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Danielle B. Joyner

From the time John Cassian established the first female foundation in Marseille in ad 410, monastic women lived in varying states of enclosure and were surrounded by diverse images and objects that contributed to their devotion, education and livelihood. The first rule for women, written in 512 by St Caesarius of Arles, emphasized their strict separation from men and the world, as did the Periculoso, a directive issued by Pope Boniface VIII (reg 1294–1303) in 1298. Various architectural solutions developed throughout the Middle Ages to reconcile the necessities of enclosure with the access required by male clerics to celebrate Mass and provide pastoral care. Nuns’ choirs, where the women would gather for their daily prayers, were often constructed as discreet spaces in the church, which allowed women to hear or see the Mass without interacting with the cleric, as in the 10th-century choir in the eastern transept gallery at St Cyriakus in Gernrode, Germany. In some Cistercian examples, the nuns’ choir appeared at the west end of the nave. Dominican and Franciscan architecture was largely varied. Double monasteries, which housed men and women, also required careful construction. A 7th-century text describing the church of St Brigida in ...

Article

Pamela A. Patton

Embroidered textile (Girona, Cathedral; see Girona §1) produced in Catalonia c. 1100. Although popularly labelled a tapestry, it is in fact a monumental embroidery in wool and linen on fine wool twill. It might have been produced for the cathedral following its consecration in 1038, since the cathedral is known to have possessed a number of textiles as early as 1053. Although a 16th-century reference to a hanging depicting the Emperor Constantine is sometimes taken to allude to this work, it is not otherwise documented before the end of the 19th century.

While the lack of comparable textiles leaves the date of the work uncertain, both pictorial style and the forms used in the inscriptions support a date in the late 11th or very early 12th century. In its present state, it takes the form of a substantial fragment, approximately 3.65m×4.70m, of an original perhaps 5 m sq. Today, it lacks a narrow strip along its right edge and over a metre of its lower section. The wool used predominantly in its embroidery was dyed a wide range of colours, including greens, blues, red, beige, black and various earth tones; bleached linen or hemp is also evident. Self-couching and stem stitch combine to cover the base material completely and create a tapestry-like appearance....