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18c FILIGREE with BOWS ROSARY
 a rare, filigree rosary with a mystery attached


(for larger images, click icons below)
(for more information and more links to collections see below)
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18c FILIGREES AND BOWS
MUSEUM COLLECION SERIES
 A GATHERING of THOUGHTS! Did they inspire one another? Are they somehow related? Times and dates are curious - we just put down our collected thoughts on what we found out what we found - and let you decide 
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WHY FILIGREE BOWS ON ROSARIES?
 
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THE FILIGREE BOW
For years we have been very interested in these filigree bow rosaries ever since seeing them in various German books and museums but unable to read German.  A few years ago a lady sent in these images of her rosary, wanting to know more about it. The image stirred those old questions all over again. What was the history behind this tradition of using a filigree bows on a rosary?
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MEDALLIONS AND CROSSES
It is rare to see two filigree bows as shown here.  But not unusual to see a filigree medallion instead of a filigree cross at the end of the pendant. The reliquary medallions carry images of popular saints and kings while the crosses carry fragments of wood with mother of pearl or hand painted porcelain images of the crucified Christ or the Eucharist. 
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Why called Reliquaries?  They appear to have a box under the filigree and may have carried relics at one time. Relics were popular during certain periods but eventually the reliquary design seemed more popular than a container of relics. But the question remains- why two bows?  Did someone add the extra bow? 
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BOWS AND KNOTS?
Then recently our new Holy Father, Pope Francis brought to us a new interest in the 18th c tradition of Mary Undoer of Knots.  We had visited the old church in Augsburg Germany where the famous painting hangs. But did not tie the two traditions together.  We knew filigree rosaries were made by family guilds for centuries in nearby Schwäbisch Gmünd. (Germany)  But was there a local German tradition we were missing? 
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PERSON TO PERSON?
  If so, How did they grow from one area to the next, one tradition to the next? And in what order? Germany brings forth many of these traditions - but not all. Note written or parcticed origins as we find them today.
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MEDIA MOVES 
IDEAS IN AN INSTANT TODAY
Today we have the media, computers, smart phones, facebook. How did inspiration move before? The comments gathered below are only intended to merge information we have collected over the years, in bits and pieces?  Possibly one of you will  have the missing links - or - can confirm these thoughts below - for those students who want to know (including us!)
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WEDDING BOWS?
CLOTH, RIBBONS TO FILIGREE
The old rosaries from the early 1700s (or before) seem to tell of a popular tradition.   Ribbons and strips of cloth were tied into bows just above the pendant crucifix or medallion on rosaries.  Were these ribbons souvenirs from the rosary owners wedding? Then over time, as possibly as local tradition grew, into the 1800s, were the fabric ribbons replaced by stronger, more durable filigree metal? 
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FROM "DER ROSENKRANZ"
(by Andacht Geschichte Kunst)
 (for more information on this book, see belowRIBBON-2.jpg)

SEARCH ROSARY WORKSHOP:


for more information see 
CONFIGURATION   -   BOWS & RIBBONS
MARY, UNDOER OF KNOTS   -   HANDFASTING
also see more
CUSTOMS & TRADITIONS
MORE LINKS




~ CONFIGURATION ~

6 DECADE 'BRIGITTINE' ROSARY
Past all those questions we do know that this is a traditional 6 decade Brigittine Rosary. (Chaplet of St. Bridget ) a very popular rosary during this period.  (Papal blessing 1515) - St Bridgit of Sweeden was a Discalced Carmelite Order)  This rosary is chained.  We do not know the length of this rosary as information sent with the images was very limited.
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THE BEADS OF ROSARY BELOW
We do not know the millimeter of the faceted (English cuts) red Ave beads (probably garnets)  The Paters are the traditional filigree capped beads one sees on antique filigree rosaries of this period. 
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NOTE INCORRECT 
CONFIGURATION OF THIS ROSARY PENDANT 
To correct placement, mentally move top bow right under medallion . In this order: MEDALLION, BOW, CREDO CROSS. (second bow?) THEN FIRST PATER / 3 AVES), SECOND PATER BEAD links the loop of 6 decades together.

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HAVE NEVER SEEN ONE WITH TWO BOWS
 In this case, it appears the pendant configuration was re-attached upside down.  It is not unusual to see rosaries repaired in interesting ways as the person putting it back together may not be familiar with the prayer tradition or sequence. And it is possible the second bow was added by the owner.




~ BOWS or RIBBONS ~
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CREDO-KREUZ
 The middle 'Credo-Kreuz' or 'Creed Cross' was traditional on filigree rosaries and 'as far back as the 1500s on men's 'Zehner' (tenner) until about the middle of the 1800s.  Its purpose was to remind the pray-er to pray the creed and to ask for an increase in faith, hope and charity (love).  Eventually the three Ave beads replaced the credo cross and the creed was prayed on the crucifix.  We see there was a transitional period where both were used - as seen on most filigree rosaries. But the two filigree bows instead of one - remains a mystery. Below: images of fabric bows.
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EXAMPLES OF FABRIC BOWS
Note they are tied directly under last pendant medallion or crucitrix, between and before the credo cross. 
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FROM "DER ROSENKRANZ"
(by Andacht Geschichte Kunst)
 (Try your local reference library to research this book.  Out of print
also checkk Amazon as available now and then)
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Book is in German but the images are magnificent and inspiring to look at, would highly encourage one to search this book out for more information on rosaries.




~  MARY, UNDOER of KNOTS ?  ~

IS THERE ANY CONNECTION HERE?
Again, open any book showing images of filigree rosaries and you will find rosaries that have bows and ribbons tied on the pendant directly above the crucifix. It appears the earlier ones from the early 1700s or before were either fabric cut in strips or  fabric ribbons. 
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Most of these filigrees, as mentioned above,  were made in a little town in Germany called Schwäbisch Gmünd.  Today, Schwäbisch Gmünd is a city famous for its art museums and schools especially known for silversmithing ( jewelry and rosaries.) And Schwäbisch Gmünd is less than two hours from Augsburg where the painting hangs. 
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FROM FABRIC TO FILIGREE?
These old fabric bows show wear and tear.  It would make sense that when the devotion of the Undoer of the Knots became very popular in that part of Germany, that the Filigree Rosary makers would begin to make the bows in a sturdier metal filigree in response to the local custom! The transition to metal seems to show up in the mid to late 1700s, early 1800s.
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THE PAINTING c. 1700
THE STORY OF THE PAINTING 
 In the 1600s it was customary for the bridesmaid to tie the hands of the bride and groom with a wedding ribbon. Once in Germany, not far from Augsburg, a marriage was breaking up.  A series of prayers were said to Our lady of the Snows by Wolfgang, the groom and Father Rem, a Jesuit priest. 
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UNTIED THE KNOTS
Father Rem took the wedding ribbon and one by one untied its knots, straightened out the ribbon and it turned pure white. The couple did not divorce, stayed together for life.  Years later in thanksgiving to our Lady,  his grandson priest commissioned the artist for the family (1700).  See 'the Wedding Ribbon' link below
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Today these knots are the problems and struggles we all face daily.  Not only in marriage but all the knots (sins)  in our lives that separate us from our Father God.
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THE STORY TOLD IN PICTURE
"The painting depicts the Virgin Mary untying knots while treading on the head of a snake, which represents the devil. Her crushing of the serpent represents the prophecy in Genesis 3.15 that "[thy seed] shall bruise the serpent's head". Below the figure of Mary is a representation of the Archangel Raphael with Tobias based on an incident found in the Book of Tobit in which the pair travel together to Sarah so that Tobias can ask for her hand in marriage". (See Wikipedia) 
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WHILE A STUDENT IN GERMANY
 While a student in the 1980s, Pope Francis visited the church and saw the painting.  He was so deeply touched by this ancient devotion, that he brought its history back to Argentina where it grew in popularity with the people. Now, we are made more aware of its history thanks again to Pope Francis.  The painting of Mary, Undoer of Knots is by Johann Melchior Georg Schmittdneris and is dated 1700. The painting may be seen at St. Peter Perlach Church  (Augsburg Bavaria Germany).
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INSCRIBED PRAYER
Over the years, Cardinal Bergoglio, (now Pope Francis),  would include a holy card of Mary, Undoer of Knots in his correspondence. Inscribed on the beck  was the following prayer:
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  “May evil never ensnare you in its chaotic web…May you [Mary] act as an example of how to unravel the knots in our lives and help us through difficult times with simplicity and patience, through the intercession of Your Son.” 
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AND HE REMINDS US
“All of us have knots in our hearts, failings and all of us go through difficult times. Our good Lord, who bestows grace on all His children, wants us to have faith in Her; he wants us to entrust the knots of our woes to her, the knots of our miseries that prevent us from reaching God, so that She can untie them and bring us closer to His son Jesus. This is the meaning of the icon.” Pope Francis
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A MORE
   ANCIENT TRADITION
The tradition of Our Lady, Undoer of Knots is believed to date back to the time of St Paul.  Here we also learn about the New Adam and the New Eve.  And St Irenaeus (120-200) continued this word of mouth, time honored tradition by noting, "And so the knot of Eve's disobedience received its unloosing through the obedience of Mary;  for what Eve a virgin, bound by incredulity,  Mary, a virgin, unloosed by faith." See more below under New Adam, New Eve.
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HISTORICAL TIMELINE
(from website of St. Peter am Perlach Church)
"By 1700, the Augsburg patrician Jerome Ambrose Long Coat (Canons of St. Peter 1666-1709) founded the famous picture of "Mary Knots". Mary, the nodes of a long tape expectorant, also crushes the serpent's head at her feet. 
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"The crushing of the serpent refers to the fact that Mary is exempt from the outset and by special grace from all stain of original sin. It presents itself as "Immaculate conceptio" (Mary as the Immaculate). As described in the Revelation of John, Mary stands before us clothed with the sun as the Apocalyptic woman, the moon under her feet and a crown of 12 stars on her head. The dove is a reference to Mary as the Bride of the Holy Spirit. The painting is the painter Johann Georg Melchior Smithson (1625-after 1707) attributed. " (translated from German to English)




~ MORE TRADITIONS & CUSTOMS ~

'HANDFASTING'
'TYING THE KNOT' OVER THE YEARS
Handfasting is an ancient pre Medieval European custom of betrothal or marriage  and usually involves the tying or binding of hands of the bride and groom with a cord or ribbon. As early s the 12c, a manuscript described Mary the mother of Jesus, as "Handfast [to] a good man called Joseph.". And in 1604,  history speaks of Shakespeare witnessing a 'handfasting'.
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SEALING AN AGREEMENT
 It is believed the term and tradition comes from the Norse / Celtic languages and was a way to seal a bargain or agreement (not unlike the shaking of hands today) 
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'TYING THE KNOT' - THE WEDDING RIBBON
 Today, we still call that old tradition of marriage as 'Tying the Knot' And the custom of the bridesmaid tying the hands of the bride and groom together with a wedding ribbon is still very much a part of many wedding ceremonies. 
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 THE 'LAZZO' / 'LASSO' ROSARY
And when Latin American couples marry it is still the tradition to use the double looped rosary that is attached at the pendant.  One loop is given to the bride and the other to the groom during the wedding ceremony.  Traditions and customs change as they move from one culture to the next.
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THREE BRAIDED CORDS
We attended a wedding recently where part of the ceremony was for the bride and groom to weave 3 cords together. One cord for the bride, one of the groom and one for God.  These braided cords were attached to a board to hang in their home as a reminder.   For many years Scott worked for the Rosary Workshop, helping us set up our website.
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'CLOOTIE' TREES & WELLS
Clootie (also 'Cloutie' or 'Cloughtie' wells) means Cloth.  Also known as 'raggedy trees' and 'rag trees'. These raggedy trees stand around the holy wells and were visited by those who were seeking healings of sorts.

This tradition dates back to pre Christian times and as so many customs do, merged into the world of the Christian world thousands of years ago. These holy wells appear to come from Celtic history in Ireland, Scotland and England and may be found hidden all over, known only by a few but are recognizable by the many strips of cloth tied or knotted around the well on trees.
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BETTER KNOWN
 Holy wells such as St Brigids Well (County Cork) and Mary's Well became places for pilgrims to visit for healing. (folklore mixed in) A piece of clothing or a strip of cloth was dipped in the holy well, rubbed on the wound or body for healing, then hung. tied or knotted to a tree nearby to dry.  (Pilgrims are still warned not to knot any fabric that contains polyesters, as only natural fibers were to be hung!) Knockanare Well is a holy well in County Cork, Ireland.
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ST BRIGID'S CROSS
And then there is the tradition of St Brigids cross, woven and knotted at St. Brigids well (Liscannor, Co. Clare) to bring healing in hones as spring breaks. Today we still hang the cross on our door! - and the knotted traditions go on!!!!!



ROSARY WORKSHOP 
 MISSION STATEMENT 
 Our vision is to provide the finest handmade rosaries, chaplets and other fine religious art forms for personal worship we can make using the best supplies available.  The Guild believes the work of our hands should give visual Glory to God, therefore for us, the best for you is very, very important.

SEARCH ROSARY WORKSHOP:


for more information read this history: 
  THE WEDDING RIBBON   -   LA FEDE DELLA MADONNA
ANTIQUE ROSARY NDEX
to purchse the book see:
DER ROSENKRANZ
also see the Latin American Wedding rosary, etc
LAZZO ROSARY   -    CLOOTIE TREES
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