This clerical vestment, embroidered in about 1300 in England, is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum. (Click on the image to see it in close-up.) For me, this textile is the perfect medieval object, a kind of container for all our fantasies of chivalry and knighthood and uncomplicated pomp. It is also material proof of the greatness of the V&A – one of 2,500,000 such proofs, since it’s the incredible expanse of the collection, as much as each object in it, that makes the V&A my favorite museum in the world. One floor of stunning glass; another of ceramics; a third of metalwork: The V&A is the ultimate demonstration of the scope and quality of human creativity.
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