The fabrics used in churches always have special meanings, but you need to know how to unveil them, in order to understand it. This is why we’re going to tell you what hides behind the symbols you can see on the velvet above.

Peacocks and fountains in Italian fabric patterns

The order for this silk velvet, cut and uncut, probably came from the Vatican. So it is an ou-and-out church textile. What’s so churchly about it? Let’s see:

  • it has a yellow pattern in relief on a black field, with three series of pointed roundels;
  • each roundel can contain the papal symbol, a cross covered by a sheet or a crowned escutcheon bearing the motto SERVIRE MARIAE REGNARE EST;
  • on top of the roundels, there are two peacocks on either side of a fountain.
Velvet 3509 | Papal insignia | Tessitura Bevilacqua

A detail of the papal insignia

But let’s start from the papal insignia, the symbol of Saint Peter, the first pope, because Saint Peter was entrusted the keys to Heaven, whereas the tiara was the pope’s high hat.

Velvet 3509 | Cross with sheet | Tessitura Bevilacqua

A detail of the cross

The cross with the sheet, on the other hand, is probably a representation of Christ’s resurrection, whereas the writing on the shield, “to serve Mary is to reign”, is a quote from John of Damascus (676-749), Doctor of the Church.

Velvet 3509 | Escutcheon | Tessitura Bevilacqua

A detail with the escutcheon and the inscription

Lastly, the two peacocks and the fountain: in early Christian catacombs one can easily find two confronted peacocks drinking from the same pot, maybe containing bread and wine, which stand for immortality, since peacock’s meat would not decay. But there’s more: as a heraldic charge, the peacock is symbolic of humility, if its tail is closed and lowered, just like here. Moreover, the fountain represents goodness and wisdom, as well as being a reminder of baptismal water.

This is how symbols turn velvet into an out-and-out tale.

Velvet 3509 | Peacocks and fountain | Tessitura Bevilacqua

The two peacocks on either side of the fountain

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