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Rosary

Rosary

  • Place of origin:

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

  • Date:

    1760-1800 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (production)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    [Pendant] Silver-gilt filigree
    [Rosary] Gilded glass beads, glass beads with silver-gilt filigree caps, silver-gilt filigree beads, cast silver-gilt beads shaped like objects, and a silver-gilt pendant, all strung on a black cord

  • Museum number:

    174&PART-1866

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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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.

Physical description

[Pendant] Highly stylised double-sided hollow filigree cross with equilateral arms which widen at the ends to link together. The filigree is curved, and decorated with applied coil rings, lozenges and granule rosettes, with a larger multi-layered rosette in the centre. The letters ‘S’ and ‘V’ are incorporated on each side on the lateral arms. There is a loop at the top and bottom of the cross. The loop at the top has a loose ring of grooved wire, to attach the cross to the rosary. The loop at the bottom has a similar ring, from which hangs a small cylindrical container. The container is made of open filigree, with domed rosettes forming the top and base. The top forms a lid which opens with a screw fastening. The letters ‘S’, ‘W’ and ‘B’ are incorporated in the filigree round the centre.
[Rosary] Rosary of glass and filigree beads, interspersed with symbols of Christ’s Passion, strung on black cord. There are 75 glass beads, 8 paternoster beads of glass with filigree caps, 88 small filigree spacer beads, 9 emblems of the Passion, and 1 pendant credo cross. The glass beads are made of clear yellowish-green glass, gilded on the surface and decorated with knobs of red and green glass. There are three patterns: 13 large beads with a central band, 35 similar smaller beads, and 27 large beads with two spiral bands. The paternoster beads are like the 13 large beads with a central band, but have a filigree rosette cap at each end, which covers the body of the bead apart from the central decorative band. The small filigree spacer beads each consist of a short tube with a ring of spiral wire round its centre. The emblems of the Passion are made of gilded cast silver and consist of two hands and two feet, each with the scar of a nail, a cup, the face of Christ on the veil of Veronica, three nails joined together, a burning heart, and a pillar with ropes round it. The credo cross is in the form of a hollow curved filigree Greek cross, decorated on each side with applied lozenges and granule rosettes, with a multi-layered rosette in the centre.

Place of Origin

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

Date

1760-1800 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown (production)

Materials and Techniques

[Pendant] Silver-gilt filigree
[Rosary] Gilded glass beads, glass beads with silver-gilt filigree caps, silver-gilt filigree beads, cast silver-gilt beads shaped like objects, and a silver-gilt pendant, all strung on a black cord

Marks and inscriptions

[Pendant] The letters 'S' and 'V'. Abbreviation of 'Saint Ulrich'.
[Pendant] The letters 'S', 'W' and 'B'. Abbreviation of 'Saint Walburga'.

Dimensions

Width: 7.6 cm, Depth: 1.9 cm
[Pendant] Length: 153 mm whole pendant, Width: 84 mm whole pendant, Depth: 17 mm whole pendant, Length: 98 mm only the Ulrichkreuz, Length: 36 mm the Walburgisoil case, Diameter: 17 mm the Walburgisoil case
[Rosary] Length: 1380 mm the circle of the rosary, Length: 180 mm the rosary extension, including the credo cross, Width: 32 mm, Depth: 17 mm, Length: 71 mm Credo cross, Width: 75 mm Credo cross, Depth: 20 mm Credo cross

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.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Krause-Schmidt, Heike. '...ihr Brodt mit kleiner Silber-Arbeit erwerben'. Schwäbisch Gmünd, 1999.

Materials

Glass; Silver-gilt

Techniques

Casting; Filigree

Subjects depicted

Cross

Categories

Metalwork; Christianity; Jewellery

Collection code

MET

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Qr_O116870
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