An orphrey, also spelt orfrey or orfray, is a form of often highly detailed embroidery, in which typically simple materials are made into complex patterns. In 1182 and 1183 Henry II of England spent lavishly on orphreys. The word comes from Old French orfreis, from Late Latin auriphrygium, from Latin aurum "gold" and Phrygius "Phrygian".
Orphrey bands are often worn on clerical vestments, a tradition that began in the 12th-century Roman Catholic Church. The finest examples of orphrey can take hundreds of hours of work and sell for thousands of dollars.
- The Mercery of London, Anne F. Sutton, p. 9
- Picture of an orphrey (Archived: 17 July 2012)
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