Agate Paternoster Prayer Beads, Renaissance Style
Beads for counting prayers have been used by Christians since the earliest times, reaching the height of design in the Renaissance period. Paternosters are a tradition in prayer beads that flourished in the Middle Ages in Europe, right through the Medieval and Renaissance periods.
Typically a paternoster was a shortened version of the full set of prayer beads, and was made with much larger beads than we see in today's modern rosaries. I've made this modern version of an historic paternoster with large brown agate beads, each 20mm across (just under 1 inch).
There are 9 prayer beads in 3 groups of 3, strung on polyester satin cord with small glass trade beads between each set. At the top of the strand is a bronze ring which can be slipped over a finger or thumb, or used to wear the paternoster on a belt or use as decor in the home. A detailed bronze radiant crucifix hangs from the ring- the cross featuring the figure of Christ came into use during the Renaissance.
At the end of the strand is a large blown glass sphere, capped with substantial brass accents. This large bead was known as a gaud - today we call it the Pater or Our Father bead. The set finishes with a lush silky black tassel.
Legend has it that a tassel was commonly attached to rosaries & their shorter version, the paternoster, so it could be used to wipe away tears of gratitude, submission and joy as one prayed.
Overall length: 44cm / 17.5 inches;
Beads: 20mm agate, 30mm glass;
Tassel: 10cm long.
This is an impressive paternoster which comes in the shown Reniassance-style bag to keep it in.
Follow these links to see my
Renaissance Revival Collection
Modern Anglican & Christian Rosaries
Pouches & Bags