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2606 Granby Street
Norfolk, VA 23517

Gold priest's cope hood with gold and silver stumpwork "Pelican in Her Piety" motif, French, c. late 19th century


A Catholic priest's cope hood in gold cloth with raised stumpwork gold metallic thread flowers, stumpwork "Pelican in her Piety" motif in silver, metallic gold thread fringe, and a gold metal clasp with red and green glass stones. Most likely French from the late 19th century.

Stumpwork of gold forms a wreath of roses and daisies, tied with a bow at the bottom. Silver stumpwork pelican sits in a sunburst. She pierces her breast, and small red blood drops feed three babies in a nest. The nest is a gold stumpwork ring lined with green chenille threads. Wings are worked with silver thread and sequins. Exterior edge is lined with cloth-of-gold ribbon with grapes and oak leaves, from which the gold metal threaded fringe extends. Cope hood is lined with thin purple fabric, either silk or a silk and cotton mix.

This is the part of the priest's vestment which covers the shoulders and the back, standing in place of a full hood on top of the long exterior robe called a cope. The gold vestment would have been worn on a high holiday, such as Easter Sunday. A pelican feeding her young is a symbol for sacrifice and the passion of Christ. It is a popular motif on priests' vestments.

In good to fair condition. The edges of the hem by the chain and clasp are undone a bit, most likely where it was detached from the original cope. Some closed fraying on both exterior shoulders in the gold cloth and in the cloth-of-gold ribbon. Some of the fringe is also frayed. Detail on the pelican motif show some minor wear but details are still clear. Measures 23 1/4 x 28 x 1 inches. Weighs 1 lb 6.25 oz.


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