religious dress

religious dress

also called  vestment 

      any attire, accoutrements, and markings used in religious rituals (ceremonial object) that may be corporate, domestic, or personal in nature. Such dress may comprise types of coverings all the way from the highly symbolic (religious symbolism and iconography) and ornamented eucharistic (Holy Communion) vestments of Eastern Orthodox Christianity to tattooing, scarification, or body painting of members of primitive (preliterate) societies. Some types of religious dress may be used to distinguish the priestly from the lay members of a religious group, or they may also be used to signify various orders or ranks within a priesthood. Some religious communities may require that religious personages (e.g., priests, monks, nuns, shamans, priestesses, and others) garb themselves with appropriate types of religious dress at all times, whereas other religious communities may only request that religious dress be worn during rituals.

      In theocratic societies, such as Judaism and Islām, religious sanctions govern what may and may not be worn by members of the community; and religious dress embraces not only what is worn by a prayer leader but also what is worn by his congregation outside as well as inside a place of worship. In many traditions, habits serve to identify monastic (monasticism) groups. Indeed, in the latter case, the function of religious dress is more akin to heraldry as a form of symbolic identification than to liturgy, with its ritualistic symbolic motifs.

      In a more restricted sense, religious vestments articulate a liturgical language as part of a figurative idiom shared with other religious symbols—e.g., icons (images), statues, drama, music, and ritual. According to the richness of the liturgical or ritual vocabulary employed, the more feasibly can a symbology of vesture be attempted. This is especially the case with Eastern Orthodoxy, whose predilection for symbolical theology has spread from sacraments to sacramentals and everything associated with worship, including dress. With allegory paramount in the Middle Ages, the Western Church (Roman Catholicism) could not escape attributing symbolical values to garments whose origin may have owed little to symbolism. From the liturgical writer Amalarius of Metz in the 9th century to the theologian Durandus of Saint-Pourçain in the 13th–14th century sacerdotal vestments, in particular the stole and the chasuble, were viewed as symbols and indeed operated as such in a way that still influences current usage. Thus, because the stole is a yoke around the neck of the priest and he should rejoice in his servitude, on donning or doffing it he kisses the emblem of his servile status.

      The notion of dress as a substitute skin and, hence, as an acquired personality temporarily assumed has been widespread in primitive religion; such practices in shamanism have been widely observed in Arctic and Siberian regions. The use of a substitute skin in religious ritual is also explicit in the cultic actions of some advanced cultures, such as in the rite of the Aztec maize goddess Chicomecoátl (Chicomecóatl). A virgin chosen to represent Chicomecoátl, after having danced for 24 hours, was then sacrificed and flayed; and the celebrant, dressed in her skin, re-enacted the same ritual dance to identify with the victim, who was viewed as the goddess.

      Religious dress may also serve a memorial function, as in the case of the religious leaders (mullahs) of the Shīʿites (Shīʿite) (Muslim members of the party of ʿAlī), whose black gowns allude to the sufferings of Ḥusayn (Ḥusayn ibn ʿAlī, al-) (ʿAlī's son by Fāṭimah, Muḥammad's only surviving daughter), who was martyred at Karbalāʾ, in modern Iraq, in AD 680. In the Eucharist, which is both a thanksgiving and a reenactment of the sacrifice of Christ on Golgotha, the chasuble (outer garment) worn by the celebrant depicts scenes from the Passion on the orphrey, the name given to the elaborately embroidered strips stitched on the chasuble. The fringes on the Jewish prayer shawl witness to “the commandments of the Lord” in Numbers, chapter 15, and remind the worshipper that he has covenanted to observe them.

Types of dress and vestments in Western religions

Early sacerdotal dress
      Jewish vesture is an amalgam of very ancient and extremely modern religious dress. Originally, sacerdotal dress was probably varied and complex, but, after the destruction of the Second Temple (Jerusalem, Temple of) in AD 70 and the subsequent disappearance of the Temple offices, many garments associated with priestly functions passed into oblivion. Chief among these offices was that of the high priest. In addition to the usual Levitical garments (those of the priestly class), the high priest, while officiating, wore the meʿil (mantle), the ephod (an upper garment), a breastplate, and a headdress. The meʿil was a sleeveless robe of purple the lower hem of which had a fringe of small gold bells alternating with pomegranate tassels in red, scarlet, purple, and violet. The ephod—an object of much controversy—probably consisted of a wide band of material with a belt to secure it to the body, and it was worn over the other priestly garments. Most important was the breastplate (ḥoshen), which was square in outline and probably served as a pouch in which the divinatory devices of Urim and Thummim were kept. Exodus, chapter 28, verse 15, specifies that it was to be woven of golden and linen threads dyed blue, purple, and scarlet. Because of its oracular function, it was called the “breastpiece of judgment.” On the face of the breastplate were set 12 gems in four rows, symbolizing the 12 tribes of Israel. These stones were a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle in the first row; an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond in the second; a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst in the third; and a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper in the fourth. The identity, sequence, and objects of representation of these stones are matters of controversy. Worn over the ephod, the breastplate was slung from the shoulders of the wearer by golden attachments. On his head the high priest usually wore a mitzenfet (either a tiara or a turban), except on Yom Kippur (“Day of Atonement”), when he wore nothing but white linen garments upon entering the Holy of Holies (the inner sanctuary).

Later religious dress
      Later religious dress of Judaism after the fall of the Temple in AD 70 reflects usages that predate that event but were continued in Judaism at the synagogue. Included among such garments are tefillin (phylactery) (phylacteries) and tzitzit (fringes), which have certain features in common. The name phylacteries is sometimes thought to point to a prophylactic origin, but the term is actually a translation of the Hebrew word for “frontlets” (ṭoṭafot). Phylacteries are worn in obedience to the commandment found in Deuteronomy, chapter 11, verse 18, and Exodus, chapter 13, verses 9 and 16: “And you shall bind them [i.e., the words of God] as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.” This implies that there should be two phylacteries: one to be worn on the arm, the other on the head. Both kinds consist of a small black box of hide containing a manuscript and are secured to the respective parts of the body by leather thongs. On the sides of the head tefilla is the Hebrew letter U, the first letter of Shaddai (Almighty). Both boxes are secured by leather thongs. The practice can be dated at least as far back as the 3rd century BC. The knotted thongs indicate a prophylactic purpose—i.e., to protect the wearer against demons. Likewise, the wearer of these objects was, for the prayer's duration, under the protection of the Almighty, whose name he bore. The importance of knots in Semitic magic is also alluded to in the Qurʿān (the Islāmic scripture).

      Something similar obtains in the case of the tzitzit (fringes), or “twisted cords.” The wearing of fringes is in obedience to a commandment in Numbers, chapter 15, verses 38–40: “It shall be to you a tassel to look upon and remember all the commandments of the Lord, [and] to do them.” The fringes were attached to the outer garment with no attempt at or reason for concealment. Later, because of persecution, they became an inner garment, enabling the wearer to observe the Law clandestinely. This garment, which is not entirely obsolete, is styled arbaʿkanfot (arbaʿ kanfot) (“four corners”) in allusion to Deuteronomy, chapter 22, verse 12 (“you shall make yourself tassels on the four corners of your cloak with which you cover yourself”), although no literary reference to its use can be traced further back than the 14th century.

      The tallith, or prayer shawl (ṭallit), has the four fringes also, but it is confined to synagogal use and, even there, is limited to the morning service, whereas the arbaʿkanfot is worn all day. Both silk and wool are used, but the woollen tallith is preferable, with white as its ground colour. In the 20th century the tallith is worn like a scarf and is sometimes pulled over the head to aid in concentrating during prayer. Formerly, however, it was always wrapped around the head. In orthodox Judaism, the head is invariably covered during worship, usually by a skullcap known as a yarmulka or kappel.

      Because a Jewish male is not supposed to walk more than four cubits (six feet) with his head uncovered, a religious Jew will wear the skullcap clipped to his hair, and indeed he may wear it all day because he believes himself to be in the presence of God at all times.

      The dress of rabbis (rabbi) never conformed to precise standards. Current practice approximates modern Genevan (Protestant) conventions (gown and bands). The Jewish Reform (Reform Judaism) movement, which began in Germany, further emphasized the Protestant character of rabbinical dress, and Reform rabbis differ little in this respect from ministers of various Protestant churches. Both cantor (ḥazzan) and rabbi now use the black gown and round black hat, which came into use during the 19th century.

      On Yom Kippur, it was the custom for participants to wear a sargenes, or white garment, emphasizing that Yom Kippur was an occasion not only of repentance but also of grace, for which festal wear was appropriate. Emphasis on the atoning aspect of the occasion, however, led to the sargenes being interpreted as takhrikhim, or graveclothes, which are worn to aid the worshipper toward a mood of repentance, a practice also adopted by the ḥazzan on two other occasions and by the host at the seder (meal) on Passover (a feast celebrating the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt in the 13th century BC). Officiants at the Yom Kippur service still dress in white robes. Shrouds are normally of unadorned white linen, following the sumptuary ruling of the 1st-century-AD rabbi Gamaliel the Elder. To the shroud (death rite) may be added the tallith used by the deceased, but with the fringes removed or cut, because the prescription governing their use applies only to the living. Both liturgical vesture and everyday clothing must conform to the Mosaic requirement that forbids the combination of linen and wool in the same garment (see also Judaism).

      In the pre-Constantinian church (before the early 4th century), no distinctive liturgical dress was worn, and the Eucharist (Holy Communion) was celebrated by priests (priest) whose dress did not differ from that worn by lay members of their congregations. Present liturgical vestments in Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches derive from a common origin—i.e., the garments that were fashionable in the late Roman Empire. After the Schism of 1054, however, they each followed separate courses.

Roman Catholic religious dress
      A distinction is made between the insignia of ecclesiastical and sacerdotal office in the hierarchy and the functionally and symbolically significant liturgical robes. After the barbarian invasions of the Roman Empire from the 4th century on, fashions in secular dress changed, and thus the clergy became distinct in matters of dress from the laity. Certain robes indicate a position in the hierarchy; others correspond to function and may be worn by the same individual at different times. The most important vestment among the insignia is the stole, the emblem of sacerdotal status, the origin of which is the ancient pallium. The stole originally was a draped garment, then a folded one with the appearance of a scarf, and, finally, in the 4th century, a scarf. As a symbol of jurisdiction in the Roman Empire, the supreme pontiff (the pope (papacy), or bishop of Rome) conferred it upon archbishops and, later, upon bishops, as emblematic of their sharing in the papal authority.

      The distinctive garb of the liturgical celebrant is the chasuble, a vestment that goes back to the Roman paenula. The paenula also was the Orthodox equivalent of the chasuble, the phelonion, and perhaps also the cope (a long mantle-like vestment). In its primitive form the paenula was a cone-shaped dress with an opening at the apex to admit the head. Because ancient looms were not wide enough to make the complete garment, it was made in several parts sewn together with strips covering the seams. These strips, of contrasting material, developed into the orphrey (embroidery), on which much attention was later lavished. Next in the hierarchical order after the priesthood were the diaconate (deacon) and subdiaconate, whose characteristic vestments were, respectively, the dalmatic (dalmatica), a loose-fitting robe with open sides and wide sleeves, and the tunic (tunica), a loose gown. A priest wore all three, one over another. Under these he wore the alb (a long white vestment), held round the waist by a girdle, and around the neck the amice (a square or oblong, white linen cloth), with the maniple (originally a handkerchief) on the left arm. Although the deacon used a stole, the subdeacon did not. In the formative period of liturgical dress, these practices were in the process of becoming normative. During the 9th to the 13th century the norms now familiar were established. The chasuble became an exclusively eucharistic garment; the cope, excluded from the Eucharist, became an all-purpose festive garment.

 Next in importance to the chasuble is the cope, a garment not worn during the celebration of the mass but rather a processional vestment. It is worn by the celebrant for rites of a non-eucharistic character, such as the Asperges, a rite of sprinkling water on the faithful preceding the mass. The origins of the cope are not known for certain by liturgical scholars. According to one theory, it derives from the open-fronted paenula, just as the chasuble derives from the closed version of the same garment. (The subsequent wide divergence between the two vestments need not preclude a common origin.) Unlike the chasuble, the form of which has never stopped changing, the evolution of the cope was complete before the end of the Middle Ages. Cope chests, based on the quadrant of a circle and designed to preserve the embroidered surfaces by keeping the copes flat, were a common feature of medieval cathedrals. When it is worn, the two sides of the garment are held together by a morse (a metal clasp). The cope occupied an intermediate position between liturgical and nonliturgical vestments, the most important of which was the cassock (see photograph—>), the normal dress of the priesthood outside church ceremonies. When engaged in religious ceremonies, the officiant would wear the liturgical vestments over his cassock.

      The tiara, the papal diadem or crown apostolic, emerged in the early medieval period; and the mitre (the liturgical headdress of bishops and abbots), the most conspicuous of the episcopal insignia, began as a mark of favour accorded to certain bishops by the supreme pontiff at a somewhat later date.

      Like the cope, the surplice (a white outer robe) entered liturgical usage in the Middle Ages as a late modification of the alb. By the 14th century its present role as a choral or processional garment was established. With the passage of time, the length of the garment grew progressively shorter.

      The surplice was also associated with the monastic orders (monk), but vesture distinguished only the order and not the kind of order. Eremitical (hermitic) monasticism allowed no standard form of dress to develop, and only communal monasticism, beginning with the Rule of St. Benedict of Nursia in the 6th century, enabled standardization to become possible. Monastic dress included habit, girdle or belt, hood or cowl, and scapular (a long narrow cloth worn over the tunic). The salient characteristics of monastic dress have always been sobriety and conservatism. The orders proved even more retentive of archaic fashions than the hierarchy, and, in contrast to the deliberate splendour of ecclesiastical vestments, monastic dress was expressive of a renunciation of luxury. The contrast was functional in origin: the menial tasks of the monk related him sartorially to the peasant, whose humble avocations he often duplicated, rather than to the princes and prelates of the church, whose dress reflected the splendour of the ceremonies in which they engaged.

      Because of the diversity of the monastic orders, only a summary account of their vesture may be given. The Benedictine mantle was black, fastened with a leather belt; but the Cistercians (Cistercian)—reformed Benedictines—eschewed any dyed material and instead dressed in undyed woollen material, which was off-white in colour. In the course of time this became white, a tacit relaxation of the primitive austerity adopted as a protest against “luxury.” Carthusians (Carthusian), a contemplative order founded in the 11th century, likewise wore white. In the 13th century the mendicant orders (friars) emerged. The Franciscans (Franciscan), founded by St. Francis of Assisi, first used a gray habit, which in the 15th century was exchanged for a brown one; in spite of this change they continued to be known as the Grey Friars. The Carmelites (Carmelite), an order founded in the 12th century, became known as White Friars. Dominicans (Dominican), founded by St. Dominic from Spain, adhered from the beginning to a black robe over a white gown. Canons regular (communal religious persons living under vows), although ordained, lived like the orders under a rule, and the Augustinians (Augustinian) (several orders following the Rule of St. Augustine) are styled Black Canons in contradistinction to the Premonstratensians (Premonstratensian), or White Canons, an order founded by St. Norbert in the 12th century. Because the office (prescribed prayers) took up so much of a monk's time, his choir robes were almost as important as his day clothes. Surplices were worn in choir with an almuce over; this last was a lined shoulder cape designed to help the wearer resist the cold of medieval churches.

      Nuns' (nun) costumes were similar to those of monks, the chief difference consisting in the replacement of the hood by a wimple (collar and bib) and head veil. Habits are white or black or mixed, and this remained unaltered until the 17th century, when the Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul (Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul, Daughters of) introduced blue. This exception remained unique; nuns' habits retained a markedly medieval aspect until reformed by the second Vatican Council (1962–65).

      The cassock has its origin in the barbarian Caracalla, a robe favoured by the Roman emperor Bassianus (reigned 211–217), who came to be known as Caracalla because of the garment he habitually wore. Worn by the clergy as early as the 5th century, it became in time the standard day wear for prelates and priests, hierarchical rank being indicated by colour: bishops, archbishops, and other prelates wore purple; cardinals, red; the pope, white; and ordinary clergy, black (see also Roman Catholicism).

Eastern Orthodox religious dress
      The Middle Ages also witnessed the evolution of Eastern Orthodox vestments into approximately their present form. The eucharistic garment corresponding to the chasuble was the phelonion, with variant forms in the Greek and Russian churches. The sticharion, which is held by the zōnē, or girdle, corresponds to the alb. The cuffs, or epimanikia, which fit over the sticharion, bear little or no resemblance to the maniple. The epitrachēlion is the Orthodox equivalent of the stole, but it hangs straight instead of being crossed over the chest, as is the case with the stole in Western churches. On the deacon, the epitrachēlion is pinned to the left shoulder and hangs in front and behind; with this exception, the deacon's vesture is identical with the priest's. The bishop wears an omophorion, whose shape and manner of wearing are closer to the original pallium than either the stole or the epitrachēlion. In place of the phelonion, since the 16th century, the bishop uses a dalmatic known as the sakkos. The epigonation, or rhombus-shaped portion of silk hanging to below the right knee, is common both to bishops and archimandrites (head abbots).

      The monastic habit of the monk differs according to which of the three grades he occupies. The fully professed monk wears the great, or angelical, habit, which consists of the inner and outer rhasons, girdle, cowl (with veil), analvos, and mandyas (mantle). The inner rhason corresponds to the cassock and, like it, is used by the secular clergy. The outer rhason, a wide-sleeved garment, is black in the Greek Church but variable in colour in the Russian Church among the secular clergy (i.e., those who minister in parishes). The analvos (shaped like the Western scapular, although historically unconnected with it) differentiates the full, or perfect, monk from the other grades, and its substance must be of animal, nonvegetable origin to remind the wearer constantly of death. The mandyas is the bishop's cloak (for non-eucharistic occasions), and in the Russian Church its use is granted to monks of the intermediate grade, although this license does not obtain in the Greek Church. In neither church may the mandyas or analvos be worn by monks of the lowest grade. Unlike Western orders, Orthodox monks dress only in black, but they share the same sartorial conservatism, their habits having remained unchanged in essentials from medieval times to the present (see also Eastern Orthodoxy).

Protestant (Protestantism) religious dress
      The Reformation of the 16th century varied in intensity from one country to another, and the fate of liturgical vesture suffered accordingly. With the rejection of the dogma of transubstantiation (the Roman Catholic teaching that in the Eucharist the substance of the bread and wine is changed into the body and blood of Christ, with the properties of the bread and wine remaining the same), the use of the mass garments might have been expected to be eliminated, but, wherever an altered eucharistic doctrine survived, an attenuated liturgical vesture contrived to survive with it. In the case of the Anglican (Anglicanism) and Lutheran (Lutheranism) churches, a paradoxical situation emerged whereby, in the latter, pre-Reformation practices (e.g., use of crucifixes) survived alongside a Reformation theology, whereas, in Anglicanism, a Catholic theology survived along with a repudiation of Catholic rites. The Lutherans rejected the insignia of a celibate clergy but retained the chasuble for Communion services and the surplice and alb for other services.

      Bishops in both Lutheran and Anglican communions retained the cope. The different editions of The Book of Common Prayer (the Anglican liturgical book) attest to 16th-century reforms and the rising power of Puritanism, a 17th-century reform movement; the use of vestments declined in consequence. The cathedrals, however, maintained liturgical vestment standards to a certain degree, even when the last vestiges of liturgical propriety had been extinguished in the parishes in the 18th century. The cope became the High Church (liturgically oriented) vestment par excellence, worn by bishops not only processionally but even during Communion. Many views about the ceremonial revival of the 19th century have not in all respects been accurate; and followers of Edward Pusey, a leader of the Catholic revival known as the Oxford Movement, and ritualists sometimes blundered not from excess of archaeological zeal as has been commonly supposed but rather because they were inordinately influenced by their sociocultural environment. This may be less immediately obvious in the case of vesture than in architecture, but one result of overreacting was the loss, in the 19th century, of the customary dress of the clergy. The gown and cassock, as street attire, were allowed to fall into desuetude because in Puseyite views the gown was Genevan, whereas in reality it was the reverse. Another instance lay in the adoption of the (local) Roman biretta, introducing an Italian fashion even though adequate indigenous precedents were not lacking.

      The gown, now inseparably associated in the popular mind with Genevan (Reformed) divines, was in fact opposed by these same divines in England and Scotland in the 17th century. In spite of this, standard vesture in Presbyterian churches is now the black gown and white linen bands over cassock and cincture, with the academic hood added for preaching services as a mark of learning appropriate to the pulpit, and a stole or scarf (see also Protestantism).

Modern changes in religious dress and vestments
      With a change in emphasis, chiefly expressed in the episcopal use of the cope, Episcopalian usage in the first half of the 20th century differed little from Catholic rules except in Anglo-Catholicism, in which deliberate archaism imposed an adhesion to Baroque (17th to early 18th century) models, themselves superseded within Roman Catholicism. The Liturgical Movement of the 20th century has exercised an influence beyond the boundaries of the church in which it originated, and modern clerics of different denominations increasingly resemble one another sartorially because all have had recourse to the same sources of liturgical inspiration.

      In Roman Catholicism, the formative period of religious dress was over before the Reformation, and Reformation influence was indirect—via the impetus supplied by the Counter-Reformation, which made Baroque its official art style. The emphasis on richness of material, excessive decoration, and preoccupation with surface set in motion a process of decline that was not arrested till the 20th century. The degeneration of the Gothic chasuble with its pointed folds into a stiff fiddle-backed, overembroidered vestment had begun as early as the 13th century with the practice of elevating the Host (sacrificial elements) in the mass. The elevation of the Host entailed the folding back on the celebrant's shoulders of the sides of the chasuble. The flexibility of the early chasuble permitted this, but, to facilitate the elevation, more and more material was removed from the sides until the garment became a caricature of its primitive form, distorted beyond recognition and its vestigial portions—dorsal (back) and pectoral (front)—came to be viewed simply as canvases for the display of virtuoso embroidery. Undergarments also became what is now viewed as effeminate with the addition of lace, and, although the Liturgical Movement began with a new theology of the Eucharist, its repercussions forced a decline of the Baroque style in dress.

      From the late Middle Ages to the 20th century, the history of religious dress in the Roman Catholic Church has been the history of its rubrical evolution: the regional variants of patristic (early church) and early medieval times were eliminated in the interest of ultramontanism (a theory that advocated a greater authority for the papacy), until the second Vatican Council (Vatican Council, Second) reversed the process of eight centuries, again sanctioning regional divergences. Council rulings also simplified the use of the mitre and suppressed the use of the maniple altogether. Increased lay participation in the liturgy has led to an extension of lay religious dress in more than one communion. To lay offices such as the verger, who wears a gown over cassock, and chorister, who wears a surplice, Anglicans have added that of the lay reader, who vests in cassock and surplice, with a scarf as his ensign.

      The upheavals of the 16th, 19th, and 20th centuries have not had much effect on Eastern Orthodox (Eastern Orthodoxy) vesture, and the same canons (rules) prevail today in Orthodoxy as obtained prior to the fall of Constantinople in the 15th century. To ascribe this condition in Eastern Orthodoxy solely to the effects of cultural isolation would be an oversimplification. Suppression of vestments or their alteration is less likely to occur in a church in which such vestments have higher symbolic value attributed to them than in other traditions.

      Islām attaches less importance to liturgical vestments than do most religions, but the social emphasis of the Islāmic faith finds expression in the universal application of the regulations governing dress; e.g., all who enter the mosque remove their footwear, and all going on pilgrimage must wear the same habit, the iḥrām (ihram), and thus appear in the holy places in the guise of a beggar.

      Because Islām recognizes no priesthood in a sense of a class sacramentally set apart, “clerical” functions are discharged by the ʿulamāʾ (ulama), or “the learned (in the Law),” whose insignia is the ʿimāmah (a scarf or turban). The garb of the ʿulamāʾ exhibits geographical variations, but the ʿimāmah is found everywhere. Two broad regional distributions obtain, with Iraq as the area of confluence between the two. In the western part of the Muslim world, “clerical” dress has tended to become standardized according to the Azhar (Egyptian) pattern: a long, wide-sleeved gown (jubbah) reaching to the feet and buttoned halfway down its total length over a striped garment (caftan); and the headgear consists of a soft collapsible cap (qalansūwah) of red felt around which is wound a white muslin ʿimāmah. In Syria a hard ṭarbūsh of the same red shade replaces the qalansūwah. Both the qalansūwah and the ṭarbūsh are provided with a blue tassel. The jubbah is usually a sober shade of blue, gray, or brown, and seldom black. Among the Sunnites (Sunnite)—from Iraq eastward—the jubbah is worn in association with an ʿabāʾ (a long, full garment), traditionally of camel's hair and brown or black in colour. This is sometimes secured by a ḥijām, or cummerbund. In this second regional variant, the ʿimāmah becomes a full turban replacing the cap, or fez. A green turban usually denotes a sharīf (sharif), or descendant of the Prophet Muḥammad; and among the Shīʿites (Shīʿite) (the party of ʿAlī) the entire “clerical garb” is black, as a symbol of mourning for the death of Ḥusayn at Karbalāʾ.

      The Ottoman (Ottoman Empire) Turks, as strict Sunnites, preferred turbans of other colours, which, elaborately wound, served to distinguish the wearer from a non-Muslim. On conquering Constantinople in 1453, they adopted the Byzantine cap and wound the turban around it in demonstration of conquest. The elaborately wound turbans of Persia and India also have a skullcap as a foundation for their folds. The art of winding a turban required no small degree of skill, the wearer fitting the cap over his knee and winding it in that position, whereafter the cap kept the folds in place. To the Prophet Muḥammad is attributed the saying “What differentiates us [in appearance] from the polytheists is the turban.” In India the turban has also been worn by non-Muslims, but the Muslim turban has remained distinguishable from the Hindu by the use of the skullcap as its foundation.

      For all Muslim males, whether Sunnite or Shīʿite, clerical or lay, the wearing of gold or silk is forbidden in consequence of a prescription ( Ḥadīth) of the Prophet, whereby the wearing of either was rendered “ḥarām [forbidden] for the males of my nation.” Footwear must be removed on entering a mosque for fear of defiling the interior with ritually impure substances that may have adhered to the sole of the shoe. This rule applies also to entering a grave; thus, gravediggers and stonemasons must be unshod on such occasions. Because covering the head is a Near Eastern way of showing respect, a head covering should properly be worn in the mosque and even when praying outside the mosque.

      When a Muslim purposes to visit the holy city of Mecca at the time of the major pilgrimage (ḥajj (hajj)), he enters on a state of consecration and robes himself in two white seamless garments (iḥrām), which may not be exchanged for normal dress until he deconsecrates himself after the conclusion of the pilgrimage ceremonies. To these two garments women may add a veil.

      Many of the mystical dervish orders (ṭuruq) wear distinctive robes, frequently with hierarchical differences. In Turkey, headstones (burial) are carved in the shape of the headdress distinctive to the order to which the deceased (death rite) belonged and are tinctured in the appropriate colours. Particularly interesting are the ceremonial robes of the Mawlawīyah order (popularly known in the West as the Whirling or Dancing Dervishes), in which the symbolism of the robes is central to the mysteries of the order. The dervishes wear over all other garments a black robe ( khirqah), which symbolizes the grave, and the tall camel's hair hat (sikke) represents the headstone. Underneath are the white “dancing” robes consisting of a very wide, pleated frock (tannūr), over which fits a short jacket (destegül). On arising to participate in the ritual dance, the dervish casts off the blackness of the grave and appears radiant in the white shroud of resurrection. The head of the order wears a green scarf of office wound around the base of his sikke.

      For all Muslims of whatever sect the standard graveclothes are the threefold linen shroud, or kafan: the izār, or lower garment; the ridāʾ, or upper garment; and the lifāfah, or overall shroud. Martyrs, however, are buried in the clothes in which they die, without their bodies or their garments being washed, because the blood and the dirt are viewed as evidences of their state of glory (see also Islām).

Types of dress and vestments in Eastern religions

Indian religions
      The distinction between ordinary dress and religious dress is difficult to delineate in India because the ordinary members of the various socioreligious groups may often be distinguished by their costumes. For example, Parsi (Zoroastrian (Zoroastrianism)) women wear the sārī (sari) (robe) on the right shoulder, not the left.

      Hindu (Hinduism) men frequently wear short coats (angarkhā), and the women wear a long scarf, or robe (sārī), whereas typical Muslim attire for men and women is a long white cotton shirt (kurtah) and trousers (pāʾijamah). Muslim women also wear a veil called the burqah, which not only hides the face but also envelops the entire body. Traditional Sikh (Sikhism) (a religion combining Hindu and Muslim elements) dress is an ordinary kurtah and cotton trousers, covered by a long hanging coat (choghah). The male Sikh is recognized especially by his practice of wearing his hair and beard uncut, the former being covered by a particularly large turban and the latter often restrained by a net.

      The Brahmin (Brahman) (Hindu priest) is distinguished primarily by the sacred thread ʿupavīta), which is bestowed on him during his boyhood investiture and worn diagonally across the body, over the left shoulder, at all times. During the water offering to saints, it is worn suspended around the neck and, during ancestor rites, over the right shoulder. Devotees may also wear a tonsure that leaves a tuft of hair longer than the rest (śikhā). The pravrajyā (“going forth”) associated with some Upaniṣads (Upanishad) (Hindu philosophical treatises) involved a ritual rejection not only of homelife but also of the upavīta and śikhā. Ascetics (asceticism) usually wear the ordinary loincloth, or dhotī (dhoti), for meditation or Yoga (a physical and psychological meditation system), but there is also a tradition of naked asceticism. A teacher (swāmī) traditionally wears a yellow robe (see also Hinduism; Sikhism; Zoroastrianism).

      Buddhism became more widespread in Asia than other ascetic and meditational movements, partly because of the strong organization of its monastic (monasticism) communities (saṅgha (sangha)). One of the main outward signs of the saṅgha, along with the tonsure and the begging bowl, has always been the monk's robe; “taking the robe” became a regular expression for entering the saṅgha. The saṅgha was organized in accordance with the traditional code of discipline (vinaya), which includes the basic rules regarding robes in all Buddhist countries. These rules are all linked to the authority of the Buddha himself, but at the same time they allow considerable flexibility to cater to changing circumstances.

      The robe (cīvara) illustrates two main types of religious action, each symbolized by the character of the materials used. First, the wearing of “cast-off rags” was one of the “four resources” of a monk, being an exercise in ascetic humility similar to the other three, which are living on alms, dwelling at the foot of a tree, and using only cow's urine as medicine. The use of rags was later formalized into making the robes out of separate strips or pieces of cloth, but the rough patchwork tradition was carried over into China, where hermit monks in modern times wore robes made of old rags. In Japan, robes have been preserved with designs imitating the effect of patchwork, and robes sewn from square pieces of cloth were nicknamed “paddy-field robe” (densōe). This latter term is reminiscent of an old Indian Buddhist tradition according to which the Buddha instructed his disciple Ānanda to provide robes for the monks made like a field in Magadha (in India), which was laid out in “strips, lines, embankments, and squares.” In general, whatever the degree of formalization, the rag motif ensured that the robe was to be “suitable for recluses and not coveted by opponents.” The second type of religious action associated with the robe stemmed from the permission granted to monks to receive robes or the materials for making them from the laity. This meant that the laity “became joyful, elated, thinking: ‘Now we will give gifts, we will work merit . . . ' ” (Mahāvagga VIII, 1, 36). Thus, the presentation of materials for robes was thought to have the same beneficial karmic effects (toward a better birth in the future) as the offering of food. The practice meant that various good materials were offered as well as rags, and in due course six types were allowed on the authority of the Buddha, namely, linen, cotton, silk, wool, coarse hempen cloth, and canvas.

      There are three types of cīvara (i.e., tricīvara): the inner robe (Pāli, antaravāsaka), made of five strips of cloth; the outer robe (uttarāsaṅga), made of seven strips; and the great robe, or cloak (saṃghāṭi), made of nine, 15, or 25 strips.

      In order to avoid the primary colours, Buddhist robes are of mixed colours, such as orange or brown. Another common term for the robe, kasāya, originally referred to the colour saffron, though this meaning is lost in the Chinese and Japanese derivatives, chia-sa and kesa. The robe is normally hung from the left shoulder, leaving the right shoulder bare, though some ancient texts speak of disciples arranging their robes on the right shoulder before approaching the Buddha with a question. In cooler climates, both shoulders may be covered with an inner robe, and the outer robe is hung from the left shoulder, as in China.

      Sandals are allowed if they are simple and have one lining only, or they may have many linings if they are cast-off sandals. The rules for nuns' robes are similar, but they also wear a belt and skirt. Some special vestments are worn by Tibetan Buddhists, including various hats characteristic of the different sects (see also Buddhism).

Chinese religions
      Court dress, sacrificial dress, and ordinary dress were all influenced in ancient China by the Confucian (Confucianism)-inspired civil religion. The classical text for the Confucian ideal of deportment and dress is Book X of the Analects (Lunyu), in which the emphasis is on propriety in every detail, whether at home or in affairs of state or ceremony. The undergarment, for example, was normally cut wide at the bottom and narrow at the top to save cloth, but it had to be made full width throughout for court and sacrificial purposes.

      Confucius was also said to have insisted on the primary, or “correct,” colours—blue, yellow, red, white, and black—rather than “intermediate” colours, such as purple or puce, and to have avoided red for himself because it was more appropriate for women.

      Garments used in sacrifices to former kings and dukes were prepared from silk grown in a special silkworm house. According to the “Doctrine of the Mean,” the clothes used by ordinary people at sacrifices were “their richest dresses.” The fully developed Imperial costume for sacrifices was a broad-sleeved jacket and a pleated apron around the waist. Decorative symbols represented the universe in microcosm and thus the universal sovereignty of the emperor.

      Funeral dress was generally white, although the Shu Ching (Shujing) (“Classic of History”) refers to a funeral at which those who officiated wore hempen caps and variously coloured skirts. According to the I Li, (I li) mourning dress consists of “an untrimmed sackcloth coat and skirt, fillets of the female nettle hemp, a staff, a twisted girdle, a hat whose hat string is of cord, and rush shoes.” For Mencius, a 4th–3rd-century-BC philosopher, the wearing of a coarse cloth mourning garment was an important aspect of traditional filial piety.

      Buddhist robes in China followed Indian tradition fairly closely, though they were noted under the T'ang dynasty (AD 618–907) for being black in colour. Taoist (Daoism) robes, in contrast, were yellow. That this is an old tradition may be seen from the example of the 2nd-century-AD Yellow Turban (Yellow Turbans) movement, in which the missionaries and priests wore yellow robes and the followers yellow headdresses.

Japanese religions
      The priestly robes of Shintō are an example of the way in which rather normal garments of a formative age became the specialized religious vestments of later times.

      They consist of an ankle-length divided skirt (hakama) in white, light blue, or purple, depending on rank; a kimono in white, symbolizing purity, and of which there are various types; and a large-sleeved outer robe of various colours that is frequently a kariginu, or hunting garment, as used in the Heian period (794–1185). The headgear is a rounded black hat (eboshi). The more elaborate “crown” (kammuri) has a flat base, a protuberance rising forward from the back of the head, and a flat band curving down to the rear. Within a shrine, stiff white socks with a divided toe (tabi) are worn, and, when proceeding to or from a shrine, officiants wear special black lacquered clogs (asagutsu) of paulownia wood. Shintō priests carry a flat, slightly tapered wooden mace (shaku), which symbolizes their office but otherwise has no precisely agreed upon significance. The dress of miko (girl attendants at shrines), whose main function is ceremonial dance, also typically consists of a divided skirt and a white kimono. They carry a fan of cypress wood. Young male parishioners bearing a portable shrine through the streets may wear a kimono marked with the crest of the shrine and a simple eboshi. (See also Shintō.)

      Buddhist robes continued the general Buddhist tradition, but of particular interest are the ornate ceremonial robes of high-ranking monks, especially in the Shingon and Nichirenite sects; the white robes worn by devotees in the syncretistic Shugen-dō tradition (famous for its yamabushi, or mountain priests) during lustrations and similar rituals, symbolizing purity, as in Shintō; and the deep, inverted bowl-shaped hats of woven straw (ajirogasa) worn by Zen monks during begging tours.

      Many new religions in Japan have carefully manufactured ceremonial vestments based on Shintō or Buddhist models or of mixed or original design. A common feature is the use of fairly simple uniform clothing for all believers during dedicated labour, mass rallies, or acts of worship. In Tenri-kyō (Tenrikyō), a religion founded in the 19th century by Nakayama Miki, the name of the religion figures prominently on the back of the garment, and, in Nichiren (Nichiren Buddhism) movements, the central symbol namu Myōhō renge kyō (“Homage to the Lotus of the Good Law”) may be displayed on a stole hanging from the left shoulder.

James Dickie E. Michael Pye

Additional Reading
Hilaire and Meyer Hiler, A Bibliography of Costume (1939, reprinted 1967), furnishes the widest bibliographical account. For Christian dress, see Herbert Norris, Church Vestments: Their Origin and Development (1949); and Cyril E. Pocknee, Liturgical Vesture: Its Origins and Development (1960), a succinct, well-illustrated account. All previous research was superseded by Joseph Braun, Die liturgische Gewandung im Occident und Orient . . . (1907), which marked a turning point in liturgiological studies. John B. O'Connell, The Celebration of Mass, new ed. (1956), a handbook for priests, is a study of the rubrics. This can be supplemented by Adrian Fortescue, Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described, 12th rev. ed. (1962), which indicates the appropriate use of garments and is a standard work on Roman Catholic ritual. Concerning Orthodox vesture, N.F. Robinson, Monasticism in the Orthodox Churches (1916, reprinted 1971); and A.N. Svirin, Drevnerusskoe shit'e (1963), focussing on embroidery for vestments, are descriptive rather than historical or analytical in methodology. Protestant vesture has not attracted the attention of liturgists, but Percy Dearmer, The Parson's Handbook, 13th rev. ed. (1965); and Charles Walker, The Ritual Reason Why, new ed. (1931), treat the subject from a High Anglican standpoint. On religious dress in Judaism, The Universal Jewish Encyclopaedia, 10 vol. (1939–43); and William Oesterley and G.H. Box, The Religion and Worship of the Synagogue (1907), are useful. On Islāmic dress, there is Mohammad Baqir Olmajlisi, Helyet ol-motaqqīn (1952). On East Asian religions, Jean Herbert, Shintô (1967), is a standard study of the subject and incorporates drawings of priestly attire. S. Ono, Shinto: The Kami Way (1960), also illustrates priestly attire. On Buddhist religious dress and vestments, The Book of the Discipline, vol. 4, trans. by I.B. Horner (1951), gives the early Buddhist traditions about “the robe.” Holmes Welch, The Practice of Chinese Buddhism, vol. 1, 1900–1950 (1967), contains much incidental material about monastic vestments, with photographs.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем решить контрольную работу

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Religious freedom in Canada — is a constitutionally protected right, allowing believers the freedom to assemble and worship without limitation or interference. Legal frameworkConstitutional rightsThe Fundamental Freedoms section of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms… …   Wikipedia

  • Religious habit — St. Anthony the Great, wearing the Coptic habit. A religious habit is a distinctive set of garments worn by members of a religious order. Traditionally some plain garb recognisable as a religious habit has also been worn by those leading the… …   Wikipedia

  • Dress code — redirects here. For the 2000 film released on video as The Dress Code, see Bruno (2000 film). Male Western dress code …   Wikipedia

  • Religious Life — • Overview and evangelical ideas on what makes up religious life Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Religious Life     Religious Life      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Religious Zionism — Religious Zionist pioneers found Kibbutz Ein HaNatziv, 1946 Religious Zionism (Hebrew: ציונות דתית, Tziyonut Datit, or דתי …   Wikipedia

  • Religious belief — refers to a mental state in which trust (faith) is placed in a creed related to the supernatural, sacred, or divine. Such a state may relate to: 1) the existence, characteristics and worship of a deity or deities, 2) divine intervention in the… …   Wikipedia

  • Religious Procession in Kursk Province — Religious Procession in Kursk Province, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. 175 × 280 cm Religious Procession in Kursk Province (also known as Easter Procession in the District of Kursk or A Religious Procession in Kursk Gubernia [1]) (Russian: Крестный… …   Wikipedia

  • Religious use of incense — have their origins in antiquity, and may have their roots in the practical and aesthetic uses considering that many religions with not much else in common all use incense. One common motif is of incense as a form of sacrificial offering to God or …   Wikipedia

  • Religious clothing — is dress which has a special significance to a faith group.ChristianityVestments are liturgical garments and articles associated primarily with the Christian religions, especially the Latin Rite and other Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox,… …   Wikipedia

  • Religious symbolism in the United States military — Insignias (left to right) for Christian, Muslim and Jewish chaplains are shown on the uniforms of three U.S. Navy chaplains, 1998. (These were the only insignias in use at that time.) Religious symbolism in the United States military includes the …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”