An Unusual South German Carved Boxwood Rosary Bead Depicting a Skull with a Deformed Nose

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Object Description

An Unusual South German Carved Boxwood Rosary Bead Depicting a Skull with a Deformed Nose
17th Century

Size: 2.5cm high, 3cm wide, 3.5cm deep – 1 ins high, 1 ins wide, 1¼ ins deep

Object History

Ex English Private collection

Object Literature

Death, for most people before the 19th century, was a major preoccupation. Life expectancy was under 40 and the Catholic church taught that after dying the soul faced a terrifying and uncertain onward journey. Images of skulls were a reminder of your own mortality, a reminder to live a good and pious life, to pray for your soul in eternity. A ‘memento mori’ that death comes for us all. As the Latin inscription on Archbishop Chicele’s tomb states, ‘Now I am cast down: and turned into food for worms’.

Object Details

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