Monday, October 15, 2012

Christian Prayer Beads (Part 5)

Post-Medieval Decade Ring
Photo Credit: Portable Antiquities Database
by Angela Magnotti Andrews

Decade Rings
In areas where persecution was a threat to Catholics, such as in England or in Ireland, wearing a rosary could land you on pauper’s row or even down a well, so devotees fashioned rings called “tenners” or “decade rings.” These rings consisted of one large centerpiece with ten small “nobs” around the band. {Rosary Workshop} The ten smaller Ave beads were used to recite Hail Marys, and an Our Father was prayed on the larger Pater stone between each set of ten prayers. Even after persecution lifted, these rings remained popular and can still be found in circulation today.

16th and 17th Centuries
Trade between Ireland and Spain during the 16th century resulted in the introduction of the Galway Rosary, which featured a tubular crucifix bearing a “primitive corpus,” a hallmark of many artifacts found in New Spain. {Rosary Workshop} Paternosters slid the string through the hollow crucifix, leaving a tassel at the end. Perhaps Catholic supplicants used these tassels in the same way that Orthodox supplicants did—to wipe away their tears. {Roman, 2012} Besides these tassels, Galway crosses often had a madonna and child carved on the back side.

During the latter part of the 17th century, in Austria and Bavaria, the popularity of the silver filigree rosary, which featured seven decades of coral, crystal, or gemstone Aves and sliver filigree pater beads. Silver filigree beads were also used in Venice, as well.

Jump to Part 6
1. Encylopedia Britannica Online. “Rosary.” Accessed October 20, 2012.
2. Laning, Chris. “Historical Rosary and Paternoster Beads.” Paternoster-Row website, 2007-2009.
3. Museum of Anthropology. University of Missouri. “Prayer Beads: A Cultural Experience.” Copyright 2011. Last updated October 22, 2012.
4. Prayer Beads World (website). “Prayer Beads in Islam.” Copyright 2008. Accessed October 22, 2012.
5. Roman, Alexander. To Bead or Knot to Bead: Some Historical Considerations. As found on Chotkis website on October 22, 2012.
6. Rosarium, The. “About” Accessed October 22, 2012.
7. Rosary Workshop. “Journaling the Bead: A History of the Rosary.” Accessed October 20, 2012.
8. Winston, Kimberly.  Bead One, Pray Too. New York: Moorehouse Publishing, 2008.

*Clip-art courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

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