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Rosary bead - St James the Greater

St James the Greater

  • Object:

    Rosary bead

  • Place of origin:

    Santiago de Compostela (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1520-1650 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Lt. Col. G. B. Croft-Lyons Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This relief carved in jet with St. James dressed as a pilgrim was probably made in Spain, in about 1520-1650. it seems that this is a fragment of what was once a two-sided relief, with perhaps a crucifix figure carved on the missing side. In that case, it waws almost certainly intended as a decorative bead for a rosary.

Physical description

The oval relief depicts the bearded St. James dressed as a pilgrim. He is shown standing, holding a book (the Gospels) in his left hand, and a staff in his right. He wears a knee-length robe and cloak, along with a hat, to which a shell is attached. A gourd and triangular pouch are represented fixed to his staff. Through the top a hole has been drilled, while the base terminates in the form of a scallop shell.

Place of Origin

Santiago de Compostela (made)


ca. 1520-1650 (made)



Materials and Techniques



Height: 7.1 cm, Width: 4 cm

Descriptive line

St James the Greater, Jet, Spain (Santiago de Compostela), about 1520-1650

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

Trusted, Marjorie. Spanish sculpture : catalogue of the post-medieval Spanish sculpture in wood, terracotta, alabaster, marble, stone, lead and jet in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London : Victoria and Albert Museum, 1996, p.144, cat. no. 70.




Christianity; Sculpture


Sculpture Collection

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