The Feast of Epiphany or Three Kings Day on 6 January commemorates the visit of the three Wise men from the East to Bethlehem. They were led by a star and came to worship the newborn King of the Jews and to offer Him their gifts.
According a catholic tradition, children would go round the doors to sing carols. They dressed up like the three wise men and carried Chinese lanterns and a star on a pole.
On Dutch samplers, the scene of the three Kings was sometimes worked by the girls. A perfect example is the pattern underneath taken from the excellent book of "Embroidery Motifs from Dutch samplers", published in 1974 and written by the late Mrs Albarta Meulenbelt.
More often, but not as often as the Spies from Canaan or Adam and Eve the sampler girls would simply leave out the third man, possibly for symmetrical reasons. Than it would look something like the image underneath. It was taken from the sampler IA 1772, which is momentarily on our website (our website) The two figures left do not wear crowns or royal costumes anymore. In fact, they look like the children who would sing at the doors. However, were did the third figure go?
Although not mentioned in the Bible, the three Wise men were given names. One of them, named Caspar was the black man or Moor who brought frankincense for the Redeemer. Every now and than, we see a pattern that might be Caspar all by himself or copied several times, but without his two companions. Please note the right arm. Should it not holding something, like a star on a pole?
In our previous blog of a few days ago there was again the same figure. Often we thought that the black man pattern would refer to the slave-trade or colonialism, something the Dutch would be heavily involved with. Looking closely now, we can see a type of crown, a sash and the arm holding on to nothing. This can only be Caspar!
Not unimportant, depending on were you live of course, the days are getting longer again after the sixth of January!