Perizoma (loincloth)

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Christ Crucified by Diego Velázquez shows Jesus wearing a perizoma

Perizoma (from Greek περίζωμα, from peri "around, about" and zoma "loin-cloth, drawers, band, belt") is a type of loincloth that originated with the Minoan civilization in Crete. Surviving depictions show it being worn by male and female acrobats (for example, in the Bull-Leaping Fresco).[1][2]

A perizoma was possibly worn by Jesus during his crucifixion. It is a standard feature of the crucifixion in the arts. However, Roman custom was to crucify victims naked, and there is no evidence to suggest that Jesus was an exception.[3] Perizoma was likely added by later artists to preserve modesty (see fig leaf) and first appeared in the 8th century.[4] Aachen Cathedral claims to have the actual relic of the perizoma, preserved inside the Marienschrein reliquary.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bonfante, Larissa (2003). Etruscan Dress. JHU Press. pp. 19–20. ISBN 9780801874130.
  2. ^ Condra, Jill (2008). The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Clothing Through World History: Prehistory to 1500CE. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-313-33662-1. OCLC 156808055.
  3. ^ Tombs, David (2009). "Prisoner Abuse: From Abu Ghraib to the Passion of the Christ". In Hogan, Linda; Lehrke, Dylan (eds.). Religion and the Politics of Peace and Conflict. Princeton Theological Monograph Series. Wipf and Stock Publishers. pp. 182–83. ISBN 9781556350672.
  4. ^ Viladesau, Richard (2006). The Beauty of the Cross: The Passion of Christ in Theology and the Arts from the Catacombs to the Eve of the Renaissance. Oxford University Press. p. 188. ISBN 9780195188110.
  5. ^ Nickell, Joe (2007). Relics of the Christ. University Press of Kentucky. p. 106. ISBN 9780813172125.