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Duchesne and Braun, think it needless to look further for the origin of our alb. The fact that a white linen tunic was a common feature of secular attire also makes it difficult to determine the epoch to which we must assign the introduction of our present alb as a distinctly liturgical garment.
Towards the end of the sixteenth century again, when voluminous garments were everywhere in vogue, St.
Similar patches were attached to the wrists, producing almost the effect of a pair of cuffs.
Another patch was often sewn on to the breast or back, sometimes to both. The commonest were paruræ, plagulæ, grammata, gemmata .
In point of material the alb must be made of linen (woven of flax or hemp); hence cotton or wool are forbidden. Much discussion has been caused by the frequent occurrence in medieval inventories of albs which apparently comply with neither of these regulations.
Not only do we read of blue, red, and even black albs, but albs of silk, velvet, and cloth of gold are frequently mentioned.