Der blaue Kunigundenmantel, Gesamtansicht

Diözesanmuseum Bamberg


In the Bamberg Cathedral Treasure, six so-called imperial robes have been preserved. They are considered mementos of the diocese’s founders Emperor Heinrich II († 1024) and his wife Kunigunde († 1033). This group also includes the blue cope of Kunigunde, the world's oldest surviving liturgical garment with an area-filling image program. It presents itself as an extended semicircle with a system of 56 medallions connected by braided bands. The representations in the medallions show three themes: The four vertical rows of medallions in the middle of the back relate to the birth of Christ; parallel to the front opening of the mantle, along the upper edge of the picture there is a cycle of Peter in 16 medallions and a cycle of prophets in the remaining medallions. The inscriptions that frame the representations take up liturgical chants (antiphons) from the respective feast days. Due to the pictorial program and its ornamentation, which have parallels in other foundations of the imperial couple, this explicitly liturgical garment should be viewed as the Kunigunde’s donation to the Bamberg Cathedral. Its reliquary status meant that the gold embroidery 1437-1441 was cut out of the original garment and applied to an Italian silk atlas. Even if this late medieval transfer was carried out in a very conservative manner, this transfer and its restoration from 1951 to 1953 made the coat about 14 cm longer.