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Rosary

  • Place of origin:

    Schwäbisch Gmünd (filigree and other metalwork, made)
    Murano (glass beads, made)

  • Date:

    1760-1800 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Museum number:

    174&PART-1866

  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, room 3, case CA1 []

Rosaries were used throughout Catholic Europe as an aid to prayer. The basic form, of small beads interspersed at regular intervals by larger beads, was the same everywhere, but the details varied according to local tradition. It was common to reuse and replace parts so it is not always easy to identify where a rosary was made.

Most of the elements of this rosary come from the South German region. The large filigree credo cross, which is placed above the pendant on the short strip hanging off the main circle, the pendant itself, and the small container hanging below it, are all typical of south German rosaries, and were probably made at Schwäbisch Gmünd. The pendant is an Ulrichkreuz, a souvenir of the abbey of SS Ulrich and Afra at Augsburg, and carries the first letters of the saint’s name (Saint Vlrich). The small container below it is another religious amulet, from the abbey of St Walburga at Eichstätt, and also carries her identification (Saint WalBurga). It would originally have held a small glass phial of liquid from her tomb. The cast objects interspersed among the beads of the rosary are called the Arms of Christ; they represent various items associated with the Passion of Jesus at the time of his Crucifixion. The glass beads probably come from Venice, whose luxury objects were traded widely at the time.

Place of Origin

Schwäbisch Gmünd (filigree and other metalwork, made)
Murano (glass beads, made)

Date

1760-1800 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Dimensions

Width: 7.6 cm, Depth: 1.9 cm

Historical context note

The earliest reference found by Heike Krause-Schmidt to a rosary with the Wounds of Christ (hands, feet, heart, nails, crown of thorns, and chalice) in the Gmünd inventories is 1729. References are most numerous in the period 1760-1800.

Descriptive line

Glass and silver gilt filigree rosary incorporating the emblems of the Passion, a pendant cross of St. Ulrich, and the container for a vial for oil of St Walburga, Schwäbisch Gmünd (Germany), 1760-1800.

Labels and date

Rosary
1760–1800

Throughout the Catholic world, rosary beads are used for counting prayers in a programme of prayer and meditation. The pendant cross of this one is a souvenir from the abbey of Saints Ulrich and Afra at Augsburg. The amulet case is from the abbey of St Walburga at Eichstätt. It once held a small phial of liquid collected from the tomb in which the saint's remains were interred.

Germany (Schwäbisch Gmünd)
Gilded silver filigree, with gilded glass and gilded silver (restrung) [09/12/2015]

Materials

Silver-gilt

Techniques

Filigree

Subjects depicted

Cross

Categories

Christianity; Jewellery; Metalwork; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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