Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dan's Stole: On Creating a Buddhist liturgical vestment

After seeing the wedding pictures, several people have asked me if I made the stole that Dan wore to perform Anna and Matty's wedding ceremony so I thought it merited a post.  When Dan was getting ready to perform his very first wedding, he decided that he would like a stole and I offered to make one.

While a liturgical vestment often associated with the Christian tradition, the stole was probably based on the tallit or Jewish prayer shawl.  In the Japanese Buddhist tradition, patchwork plays a very large role.  Monks are supposed to beg or collect scraps of fabric to piece together to make their robes.  It was from this that I got the idea to use crumb piecing to create the stole. Dan chose the color red.

After the stole was pieced, we determined that it needed some sort of symbology on the peak at the back and on the ends.  Dan chose the dharma wheel for the back and lotuses for the front ends. The red lotus is that of Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva who embodies compassion.

Here's a great shot of Dan with my Dad that shows the dharma wheel.  The photo was taken by my brother, Dan Warner.

This is a close-up of the dharma wheel.

Here's one of the lotuses.

This is the ceremony in progress shot through a string of prayer flags and one of my favorite photos of the wedding.

Update July 20, 2010              
I received an email from Lynn, a vestment maker with more information about the history of the stole.  Here's what she has to say:
I am a long time vestment maker and although people of prayer have draped themselves in garments of worship for thousands of years, the stole itself traces its lineage to first century Rome.  The stole or scarf, longer (to knees) was worn as a symbol of 'office' and power. When the Christian church became endorsed by 'the state' under Constantine in the 300sCE, Christian priests (deacons, bishops) began to wear upper class Roman clothing as vestiture, again to denote their rank and role, and also fulfilling the idea of 'draping' the worship leader with a covering during worship and/or celebration. Of course every different path of 'the Holy' brings it's own lore and trappings.... When the Jews wore shawls (imitating Moses, who veiled himself, according to scripture, when he met God on the mountain), setting the precedent that a 'garment' was worn in conjunction w/ worship.  Not sure *really* what the first and second century Christians wore... after all, many of them were still Jews converting non Jews to a new 'sect', most probably.  The Roman's desire for 'order' and ritual is what set the pace for vestments, IMO.  The stole is not the only Roman attire that is still modeled in vestiture in Christian churches to this day, but the stole is the one most universally worn.


Chris Hudson said...

I just discovered your blog today. I love the stole you made - for your son, yes? I love the story of the significance of gathering pieces of fabric to make a stole as well. I did not know that story, but I also made a patchwork stole for a friend's son. We sent letters to all of his family and friends, and each sent one fabric, which I incorporated into a lovely stole.
I also like the looks of the cucumber soup recipe, and plan to try it.
Happy quilting!

Dana W. Fisher said...

Hello, Chris,
Thank you so much for sharing your story of making a stole. What a great idea to ask for fabric from family and friends!
All the best,

Dana W. Fisher said...

Many thanks.

Edamommy said...

Good morning! ^_^ How fun it was to see Danny come up high in the search results for "patchwork stole" I was searching for one like an Anglican priest I knew when I was little used to wear. Lovely to be able to drop back in and see this post again. I love the stole and it's context here! ^_^ Hope you have a great Sunday!

Edamommy said...

o.0 Oh my - not sure why I said Anglican - habit - he was CoE. Still.

Dana W. Fisher said...

Good morning! How nice to hear from you again and thanks for your kind words on Dan's stole. Hope you are staying cool during this terribly hot weather.
Warm regards,