Reference request about Catholic mitres within the Latin Rite?

I desire to try my hand at making a mitre that is no longer in style within the Roman Rite.

I am fixed on this one from the Catholic Encyclopedia’s article on the development of the shape of the mitre; the article is too vague on this particular mitre:

Development of the shape of the mitre

Development of the shape of the Mitre

As regards shape, there is such difference between the mitre of the eleventh century and that of the twentieth that it is difficult to recognize the same ornamental head-covering in the two. In its earliest form the mitre was a simple cap of soft material, which ended above in a point, while around the lower edge there was generally, although not always, an ornamental band (circulus). It would also seem that lappets were not always attached to the back of the mitre. Towards 1100 the mitre began to have a curved shape above and to grow into a round cap. In many cases there soon appeared a depression in the upper part similar to the one which is made when a soft felt hat is pressed down on the head from the forehead to the back of the head. In handsome mitres an ornamental band passed from front to back across the indentation; this made more prominent the puffs in the upper part of the cap to the right and left sides of the head. This calotte-shaped mitre was used until late in the twelfth century; in some places until the last quarter of the century. From about 1125 a mitre of another form and somewhat different appearance is often found. In it the puffs on the sides had developed into horns (cornua) which ended each in a point and were stiffened with parchment or some other interlining. This mitre formed the transition to the third style of mitre which is essentially the one still used today: the third mitre is distinguished from its predecessor, not actually by its shape, but only by its position on the head. While retaining its form, the mitre was henceforth so placed upon the head that the cornua no longer arose above the temples but above the forehead and the back of the head. The lappets had naturally, to be fastened to the under edge below the horn at the back. The first example of such a mitre appeared towards 1150. Elaborate mitres of this kind had not only an ornamental band (circulus) on the lower edge, but a similar ornamental band (titulus) went vertically over the middle of the horns. In the fourteenth century this form of mitre began to be distorted in shape. Up to then the mitre had been somewhat broader than high when folded together, but from this period on it began, slowly indeed, but steadily, to increase in height until, in the seventeenth century, it grew into an actual tower. Another change, which, however, did not appear until the fifteenth century, was that the sides were no longer made vertical, but diagonal. In the sixteenth century it began to be customary to curve, more or less decidedly, the diagonal sides of the horns. The illustration gives a summary of the development of the shape of the mitre. It should, however, be said that the changes did not take place everywhere at the same time, nor did the mitre everywhere pass through all the shapes of the development. A large number of mitres of the later Middle Ages have been preserved, but they all belong to the third form of mitre. Many have very costly ornamentation. For even in medieval times it, was a favourite custom to ornament especially the mitre with embroidery, rich bands (aurifrisia), pearls, precious stones, small ornamental disks of the precious metals; and even to use painting. Besides several hundred large and small pearls, a mitre of the late Middle Ages in St. Peter's at Salsburg is also ornamented with about five hundred more or less costly precious stones; it weighs over five and a half pounds. Similar mitres are also mentioned in the inventory of 1295 of Boniface VIII. Eight medieval mitres are preserved in the cathedral of Halberstadt. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the mitre was ornamented with rich, heavy embroidery in gold, which gave it a still more imposing appearance. A mitre of the eighteenth century preserved in the cathedral treasury at Limburg-on-the-Lahn is remarkable for the large number of precious stones that adorn it. The original material of the mitre appears to have been white linen alone, but as early as the thirteenth century (with the exception of course of the simple mitre) it was generally made of silk or ornamented with silk embroidery.

Can anyone furnish me with details on when this particular mitre was in usage within the Church and where?

If one could find a pattern for it, that would be awesome. However, I feel that this is unrealistic!

1 Answer 1


It looks like "Fig. 128. Mitre, XII Century" in Herbert Norris, Church Vestments: Their Origin and Development (1950), ch. 9 "The Mitre":

Fig. 128. Mitre, XII Century

ibid. "Fig. 133. Diagram of Triangular Mitre" and "Fig. 134. The Mitre more fully Developed" gives a pattern which could perhaps be adapted to a 12th cen. mitre:

Fig. 133. Diagram of Triangular Mitre          Fig. 134. The Mitre more fully Developed

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