Circa 1890 Metallic embroidered black silk cape with red silk lining. This is from the Victorian era from a theater house in Germany. It is beautifully done with various shades of metallic bronze, red and gold metal threads on black silk depicting spiders and star shapes. Embroidered around the whole cape including the full neckline and large collar, which comes to a point in the back and on each side. A very rare and spectacular garment. This was mostly like used for the character of Mephistopheles (a demon) in the play Faust by Goethe.
Origin: Ragensburg, Germany
Size: 28 inches in length and 40 inches in width
*Please note there are loose threads in places and the on the back edge of the collar the seam is opening slightly.
History and Background:
Mephistopheles is a demon featured in German folklore. He originally appeared in literature as the demon in the Faust legend, and he has since appeared in other works as a stock character. Although Mephistopheles appears to Faustus as a demon – a worker for Satan – critics claim that he does not search for men to corrupt, but comes to serve and ultimately collect the souls of those who are already damned. Farnham explains, "Nor does Mephistophiles first appear to Faustus as a devil who walks up and down in earth to tempt and corrupt any man encountered. He appears because he senses in Faustus’ magical summons that Faustus is already corrupt, that indeed he is already 'in danger to be damned.''
Mephistopheles is already trapped in his own hell by serving the Devil. He warns Faustus of the choice he is making by "selling his soul" to the Devil: "Mephistophilis, an agent of Lucifer, appears and at first advises Faust not to forgo the promise of heaven to pursue his goals”. Farnham adds to his theory, “…[Faustus] enters an ever-present private hell like that of Mephistophiles”.
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