
The Finial
Papal Tiara and Coif





The Coif
Under the Tiara is a white, close fitting cap, or more properly a coif. This was a standard article of dress for men. The cap kept the head warm and was often tied under the chin. It held the hair in place when heavier headgear was employed. And, as priests were tonsured, it served as protection against the elements as well.





The Cope and Vestal Hood
On the Back of the cope is the vestal hood. The origin of the cope was a Roman semicircular robe with a hood attached. Early Christians used this garment and gradually church leaders adopted it for ceremony and enhanced its decoration. The hood, no longer of practical purpose, was retained as a reminder of the garments humble origins.


Cope of Vestments
Decorative Border of the Mantum





The Orphrey, Surpice and Stole
The decorative border of the cope or mantum is called the orphrey. In this case, it is a hagiography of the saints depicted with embroidery, jewels and embellishments. The cope is worn over a plain surpice, which has over it the stole, which is also encrusted with images and gold work.






The Cope or Mantum, and Morse
The cope and the more elaborate mantum used as elaborate clasp, called a morse to hold it together across the chest. It is often heavily ornamented with gold and gems.
The Morse, Clasp
Papal Glove and Ring





The Papal Ring and Glove
During the Renaissance, it was fashionable to cut a slit in the third finger of the right glove to expose the Episcopal Ring. These rings symbolized a marriage to the Church and were given at consecration. Early papal rings were set with a precious stone. The name given at consecration was engraved on the mounting. It is traditional for communicants to kiss the pope’s ring in salute.






Hagiography

The images are of saints, are called hagiography and are painted on sheets of silk covered in gold leaf and set in gold bullion couching and large paste stones.
Hagiography 1

Hagiography 2

Alexander VI in Mitre





The Mitre and Pectoral Cross

Here Alexander VI (1494) is shown at a ceremony wearing a mitre. The origins of the mitre in its recognizable form go back to the 13th century. Again, it has become ceremonial headgear for high clergy, loosely representing the wearer’s fealty to Rome and a secular as well as spiritual authority.

The pectoral cross hangs below the embroidered morse . Crosses from the simplest to the most ornamental were always part of the clerical dress. Just above the morse is a ‘C’-shaped band. This is the top of the amice, a large, plain napkin with a stiffened collar, which is tied around the neck to prevent chaffing by the edge of the cope. This image is missing the stole, which was unfinished when the photography was taken.







Mitre, Cope and Lapplets

The back of the cope worn by Alexander VI shows the vestigial hood embroidered with the papal crest. The lappets going over the edge of the cope are now decorative remnants, but in earlier centuries were possibly ties to hold the mitre or tiara in place.
Cope of Alexander VI Full Regalia 1492
Alexander VI Full Regalia 1494






A Global Dispute
In 1493, a dispute between Spain and Portugal arose as to which kingdom owned what part of the Americas then being discovered. It fell to Pope to decide who owned what.





The Line in the Sand
The story is that the pope had a map of the known world laid out in sand on the floor at the Vatican, and with a specially designed silver sword he drew a line down the center, thus separating the new lands of the Spanish and the Portuguese. Later, in 1494 the division was refined and codified in the Treaty of Tordesillas and announced in a papal bull.
Sword of Alexander VI
Ornate Cross





Ornate Cross or Crucifix
From time immemorial, bishops have carried a staff called a crozier, while popes always carried some form of a croix of crucifix. Alexander VI is shown with two styles of crosses. One shows the cross with equal, but very ornamental arms, all set with gold and stones - very popular in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Alexander VI with Simple Cross





Simple Cross, Uneven Arms
This cross is elegant and simple with three transoms or cross bars of different lengths.





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