12th Century: So-called bag of King Stephen of Hungary

So-called bag of King Stephen of Hungary

Reliquary Pouch, Russian, 2nd half of the 11th / 12th century

Item link page at Vienna Art History Museum

Textile; Silk, linen, gold thread embroidery, silk embroidery, silver, gilded, topaz, pearls, garnets, glass stones / embroidered

H. 15.5 cm, W. 13.5 cm

Older tradition linked the origin of this richly embroidered bag to the person of the first Christian king of Hungary, Stephen (István) I (around 969 – 1038). According to current knowledge, the phonetic image and the orthography of the texts embroidered on the front and back in Cyrillic script indicate that textile work emerged in Russia after the middle of the 11th century, so that the bag was previously used at best to store relics from 1083 canonized ruler may have served. The actual function of the pocket-shaped container at the time of its creation has not yet been determined. An original liturgical purpose seems obvious due to the psalm texts embroidered on the back, which are known from the liturgy of the Greek rite. However, direct comparison examples are missing. The bag owes its outstanding position among the medieval works of the spiritual treasury to the fact that it is one of the oldest surviving monuments of Russian embroidery art. The front is entirely covered by gold embroidery, which encloses various medallions with colored figures in silk embroidery. Christ is enthroned in the middle, surrounded by the four archangels, a seraph and a cherub as well as Saints Basil and Nicholas. The back shows a red silk fabric into which a cross and the above-mentioned inscriptions are embroidered with gold and red, yellow and green silk. The overall effect of the embroidery, which corresponds to works of goldsmith or mosaic art, is of an exceptionally high level: there are almost 700 stitches on one square centimeter. This suggests that it was created in an important artistic center, such as one of the great Russian monasteries. The bag probably only received its current closure at the bottom edge with a metal rod and the large topaz attached, as well as the small cross made of garnets on top, in the 17th century.

Currently issued:Imperial Treasury ViennaRoom II

IMAGE RIGHTS Vienna Art History Museum, Spiritual Treasury

INV. NO. Treasury, GS Chapter 186

12th Century: Roger II Coronation Mantle

Mantle of Roger II of Sicily (detail) made in 1133, Kunsthistorische Museum, Vienna

12th Century: Crown of Constance of Aragon

Constance of Aragon was an Aragonese infanta who was by marriage firstly Queen of Hungary, and secondly Queen of Germany and Sicily and Holy Roman Empress. She was regent of Sicily from 1212–1220.

12th Century: Pearled Cushion

Pearled Cushion, Germany
Assuming 12th Century


12th Century Byzantine pearled decorative circle


12th Century: Roger II Dalmatic

Sicily, Palermo, Royal Workshop, 1130 – 1140, Period of King Roger II.
Viuenna, Weltliche Schatzkammer
Cuff: 21 cm wide.
Lower border: 21 cm wide

The robe has the shape of a tunicella with a narrow upper part, long sleeves that taper towards the edge and a skirt that expands towards the hem with side gussets.
Both the blue – with madder and Waid dyed – unbleached base fabric as well as the red, patterned trim of the hem and the cuffs is Samit (scratched silk). Above and below, the wide hem border is bounded by double pearl cords. Gold embroidery in sunk planting technique adorns this border with lilies and palmette shapes. The technical implementation of the embroidery is so close to that of the coronation mantle that one can assume a simultaneous emergence.
A special feature is the embroidery of the cuffs: pearl strings framing palmette motifs whose inner surfaces are filled with gold tubes, which were flattened after sewing. This technique is, as far as we know, unique. The lower edge of the cuffs are decorated with violin-shaped, densely juxtaposed appliqués with gathered cellular enamel, which are stylistically and technically so similar to the mounts on the coronation mantle that there is no doubt about a connection between the two garments.

The neckline of the robe is covered with a 3 cm wide Brettchenborte, which is contoured by means of individually sewn beads. This border is the same as it was sewed on the Alba.
For the first time clearly identifiable the robe appears as a “blue skirt” in a document of the year 1350, with the transfer of the treasury to Charles IV is confirmed, but may well in the mention of a “Rock of Samit” in the inventory of 1246 also already recognize the tunicella.
The tunicella was worn at the coronation under the Alba

Text From: http://www.khm.at/de/objektdb/detail/100470/

The dalmatic is of deep purple silk. The apparles illustrated, however, – a cuff and the lower border – are made of a silk material resembling that of the Coronation Mantle. The gold thread is underside couched, but on the cuff the gold is in the form of minute tubes with the couching thread passed through them. Pearls, gold plaques, enamels and filigree work. According to Fillitz the garment may belong to the same set of vestments as the Coronation Mantle.

Lit.: H. Fillitz, Die Insignien und Kleinodien des Heiligen Romischen Reiches. Vienna-Munich 1954, p. 58, Figs. 27, 28 – P. E. Schramm and F. Mutherich, Denkmale der deutschen Kinige und Kaiser, Munich 1962, p. 182, No. 181

Source: Schuette, Marie and Sigrid Muller-Christensen: Pictorial History of Embroidery ; NY: Frederick Praeger, 1964.

Deep Purple Silk Dalmatic of 1130-40
Cuff detail of the deep purple silk dalmatic of 1130-40 from the insignia of the Holy Roman Empire. It is a product of the royal workshops of Roger II in Palermo. Minute golden tubes fill the pearl motifs whilst the sumptuous effect is increased by the use of large coloured enamel motifs.

From: “Medieval Craftsmen: Embroiderers,” by Kay Staniland, University of Toronto Press, 1991, p. 46. ISBN: 0-8020-6915-0