Though planetae decorated with narrow orphreys are occasionally met with in the monuments of the early centuries, these vestments were until the 10th century generally quite plain, and even at the close of this century, when the custom of decorating the chasuble with orphreys had become common, there was no definite rule as to their disposition; sometimes they were merely embroidered borders to the neck-opening or hem, sometimes a vertical strip down the back, less often a forked cross, the arms of which turned upwards over the shoulders.
From this time onward, however, the embroidery became ever more and more elaborate, and with this tendency the orphreys were broadened to allow of their being decorated with figures.
This, however, did not represent any definite rule; and the orphreys of chasubles were decorated with a great variety of pictorial subjects, scriptural or drawn from the stories of the saints, while the rest of the vestment was either left plain or, if embroidered, most usually decorated with arabesque patterns of foliage or animals.
Less essential are the orphreys on the hem of the arms and the fringes along the slits at the sides and the lower hem.
- Back Of A Dalmatic Of Tamped Green Woollen Velvet: The Orphreys And Apparels Are Of Embroidered Silk Velvet.