Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Rosary bead

ca. 1525–50
Boxwood, silver gilt
Overall (case closed): 2 5/8 × 1 3/4 in. (6.7 × 4.5 cm); Overall (case open): 3 3/8 × 1 3/4 in. (8.7 × 4.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 10
Dinner guests are stunned as Death flies in to spoil the party. A jug on the table is overturned in the confusion, and one man breathes his last. Above, angels sound the trumpets of the Last Judgment. The inscriptions, warning of final judgment, are similar in message and placement to those carved in wood on other beads, suggesting that the silver case was an upgrade to an original boxwood shell. The tiny holes in the metal signal that it may have contained a perfumed substance.
Inscription: Engraved on silver frame, above: OMNES. STABIMVS.ANTE.TRIBVNAL.CHRISTI.AD.ROMANOS.14
[trans.: We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ (Romans 14[:10]]

[trans.: Stay awake, for you do not know at which hour your Lord will come (Matthew 24[:42])]
Jacques Victor, Comte de la Béraudière (until 1885; his collection sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, May 18–30, 1885, no. 551); Charles Mannheim (in 1898) ; J. Pierpont Morgan , London and New York (until 1917; to MMA)
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