The antependium (from Latin ante "in front of" and pendere "to hang") is originally a richly decorated and embroidered curtain made of fabric on the front or the sides of the stipe , the base of the altar .
Antependia are in use in both the Protestant and the Catholic Church. Antependia usually serve as an altar and as a pulpit curtain . Like all paraments, they are kept in the liturgical colors and are usually provided with symbols appropriate to the church season .
In the Catholic and autocephalous churches of the Antiochene Rite , an antependium is always prescribed on the altar, which traditionally consists of three red, embroidered fields with a green frame all year round.
These curtains have been used as altar hangings since the 4th century. They were called pallium or vestus altaris (altar dress) and partially covered all sides of the altar. The name Antependium did not appear until the late Middle Ages. Especially the front - the frontal one - has often been embroidered with precious picture motifs since the early Middle Ages. In the Middle Ages , the altar from the cafeteria (altar plate) to the floor was often not clad with fabric, but with wood, precious metal or stone, also on the back (dorsal, French dossier ), often also adorned with decorations. This disguise is called the Antemensale . A fabric curtain was prescribed in the Catholic Church since 1570. Antependia had no folds and were attached to pegs or hooks or were sewn onto the altar cloth .
Received antependums of high artistic value are, for example:
- Basler Antependium , around 1019; Paris, Musee de Cluny
- Parament de Narbonne , 1372-1378; Paris, Louvre
- Pala d'oro in St. Mark's Basilica in Venice
- Joseph Braun : The Liturgical Paraments in the Present and Past. A manual of paramentics. 2nd, improved edition. Herder, Freiburg (Breisgau) 1924 (Reprographischer Reprint. Verlag Nova and Vetera, Bonn 2005, ISBN 3-936741-07-7 ), pp. 191–197.
- Josef Braun SJ: Altarantependium (A. In the Catholic Church) , in: Reallexikon zur Deutschen Kunstgeschichte , Vol. 1. Metzler, Stuttgart 1937, Sp. 441–458.
- Georg Stuhlfauth : Altarantependium (B. In the Protestant Church) , in: Reallexikon zur Deutschen Kunstgeschichte , Vol. 1. Metzler, Stuttgart 1937, Sp. 459–466
- Burkhard von Roda: The golden altar panel (= Basler Kostbarkeiten. Vol. 20). Basel 1999, ISBN 3-9520458-9-6 .
- Herta Lepie : Pala d'Oro the gold altar in Aachen Cathedral. Ottonian wall paintings in Aachen Cathedral (= Karlsverein-Dombauverein. Series of publications. Vol. 5, ). Thouet, Aachen 2002.
- Joseph Braun: The Liturgical Paraments in the present and past .. 2., verb. Edition. Freiburg (Breisgau) 1924, pp. 191–193.