A lampas panel depicting Saint Barbara

c. 1450 - 75
Germany, Cologne
woven lampas embroidered with gold- and silver- metal-wrapped threads and coloured silks;
34.2 × 14 cm

Saint Barbara is thought to have been born in the 3rd century AD in Turkey or Lebanon as the daughter of a wealthy pagan man named Dioscorus, who kept her guarded in a tower. While her father was away, Barbara asked the builders who were constructing a bathhouse for her to build in three windows to symbolize the Trinity because she secretly converted to Christianity. After discovering that Barbara had become a Christian, Dioscorus became enraged and had her arrested. She was tortured and sentenced to death by beheading, which was carried out by her father. By the 14th century, Barbara’s cult grew immensely, and she was included in a group called the Holy Helpers – saints that were believed to protect against disease and sudden death.

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Sam Fogg
Art of the Middle Ages