Great Mantle of St. Kunigunde

The Great Mantle of St. Kunigunde, early 11th century, Germany. The Great Mantle of St. Kunigunde, early 11th century, Germany.

The Great Mantle of St. Kunigunde is an eleventh century garment that is now in the Diocesan Museum, Bamberg, Germany. It is associated with Queen Kunigunde of Luxembourg (c. 975-1040), the wife of Heinrich II (973-1024), who became the Holy Roman Emperor in 1014. The mantle is said to have been given to Bamberg Cathedral by St. Kunigunde.

The Cathedral has several eleventh century embroidered garments, including one that is classed as the Cope of St. Kunigunde, which is not the same garment as the Great Mantle of St. Kunigunde.

The mantle is believed to have been made in southern Germany. It is about 3 m wide and 1.5 high and is made using a blue silk ground material in a twill weave. The main design on the mantle depicts scenes from the lives of Christ, St. Paul and St. Peter. In addition there are various inscriptions, including “O virgo virginum, quomodo fiet istud,” ('O Virgin of virgins, how shall this be?), which, according to Adam Cohen (p. 213), was often used in the early medieval period in Germany on religious garments associated with Christmas. So it is possible that this mantle was made for the specific function of celebrating one or more Christmas masses.

The embroidery used to decorate the Mantle includes couched gold thread on a blue twill ground, with details in stem stitch using coloured, floss silk thread.

The Great Mantle should not be confused with the Cope of St. Kunigunde, also held in the Diocesan Museum, Bamberg.


  • COHEN, Adam S. (2000). The Uta Codex: Art, Philosophy, and Reform in Eleventh-Century Germany, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University Press, p. 47, fn. 35 (on p. 213).
  • JUNG, Norbert, and Holger KEMPKENS (2014). Gekrönt auf Erden und im Himmel. Das heilige Kaiserpaar Heinrich II. und Kunigunde, Münsterschwarzach: Vier-Türme-Verlag, and Diözesanmuseum Bamberg.
  • SCHUETTE, Marie and Sigrid MULLER-CHRISTENSEN (1964). The Art of Embroidery, London: Thames and Hudson, pp. 29, figs. 29-30.

Digital source.

For the latest information on scientific research about the garment, click here (retrieved 26 March 2016).

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 12 June 2016).

See also the TRC blog for 11 June 2016.


Last modified on Sunday, 16 April 2017 19:29
More in this category: « Fayrey Pall Cope of St. Kunigunde »