St Michael Paternoster Rosary, Man's 'Niner' Middle Ages Style
A paternoster is a style of rosary from the Middle Ages, which is again becoming popular today. This paternoster is based on styles carried by men in the Renaissance era, when visible displays of religious prayer beads were a sign of social standing. It was common for Middle Ages rosaries to be quite large & prominently worn or carried in normal day-to-day activities.
This paternoster is made as a "niner" rosary - that is, a short rosary with 3 groups of 3 prayer beads, making 9 prayers in total. I've used agate beads for the 3 groups of 3, with memento mori skulls between each set, a reminder that life is fleeting. You can read about memento mori here.
At one end is a 20mm golden pewter decorative bead and an impressive cross of Saint Michael, the Archangel. The medal is cast in bronze and has excellent 3-dimensional details of St Michael slaying the dragon of sin on the front, and the words "St Michael protect us" on the back.
At the other end is a long oval agate bead, leading to a silky brown tassel topped with a tiny memento mori. A rather nice story tells how the tassel was included in Middle Age rosaries to wipe away the tears of the faithful as they prayed.
The niner is one of the oldest forms of rosaries, used with prayers familiar to most - the Pater Noster (Our Father), Hail Mary and Glory Be prayers - sometimes also the Apostles Creed and a personal petition to the saint in the paternoster were added. The niner has a long history, most likely derived from the traditional novena, a set of nine prayers. Many early convents & monasteries made niners for just about every saint, which were sold to gain income.
Length end-to-end: 50cm / 19.75 inches:
Tassel: 11cm / 4.25 inches;
St Michael cross: 4.5cm / 1.8 inches tall.
This paternoster has a substantial feel in the hands, and is satisfying to use in personal prayer. It would make a unique gift, or add a special touch to an historical costume. It comes in a handmade fabric pouch to store it in.