Fancy Penitential Paternoster, 15th century

Fancy Penitential Paternoster, 15th century
The Penitential Paternoster, 15th century reproduction prayer beads

For our newest and extra special design of this Penitential Paternoster, we used each of the five large marker beads and followed them with 10 small beads of the same stone or a similar color. The first decade of many-colored stones are a stunning LEOPARD JASPAR. The light-colored stone on this one is animal BONE carved into a skull, with small spherical plain bone beads. The third stone is red sponge CORAL, with little beads of a subtle redwood. The black stone is black ONYX, with shiny black jet beads (we LOVE jet!!), and for the gilt we used an actual GOLD-plated bead followed by golden yellow glass beads. 

The two tassels are made of shiny silk, one in black and one in an ivory white, the cord is a blood red silk (although the photo shows a black silk cord), and in the middle is a lovely simple brass cross (this placement can be seen on a linear Paternoster painted in a Book of Hours belonging to Catherine of Cleves).

This paternoster is modeled after a devotion put forth by a Dominican priest, Alan de Rupe, who in the 1400s was a major promoter of the rosary. The specific elements of it come from a printed book he wrote that dates from 1483, which recounts St. Dominic instructing a knight to make...

"a paternoster that has five large stones, and after every one large stone should be ten small. The first large stone of the five is many-colored and signifies the multiplicity of your sins. The second stone is light colored, and signifies the uncertain death that is in your certain future. The third stone is red, and signifies the Last Judgement at which you must give an account of your life. The fourth stone of the five is black, and signifies hell. The fifth stone of the paternoster is gilt, and signifies the glory and joy of the saints: which glory and joy is promised to those who keep the commandment of God."*

*hat tip to the illustrious Chris Laning, Paternoster researcher extraordinaire, who published this translation from the original German on her website