Friday, September 2, 2011


Something I never heard of but interesting for those who like liturgical history.
The almuce (almucia, armutia) is not very commonly used today anymore. A part of choir dress, it identifies the wearer as a canon or prebendary. It is made of fur and is in principle a shoulder cape, but is only sporadically used as such any longer. Mostly it is today merely an insignia which either rests on the left arm or is placed on the desk of the choir stall.

The first news of the almuce we receive from the 12th Century. It was originally a headdress: it either had the shape of a cap reaching somewhat beyond the ears , or that of a hood extending below far down the back. Both types are mentioned and described in the statutes of Bayeux (ca. 1270). The hoodlike almuce was here a privilege of the canons of the upper row of choir stalls. It was made, whether cap or hood, sometimes of woolen stuff or silk, sometimes, and this was most common, of fur or lambskin; but in the latter case it was lined with stuff. Also, if made of fur or skin, it was popular to trim it with tassels at the hem, which were made from the tails of weasels and similar animals. The sculptures show plenty of evidence for this, especially in the later period. (Read entire article.)

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