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About the Art

Rosary Bead

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This rosary bead, 2 1/16" in diameter, was carved from many pieces of fine-grained boxwood that were then fitted together.

On the outside of this bead is the crown of thorns among pierced Gothic arches and circles, accompanied by biblical inscriptions.

When closed, the upper interior depicts Adam and Eve and the tree of knowledge. When opened, a triptych is formed with depictions of, on the left, the Journey to Nazareth and the Nativity; in the center, the Journey with the Adoration of the Kings; and, on the right, the Presentation and the Offering of Doves. In the lower half is the Crucifixion with ancillary scenes of the Agony in the Garden and Peter cutting off the ear of Malachus. The photos are of a similar bead from the collection of the British Museum. More information about the Metropolitan Rosary bead can be found at these two locations on their website:

Rosary Bead

Heilbrunn Timeline

and you can see other examples of rosary beads depicted in Renaissance art here.