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Chalice cover

Chalice cover

  • Place of origin:

    Guangzhou (made)

  • Date:

    18th century-early 19th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embroidered silk satin, silk lining

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Lord and Lady Cowdray

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This textile accessory was originally a chalice cover, part of the liturgical textiles used during the Roman Catholic Mass. The cover was used to cover the chalice (used to hold the wine to be consecrated during the rite of the Mass) when it is carried to and from the altar, to prevent dust or insects from falling into the chalice. The cream based silk indicates that this chalice cover was intended for use on the feast day of a Saint who was not martyred.

Although the Christian religion was not native to China, by the eighteenth century there was some missionary presence there. Embroidered silk vestments and liturgical textiles were made in China, not only to supply the requirements of the churches in China, but also frequently exported to Europe and other new mission posts such as the Philippines.

There is a possibility that this chalice cover may have been altered and adopted for other uses than its original: the blue braid is clumsily attached across the original embroidered border, and the brightly printed lining is from a different era than the embroidered original, and somewhat uncharacteristic of the normally sober nature of liturgical textiles.

Physical description

Chalice cover of ivory satin embroidered with silk in shades of rust, green, yellow, blue, pink and beige, using satin, long and short and elongated stem stitch.

In the centre is a solidly worked cruciform shape, crossed by two stylised spears. Slender, gently coiling stems rise inwards from each corner to cover the ground with widely spaced leaves and flowers.

The narrow border, containing leaves and flowers, is almost entirely hidden by a modern braid and the original, very worn, silk lining has been covered by a later, watered silk.

Place of Origin

Guangzhou (made)


18th century-early 19th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Embroidered silk satin, silk lining

Marks and inscriptions

'Dunecht 948'
Written on label, added at later date.


Length: 58 cm, Width: 54 cm, Length: 23 in, Width: 21 in

Descriptive line

Embroidered chalice cover of silk satin, Guangzhou, 18th century-early 19th century

Subjects depicted

Flowers; Cross


Ecclesiastical textiles; Embroidery; Textiles; Religion


East Asia Collection

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