Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland. Charity Reg: 17397
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Object of the Week - 18th Century Rosary Beads

Silver cross and spheres with amber beads.

Early types of Rosary beads were composed of a set of 10 beads on a cord tied at one end in a knot or tassel.

These developed later into the more familiar type with the beads divided into decades with large and small beads.  The cross with a figure of Christ was placed where the knot and tassel would have been on earlier types.

17th and 18th century Rosaries have tubular silver crosses made from thin sheets of silver beaten flat and rolled. The figure of Christ (as depicted here) is often in a naive style and is soldered on to the tubular cross.  Over the figure there is usually a plaque with the initials INRI.

The beads can be made of an assortment of materials, silver, glass, ivory, wood, amber, bone and fruit stones.

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