Rosary Bead

South Netherlandish
Overall (open): 2 1/2 x 5 1/8 x 1 5/8 in. (6.3 x 13 x 4.2 cm) Overall (closed): 2 11/16 x 2 11/16 x 2 1/2 in. (6.8 x 6.9 x 6.3 cm) left wing: 2 1/2 x 2 5/8 x 1 5/8 in. (6.3 x 6.7 x 4.2 cm) right wing: 2 1/4 x 2 3/8 x 1 1/8 in. (5.7 x 6.1 x 2.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
  • Description

    The rosary, a fifteen-part prayer developed primarily by the Dominican order, grew in popularity during the fifteenth century. Chains of beads called chaplets or rosaries helped devotees to keep track of the sequence during prayer. Wealthy patrons commissioned beads of the finest craftsmanship and materials, but even at the height of production, beads that open like miniature tabernacles are thought to have been quite rare. The Biblical inscriptions include an exhortation to open the bead and meditate on the scene within: "Attend, and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow" (Lamentations 1:12).

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: each half with inscription in Renaissance capitals, LEVEMVS CORDA NOSTRA CVM MANIBVC AD DNM(Dominum) I CEL (coelos) and ATTENDITE (ET) VIDETE SI ESY DOLOR SICVT DOLOR MEVS (Lamentations, Vulgate version, iii:41 and i:12)

    inscription in Gothic letters: SVSCEPERVNT AVTEM IESVM ET EDVXERVNT ET BAJVLANS SIBI CRVCEM (Vulgate, St. John xix:16, 17)

    inscription: O CRVX AVE SPES VNICA HOC PASSIONIS TEMPORE AV (auge) PIIS IVSTICIAM (from later setting of hymn Vexilla Regis, - see Williamson for quotation of full stanza)

    Susceperunt autem Jesum et eduxerunt. Et bajulans sibi crucem, exivit im eum qui dicitur Calvariae locum, hebraice autm Golgotha, ubi crucifixerunt eum, et cum eo alios duos hinc et hinc, medium autem Jesum (John 19:17-18); O crux ave, spes unica, Hoc passionis tempore, Auge piis justitiam, Reisque dona veniam (8th stanza of Good Friday hymn, Vexilla regis hymn); Levemus corda nostra cum manibus ad Dominum im caelos (Lamentations 3:41); Attendite, et videte si est donor sicut donor meus (Lamentations 1:12

  • Provenance

    Baron Albert Oppenheim, Cologne(sold 1906); J. Pierpont Morgan, London and New York (1906-1917)

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History