Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Just hanging around...

Wearing rosaries, part 6

Last month I began writing a series of articles about how to wear a rosary or paternoster with medieval clothing. As I mentioned toward the end of that series, I have a few more notes and pictures that there simply wasn't room for in that month's postings.

First, a note that while you don't have to be the Virgin Mary or the Infant Jesus to wear a rosary around your neck, it sure helps. The overwhelming majority of pictures showing a rosary as a necklace are of one or the other of these two figures. An example:

This is a detail of the famous altarpiece of the Rosary Society from the Church of St. Andreas, in Köln (Cologne, Germany), by the Master of St. Severin, painted around 1510.

Showing the Infant Jesus playing with his mother's beads is a fairly obvious, and no doubt affectionate, gesture for anyone who's ever observed how much babies love to play with things like this :)

I had some examples of different ways rosaries could be carried on a belt, and I've found a couple of better examples. Here is a rather clearer example of a rosary looped over the belt and then passed through a loop of itself:

Golden 7003920 Looped

This is a detail of Saint Anne (mother of the Virgin Mary) about to meet her returning husband at the "Golden Gate" of Jerusalem. It's an Italian painting from the South Tyrol, painted about 1514 by an unknown artist.

Next, a relatively clear picture of a rosary just tucked into a belt and dangling:

Belt 7002381 Over

This is from a portrait of a pilgrim saint named Wendelin, again by an anonymous artist, this time from Austria and painted around 1490-1500 for the Salzburg Castle chapel (if I'm decoding the German description correctly).

You can see the entire portrait here, a closeup of his shoes here, and his dog here. Clearly he considers his dog is part of the essential pilgrim's equipment, along with his hat and staff!

Finally, yet another detail from a portrait full of intriguing women that I've mentioned before. Here is a woman carrying what is usually a man's type of rosary, a straight string of beads with tassels at both ends. This is only the second time I've seen this type of rosary on a woman. She's wearing it the same way a man would, over her belt with both ends hanging down.


The painting is by the "Master of the Saint Lucy Legend" around 1488 and is now in the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels. You can read a full description at the Web Gallery of Art, a splendid picture source.

This saint is way over at the left margin of the painting, and I think this is Saint Apollonia, who was martryed by having all her "beautiful" teeth pulled out (hence the pincers she is carrying). Just to confuse things, there's another woman with pincers over at the right side of the painting, and she also has a rosary (though hers is in her hand and we can't see much of it) -- but her pincers are holding some sort of object, perhaps a stone. I don't know who she is at all.

posts in this series:

If you've got it, flaunt it
Rosaries on belts
Tying one on
Rubg ariybd tge cikkar
Loops, drapes and dangles
Just hanging around
What did Margaret mean?