This fifteenth-century Catholic chasuble from the northeastern shore of Italy is an incredible example of many different art forms. A chasuble is a part of the vestment, or ceremonial dress, of a Catholic priest worn during Mass. It is the top layer of the ensemble and is often ornate to celebrate the glory of God. Information about the specifics of the piece is sparse due to its age, but the time and expertise required to create this garment is obvious to anyone that sees it. The band that runs down the center of the piece is covered almost completely in embroidery. The particular method used for this embroidery is couching: a method in which one lays down pieces of thread in a pattern and sews another thread over them to hold them in place or couch them. This method is most commonly used for metallic threads, like the delicate gold threads that cover most of the embroidered band. This method also makes the beautiful painting-like use of the threads possible because it allows for more fluid, clean lines much more easily than other forms of embroidery.
Another equally impressive aspect of this piece that might be easily overlooked is the velvet. This gorgeous silk velvet has a design etched into the pile. In modern times, this effect is not often acknowledged as an art form because we use a process called devoré, or burnout. Devoré uses chemicals to burn the design into the velvet, which makes it relatively easy to create. The method used at the time that this garment was created involved cutting the pile in order to create a design. This method was long and painstaking, requiring a great deal of precision and expertise.