Cardinal (1)


The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum

This figure is one of a set of 50 dressed to represent the outfits worn by Catholic religious orders. They are made of tow (hemp) with wax heads, hands and feet. They were probably made in France, as they are labelled in French, but some of the orders represented were only active in Germany and the Netherlands.

This figure represents a Cardinal, a senior official of the Catholic Church. The cardinals wear a scarlet tunic, white embroidered and/or lace trimmed rochet, a mozzetta (cape), and a wide-brimmed hat called a galero. Until 1965 the Pope would present new cardinals with a galero when he named them; it has now been replaced by a scarlet biretta. The colour symbolises the cardinal's willingness to die for his faith. The figure also carries a crozier, a staff of office carried by high-ranking members of the clergy. It is shaped like a shepherd's crook in reference to the bearer's role as a metaphorical 'shepherd of the flock of God'.

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  • Title: Cardinal (1)
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1800/1850
  • Location: France
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 31 cm including stand
  • Provenance: Given by Mr. G. Smith
  • Medium: Figure made of tow and wax, dressed in linen and woollen materials.

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