Each of the Hose is essentially made out of a single piece of red samite
in the shape of pontifical stockings. Only the toe has been sewn on
separately. The Hose are decorated with gold wire embroidery, with the
fine wires of pure gold couched to the fabric with silk threads. They create
a pattern of overlapping quatrefoils, at the centre of which are small fourpointed flowers or stars. The pattern covers the entire stocking like a net,
except for the heel and toe. In places where the gold wire has fallen out,
the dark preliminary drawing for the embroidery design can be seen.
A green silk band in tapestry technique has been sewn to the upper edge
of the Hose. There is an inscription in Arabic Thuluth script on gold leaf
attached with white and red silk threads. It states that the Hose were
made for King William (= William II of Sicily, reigned 1166–1189).
The inventory of 1246 lists “two scarlet stockings”, which may refer to the
Hose. The red silk ribbons to secure the Hose date from the 19th century.
© Masterpieces of the Secular Treasury, Edited by Wilfried Seipel, Vienna 2008