Oriental Dalmatic

Unknown18th century (mid)

Museu de São Roque

Museu de São Roque
Lisboa, Portugal

This dalmatic, one of a pair, is part of a religious vestment worn for the celebration of mass, known as the Oriental Vestment. It comprises ten other pieces, namely - chasuble, chalice veil, burse, pair of stoles and three maniples – all made of the same textiles.
They are made from a fabric with exuberant decoration, afforded by the chromatic contrast of colour and the presence of gold thread, which fill the background of the composition. The decorative elements reflect the oriental botanical species such as the lotus flower, the chrysanthemum or thistle, the latter being quite uncharacteristic in the Chinese textile production.
The singularity of these oriental vestments is corroborated by the difficulty in finding similar examples in either Portuguese or foreign collections.


  • Title: Oriental Dalmatic
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: 18th century (mid)
  • Physical Dimensions: w78,5 x h116 cm
  • Provenance: Museu de São Roque/Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa
  • Type: Liturgical vestement
  • Rights: Museu de São Roque/Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa
  • External Link: Museu de São Roque/Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa
  • Medium: Taqueté embroidered with polychrome silk and gold wrapped thread, gallons woven with yellow silk and metal thread, fringes in metal thread , rose coloured linen lining
  • Manufactured: China
  • Function: The dalmatic is a liturgical vestment included in the group made up of amice, alb, cincture, maniple and stole, destined for the ecclesiastical category of the deacons of the Catholic Church. The dalmatic would have been called initially “levitonarium”, as it was used by Levites or deacons. Initially its shape consisted of a body and long sleeves, and with openings on the sides for comfort. In the Gothic times the openings prolonged to the armholes, having reached to complete side openings in the 16th century. The current shape was adopted in the 18th century.

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