The Coronation Mantle of Roger of Sicily

glorious red silk mantle covered with gold couching and silk embroidery

Siculo-Moorish Coronation Robe made for Roger of Sicily and dated 1133 CE

This amazing garment of red twill weave silk was made at Palermo, Sicily, in a Muslim textile workshop for the Coronation of the Norman King Roger II. The almost Central Asian style lions attacking camels, reminiscent of the art of the ancient Scyths, and the centrally placed Tree of Life, all typically Middle Eastern motifs, are embroidered in a mix of colored silks and masses of couched gold wrapped threads. Notice also the Kufic Arabic script along the curved bottom edge.

Roger founded the short-lived but culturally rich kingdom of Norman Sicily, where Christians, Muslims and Jews comfortably mingled cultures, arts, and trade. Because he allowed the often conflicting religions to live in harmony in Norman Sicily, Roger was suspected by some Europeans of being a secret Muslim.

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