The Alba is a garment with a complicated history. While the precious trimming can be dated to the 12th century, the white silk dates from the 18th century. The square yoke as well as the small additions on the cuffs are alterations that were probably made under Frederick II shortly before 1220. All the trimming is decorated with hammered gold embroidery and lines of pearls. The ornamental bands on the upper arms, the cuffs and the front border on the hem are made of dark-violet velvet. Rows of pearls have been used to create medallions in which griffons and lions are embroidered in gold wire. On the borders on the hem are Latin and Arabic inscriptions indicating that the garment was made in Palermo in 1181 on a commission from King William II of Sicily. Between the various layers of lining, there are the remains of what may be the original fabric, which was not removed during refurbishing but rather preserved like a relic and covered with new fabric. There are inscriptions beneath the bands on the upper arms and one of the cuffs that name the embroiderers who were involved in refurbishing the garment. Formally the Alba is not comparable with albs intended for liturgical use. Originally it was an outer garment, similar to that worn by a Byzantine basileus (king), who wore it with a loros (stole). It is thus possible that the precious trimming was originally on a red garment (red being the colour of the basileus), because in these matters the Sicilian kings imitated the court in Byzantium. The garment was probably adapted to create the Alba for the coronation of Frederick II. It would have been girded around the middle with the Cingulum (Inv. No. SK_WS_XIII_10) and worn under the Coronation Mantle (Inv. No. SK_WS_XIII_14).
Textil; liturgisches Gewand; Krönungsornat
1181 mit späteren Ergänzungen
Textil; Seide, Golddrahtstickerei, Perlen, Smaragde, Saphire, Amethyst, Spinell, Granat, Opal, Brettchengewebe
H. 154 cm, B. 127 cm
"+OPERATV(M) FELICI VRBE PANORMI XV. ANNO D(OMI)NI W(ILLELMI) D(E)I GR(ATIA) REGIS SICILIE DVCAT(VS) APVLIE ET PRINCIPAT(VS) CAP(VE) FILII REGIS W(ILLELMI) INDICTIO(N)E XIIII."; arabische Tulut-Schrift (Übersetzung s. Kat. Schatzkammer 1987)
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Weltliche Schatzkammer
Schatzkammer, WS XIII 7
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