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Medieval nuns recycled before recycling was cool


Monique Brianna | CC BY-SA 4.0

Zelda Caldwell - published on 10/18/17

Ancient parchment was found lining dresses made in a Cistercian convent.

When textile conservators set about examining dresses made by nuns in northern Germany in the late 15th century to clothe the convent’s statues on feast days, they were in for a surprise.

Lining each of the dresses were fragments of parchment recycled from liturgical manuscripts. Was there any special theological reason why these religious texts were hidden within the statues’ garments?

Apparently not. According to an account in The Conveyor, the parchment was used to “achieve drapery-like folds in the fur” and “stiffen the hems of the garments.”

Marie Docher | AltoPress | PhotoAlto

In a period of religious reform, the article goes on to say, the liturgical texts became outdated quickly, and were thus made available for lining dresses.

Read all about it here.

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