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Procurator’s Velvet Stole

Procurator’s Velvet Stole

c. 1575- 1600

Dyed silk; velvet in two heights of cut pile (pile on pile, alto e basso), woven as two stole widths

Overall: 142.2 x 69.9 cm (56 x 27 1/2 in.)

Bequest of John L. Severance 1942.829

Description

Venetian law obliged senators to wear colored textiles, in contrast to other male citizens, who wore black. The Procurator, a very high level government official, was required to wear a red stole, a cloth worn over one shoulder. So that it would read the same from front and back, the pattern reverses halfway, done by the weaver’s assistant on a drawloom. The line down the center is part of the original manufacture, enabling two stoles to be cut apart for use. The survival of an entire, uncut loom width is extremely rare. The velvet has two different heights of cut pile. The longer pile, which appears lighter, forms the pattern.

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