Secular ceremonies and rituals

Secular ceremonies and rituals

The Robe of State, also known as Parliament Robe, is a long mantle worn by the British monarch when he/she enters Westminster Abbey for the coronation, and at the annual State Opening of Parliament. The garment, as worn by Elizabeth II, consists of an ermine cape with a long crimson velvet train (about 4.5 m in length), also lined with ermine. The train's top is decorated with two rows of gold lace and gold filigree work.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York houses a ceremonial banner from Lampung, southern Sumatra, Indonesia. It probably dates to the eighteenth century and measures 411.5 x 123.2 cm. It seems to be a palepai, the name for a large hanging that was displayed by the wealthy on important occasions. Such hangings often carried representations of large ships.

The Siwa oasis in Egypt has some very distinctive sartorial traditions, which include embroidered bridal dresses. A basic Siwa bridal dress takes the form of a large ‘T’ shape. It has long wide sleeves, with a ‘shoulder’ seam, which reach almost to the elbow.

Siwa is a large oasis in the Western Desert of Egypt, which has been occupied since at least the first millennium BC. Since the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries or earlier, the Swa or Ti-Swa people, a Berber group, have inhabited the oasis. Until the late twentieth century Siwa was one of the country’s most isolated settlements and over the centuries it developed a distinct culture.

Bridal trousers (srawelin khatem) form part of the distinctive outfit traditionally worn by brides in the Siwa oasis, Egypt. They are made of white or black cotton and very wide around the waist and hips. The lower part of each trouser leg are decorated with panels of embroidery. The embroidery yarns used to be floss silk, but by the late twentieth century a rayon imitation of pure silk, perlé cotton or cotton threads were used.

In the Siwa oasis, in the Western desert of Egypt, women used to wear two types of embroidered head and body coverings. The first type is a black bridal cover and is called a troket. The second is a large head and body covering worn by married women.

The Sternenmantel of Heinrich II is one of the oldest surviving European embroidered copes. Heinrich II (973-1024) had many titles and positions. He was the Duke of Bavaria (from 995), King of Germany (1002), King of Italy (1004) and eventually he became the Holy Roman Emperor (1014). He was married in 999 to Kunigunde (Cunigunde) of Luxembourg, who later became known as St. Kunigunde.

The Stole Royal is a liturgical vestment worn by British monarchs at their coronation. It is worn with the Supertunica (Robe Royal). A stole is a long, narrow length of cloth that is worn around the back of the neck, with the two ends hanging down parallel to each other in the front. The Stole Royal is normally embroidered with gold and silver thread and may be set with jewels and pearls.

The Supertunica, also called the Robe Royal, is a full-length, sleeved coat with a belt, made of gold silk cloth and with embroidery down the front opening. The Supertunica forms part of the coronation garments worn by British monarchs. The form of the Supertunica derives from one of the Christian ecclesiastical vestments, and is said to have been inspired by Byzantine garments.

The Cleveland Museum of Art houses a remarkable face veil for a bride from among the Tajiks in Central Asia. The veil includes a cotton netting in front of the eyes. The veil measures 76 x 76 cm and is made of silk and cotton. It dates to the (late) nineteenth century.

The British Museum in London houses a wedding shawl (abochhini) from the Thar desert or beyond, in southern Pakistan. It is made of cotton and decorated with silk thread embroidery (chain stitch) and shisha work. The shawl measures 255 x 135 cm. The object was acquired in 1984.

James II  (James VII in Scotland) was the son of the British king, Charles I (r: 1625-1649) and a brother of King Charles II (r: 1660-1685). He reigned from 1685-1688. James was married twice, first to Anne Hyde and then to Mary Beatrice d’Este (also known as Mary of Modena; 1658-1718). Queen Mary, wife of King Willem III, was his daughter with his first wife.

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