By Henry Schilb
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Additional info for Byzantine identity and its patrons: Embroidered aeres and epitaphioi of the Palaiologan and post-Byzantine periods
A distinction between an aër and an epitaphios is assumed for the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries because there is such a distinction now. The functions of the two types are different. The iconography and inscriptions are also slightly different on the two types of object. The iconography and inscriptions are assumed to reveal what the function is and, therefore, which term is appropriate for any given example of a textile that might be either an aër or an epitaphios. The terminology itself has therefore affected how scholars have categorized the objects.
31 This passage is another case in which Symeon of Thessaloniki used multiple terms to clarify his meaning. The use of “katapetasma” is not, in this case, a technical term for a cloth of a particular function. It is a general term for a veil. It is also possible that “katapetasma” might be intended, in the passage from Symeon of Thessaloniki cited by Bouras, as a poetic reference to the veil of the temple. This would make the word part of a mystagogic interpretation of this element of the liturgy like Symeon’s use of the word “epitaphios” in reference the aër in the other passage cited by Bouras.
38 This was iconography of some antiquity by the twelfth century. The Communion of the Apostles had been used at least since the sixth-century on objects like the Riha Paten (figure 95), a diskos now at Dumbarton Oaks. 39 They are, therefore, the earliest examples of an embroidered version of the Communion of the Apostles. These kalymmata seem to have been taken from Byzantine territory, probably Constantinople, during the Fourth Crusade. 40 The Halberstadt kalymmata are embroidered with inscriptions couched in gold.
Byzantine identity and its patrons: Embroidered aeres and epitaphioi of the Palaiologan and post-Byzantine periods by Henry Schilb