Sunday, May 01, 2005

The Köln Collection

I've mentioned the Marburg Photo Archive a number of times here, but there's one particular place in it that I've been meaning to mention. The Diocesan Museum in Cologne, Germany, has what's probably the biggest single bunch of rosaries pictured in one place, and it's fairly easy to get to.

Other collections, alas, are not so easy to find -- I've tripped over a number of really interesting rosaries and rosary paintings, but largely by accident. (I really wish this collection was better indexed -- see my notes on

Here are the directions. Go to the main site, click on the introductory "splash" page, then click on these words as they come up:
- Orte (= Places)
- Köln (= Cologne; this is its name in German)
- Sammlungen (= Collections)
- Diözesanmuseum (= Diocesan Museum)
- Kunstgewerbe (= Applied Arts)
- Schmuck (= Jewelry)

Practically everything beyond the first three items is a rosary of some kind.

The diocese of Cologne seems particularly rich in rosaries, at least partly for historical reasons. Cologne is where the first European "rosary society" was founded in 1475, and the city is very proud of this. There was a large special exhibition in 1975 to mark 500 years of the rosary, and the exhibit catalog (500 Jahre Rosenkranz), while it doesn't have nearly as many pictures as I'd like, is one of my most relied-on reference books (I think I found a copy for about $35 through A good many of the rosaries in the book are pictured on this web page also.


P.S. I found the other day that there are a few more pictures at the site for the Cathedral library, which held a small rosary exhibit during 2003 to mark the "Year of the Rosary." The above image is from a liturgical book -- the Graduale of Grosz-St.-Martin, dating to around 1500.

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