Sternenmantel of Heinrich II


The Sternenmantel of Heinrich II (or Star Mantle of Henry II) of was the last Saxon king of Germany and late in life, Holy Roman Emperor. The Sternenmantel was presented to Henry by Duke Ismahel of Bari. It was donated to Bamberg Cathedral by either Henry II or his wife, St Kunigunde (where it was used as a cope). The mantle is currently housed in the Bamber Cathedral Treasury.

Sternenmantel of Heinrich II

The Sternenmantel of Heinrich II

Stitches and Techniques

Design and Materials

The mantle is approx. 3m wide and 1.5m high. The mantle depicts scenes from the Life of Christ as well as celestial bodies. There are 14 medallions containing figures. The design elements are worked in fine couched gold thread on violet silk twill. There is some coloured silk work (white, red, blue and green). Some of the figures have elements worked in stem stitch. The mantle is believed to be of Southern German manufacture.

In 1503 the embroidered elements were cut away and remounted on the current Italian silk damask. Therefore, the original placement of the motifs on the mantle are unknown.


Sources for Further Information

  • Schuette, Marie and Muller-Christensen, Sigrid, The Art of Embroidery, (London: Thames and Hudson, 1964)
Detail of cuff from Blue Dalmatic

Detail of applique motif from the Sternenmantel of Heinrich II