Man's Paternoster, Large Agate & Glass Beads, Bronze Crucifix
Paternosters are a tradition in prayer beads that flourished in the Middle Ages, particularly in Europe. Beads for counting prayers have been used by Christians since the earliest times, with rosaries & paternosters reaching the height of design in the Renaissance period.
Typically a paternoster was a shortened version of the full rosary, 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 Ave 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 hang the paternoster on a belt or as decor in the home. A detailed bronze radiant crucifix hangs from the ring, the burst of radiant light behind the figure of Christ signifies His coming resurrection.
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.
Here's the detail from the painting by Joos van Cleve
I am not aiming to reproduce historical rosaries and
paternosters, but rather to use modern materials and
techniques to bring prayer beads from the past into
today's prayer life again.
This original rosary was most likely made from red
coral beads, with a solid crystal quartz gaud (Our
Father bead) above a wool or linen thread tassel.
See more of my paternosters here:
Renaissance Revival Collection