An Ancient Cloth

On Christmas Eve last year there was a program on SBS television entitled The Mystery of the Three Kings. As I was cooking at the time, I saw only glimpses, enough to see that it was a wonderful story.
We were shown a piece of cloth dated from the second to the fourth century AD, in Cologne Cathedral. The cloth was said to have been used to wrap the bones of the Magi, taken by Helena, the mother of Constantine, to Byzantium. After hundreds of years they were taken to Milan, then captured by Frederick Barbarossa and given to Cologne Cathedral where they repose in a golden casket encrusted with jewels. The cloth on examination was found to be woven from Chinese silk which had been bound in gold thread. The weave was flocked damask. It was also found that the cloth had been dyed with Tyrian purple.
As a closing comment we saw the spire of the cathedral which is surmounted by a star, symbolising the Magi — via Mary Williams

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