lisl

13 Nov 2019 144 views
 
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photoblog image The Bedesman

The Bedesman

This little alabaster figure from the foot of a medieval effigy is a Bedesman. His task was to pray for souls listed on a bede-roll represented by small items on a string called "bedes" (i.e. "prayers"). Souls who wished to be prayed for gave alms, donations, or gifts. When, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the use of little perforated globes of bone, wood, or amber, threaded on a string, came into fashion for the purpose of counting the repetitions of the "Our Father" or "Hail Mary", these objects themselves became known as bedes, later becoming known as "beads".

The Bedesman

This little alabaster figure from the foot of a medieval effigy is a Bedesman. His task was to pray for souls listed on a bede-roll represented by small items on a string called "bedes" (i.e. "prayers"). Souls who wished to be prayed for gave alms, donations, or gifts. When, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the use of little perforated globes of bone, wood, or amber, threaded on a string, came into fashion for the purpose of counting the repetitions of the "Our Father" or "Hail Mary", these objects themselves became known as bedes, later becoming known as "beads".

comments (20)

that is an interesting backstory, Lisl.
Lisl: I find this sort of history fascinating - it is the first time I have seen a representation of a bedesman, though I knew about him
Well what do you know, Elisabeth....
Lisl: Well, it all comes from church-crawling and an interest in church history, Frank
Wow! I had no idea! That's certainly my "learn something every day" for this week! smile
Lisl: Good that something new comes your way every day, Elizabeth. Pleased to help!
  • Ray
  • Thailand
  • 13 Nov 2019, 02:25
At first I did not notice it had a face!
Lisl: Yes, he is a trifle worn - the alabaster effigy he was attached to was well stroked
It's not very cheerful, the subject represented doesn't lend itself to it but it takes a lot of guts
Lisl: They would be paid for life, which was something in those hard times
  • Chris
  • England
  • 13 Nov 2019, 06:27
I knew not of these things Lisl. So thank you..
Lisl: You have such a wide knowledge of such things, Chris - not really possible to know everything, but now perhaps you do!
  • Richard Trim
  • Suffolk: where the sun rises first in England
  • 13 Nov 2019, 06:53
Fascinating stuff, Lisl.
Lisl: Isn't it, Richard!
Is this the origin of the familiar rosary, then, Lisl? If so, what a wonderful "vision and verb."
Lisl: Yes, I think it must be, Ginnie. No doubt Chad will be able to advise
  • Astrid
  • Netherlands
  • 13 Nov 2019, 07:20
Thank you for the write-up and what a remarkable find, Lisl
Lisl: It was - I have never seen one before in all the thousands of churches I have visited
Merci pour ces explications sur cette figurine
Lisl: You are welcome, Claudine
Well I have learned something today Lisl
Lisl: Good - I hope it was interesting, Bill
  • Chad
  • Somewhere in deep space
  • 13 Nov 2019, 08:23
Like the Rosary then Lisl.
Lisl: Perhaps this is how is developed, Chad
  • Alan
  • United Kingdom
  • 13 Nov 2019, 08:29
That's fascinating to know. I was not aware of that before.
Lisl: Yes, interesting to actually find a depiction of one
I certainly did not know this fact. I wonder which came first - the rosary or prayer bedes.
Lisl: I suspect the prayer bedes, Mary
What an interesting history. I love the warm details.
Lisl: Yes - it certainly is.
An interesting picture and even more interesting narative, I didn't know any of that.
Lisl: Years ago in school, I read a poem by Keats that had a bedesman in it:
Numb were the Beadsman's fingers, while he told
His rosary, and while his frosted breath,
Like pious incense from a censer old,
Seem'd taking flight for heaven, without a death,
Past the sweet Virgin's picture, while his prayer he saith.
  • sherri
  • Little Rock, Arkansas, USA
  • 13 Nov 2019, 16:10
what an unusual piece
Lisl: Most - I was so pleased to come across him
What a charming little object, Lis, as I stare more is revealed!
Interesting story too smile
Lisl: Yes - it must be priceless, Martin
Ain't etymology wonderful!
Lisl: It certainly is, Tom
Merci pour les infos jointes à  cette petite figurine qu'il aurait été difficile de comprendre sans cela.
Lisl: Yes - he would have been a mystery to me, too

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