Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Hildesheim Part 2: Taking Photos in the Cathedral Museum

On Monday April 18 (my dear old Dad's 61st birthday) I returned to Hildesheim to meet the director of the Dommuseum (Cathedral Museum) and to photograph a few of their textiles.  You will recall I had already been to Hildesheim once (blog here).  This time, I arrived early and talked with the museum director and staff for a bit about my research, and then got to work photographing.  This was my first on-site work with the new bellows and enlarging lenses, so I was excited to get started!

I spent the day photographing three main textiles.  First was a skull reliquary from around 1450-1500.  Through what look like eye holes in the head covering, we see bits of skull exposed.  The rich velvet, gauzy veil, and bedazzled headpiece were totally cool and a blast to photograph!

Skull reliquary, ca. 1450-1500. (taken with bellows and 105mm lens)
(taken with bellows and 105mm lens)
Love the shimmering leaf in this one! (taken with bellows and 60mm enlarging lens)
These metal threads are some of my favorite things to photograph! (taken with bellows and 60mm enlarging lens)
Then I looked at a linen embroidery with kings, queens, and prophets from about 1400.  It is only generally attributed to having been produced in Lower Saxony with no more specific origins, and it is unclear what it might have been used for because it is sort of a strange size and shape.  The long, thin cloth was clearly meant to hang over something, because the orientation of the images is split in the center.  Interestingly, this textile illustrates a common theme I have found in that the black threads are the first to disintegrate.  The dyes used to produced black thread were especially aggressive and cause the threads to deteriorate before the other colors.

Kings, Queens, and Prophets Embroidery, ca. 1400.  Front and Back.

(taken with bellows and 60mm enlarging lens)
(taken with bellows and 105mm lens)
The last item on the agenda was a large embroidery depicted scenes from the life and martyrdom of Saint Margaret of Antioch, also made around the year 1400 somewhere in Lower Saxony.  It is embroidered in silk and linen on a linen ground cloth.  This textile was likely used as an antependium, which is the cloth that hangs in front of the altar.  The most famous tale from Saint Margaret's life is that she was eaten by a dragon, but was able to escape from his stomach when the cross she carried caused the dragon to either spit her out or to split in half (depending on whose writing the story).  Here is Margaret's Wikipedia page (link) if you're interested.

Life of St. Margaret Antependium, ca. 1400
Saint Margaret and the Dragon (taken with bellows and 105mm lens)
Detail of Dragon's Fire (taken with bellows and 60mm enlarging lens)

Stay tuned as I try to catch up on all of my adventures that I haven't written about yet!

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