At 6:02 AM -0500 1/10/01, [log in to unmask] wrote:
>This is a fairly well-known craft technique that I associated with the 19th
>and early 20th centuries. Although I'm sorry not to be able to recall a
>reference, I've seen articles in places like The Mother Earth News. Check
>contemporary books and articles that tell about "old-fashioned" crafts.
>My understanding is that one simply soaked dried rose petals in water and
>rolled them into beads. I've not been able to get this to work. Nor has a
>friend who's a weaver. If you find out more, let me know, as I've a large
>collection of dried rose petals collected partly for this purpose.
It's not quite that simple; apparently you either need to use a
binding substance of some sort (flour or gum tragacanth) or cook the
petal mush for several hours. There are several recipes in the Rialto
collection that Fara recommended ( http://www.florilegium.org, under
"Religion") and on
(I'm not sure this link will work as written, but if you enter
everything before the question mark, that will get you to an "Unusual
Rosaries" page with a link to "Rose-Petal Beads" at the end of the
>No references to rose-petals - but several medieval Welsh poets
>described the beads of the rosary as acorns ...[snip]...
Fascinating! As it happens, I have a colleague who specializes in
medieval Welsh, so she can probably get me those texts, if you can
give me references?
At 9:26 AM -0600 1/10/01, Clinton Atchley wrote:
>There was a discussion of this over on Medtextl last summer I think. You
>might check their archives. As I remember, the practice of using rose
>petals for prayer beads started in the East (India?) and gradually moved
>west. Karen Reeds discussed a lecture she had heard in which the lecturer
>had passed out rose petal beads that he had made from medieval recipes.
>Sorry I can't be more specific, but do check the archives.
Ah. Yes, I've seen that discussion, and Reindert Falkenburg is on my
list of followups. My impression from reading that discussion,
however, is that he has found recipes for rose-petal beads or
something similar in one or more medieval manuscripts, but it wasn't
clear to me whether *rosaries* were actually involved or whether he
is making the same extrapolation as everyone else. The citation of
early rose petal beads in India, as far as I can tell, comes from the
Eithne Wilkins book, which I don't consider trustworthy. The major
bead-history book that's been recommended to me also relies on
Wilkins for almost the whole of their discussion on rosaries.
I've also visited the archives of this list and now have a bunch of
downloaded stuff to look through as well.
Unfortunately it's a field where there seems to be a lot of hearsay,
but not much in the way of actual references except the books I've
mentioned. I keep getting referred to sources like a 1996 issue of
"The Herb Companion" or Dover books' reprint of _Rose Recipes from
Olden Times_ by Eleanour Rohde. I should have said there is also an
excellent chapter on rosaries and paternosters in R. Lightbown's
_Medieval Jewellery_, a huge and lovely book that I wish I could
But I thought I'd ask here as well, just to see whether anyone else
has found sources. If anyone comes up with such a thing in the
future, would you let me know?
O Chris Laning
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