This is from a SCA researcher, who did a rather spectacular bit of research into those amazing gold German cauls you see often. Sometimes they look like beads, but sometimes they don’t, and here is a bit of info on what they are!
I will just send you there since it’s not entirely beads, even though a decorative thing with a hole technically qualifies, but it is late to post period so – off you go!
Portrait of a Woman wearing the Order of the Swan
Anonymous master active at the court of Ansbach (?) c 1490, Thyssen-Bornemisza CollectionSource: the book Early German Painting 1350-1550
Portrait of a Woman | Bartholomew Bruyn (the Elder) (Art) | Image Index of Art & Architecture
Portrait of Sibylla Kessel, detail (ca. 1540-1545)
Bartholomäus Bruyn (the Elder)
Pretty sure this is the back of a priest’s cope, as they almost always have a cross on the back.
Antipendium (altar hanging) of Cathderal/Chapel of Cheb*
Approx. 1300 AD.
*also known as Eger (see note after plate description) Dimensions: 88cm x 228cm. Museum der stadt Cheb, Czechoslovakia.
SOURCE: “La Riqueza del Bordado Eclesiastico en Checoslovaquia”, by Zoroslava Drobna, 1949
Plate info in spanish:
Antipendium bordado con abalorios multicolores (perlitas de cristal) y con coralitos rosáceos. En dos filas, una encima de la otra, que constan de diez arcadas semicirculares, tiene colocadas las figuras de la Vírgen María, de Cristo, de santos y de santas. En su parte superior consta de una tira o franja, en la cual se hallan sobrepuestas o aplicadas cabezas, pintadas y más recientes, de santos y una tira con una inscripción mulitada por restauraciones posteriores. las figuras y las arcadas han sido borodadas sobre pergamino, borado que años más tarde ha aplicado o cosido sobre una tela de seda roja. Probablemente ha sido confeccionado por las monjas del convento de Santa Clara de Cheb para la cahilla del castillo de Cheb. Proximiades del año 1300 Dimensiones 88cmx228cm Museo Municipal de Cheb.
Plate info in English – to the best of my talents and using an online translator:
Altar hanging embroidered with multicolored glass beads (glass pearls?) and with rosaceous coralitos. In two rows, one upon the other of ten semicircular arches around the figures of the Virgin Maria, Christ, saints. In the top part it consists of a border which has overlapping or applied heads, painted and more recent, of saints and a strip with an inscription mutilated by later restorations. The figures and the arches have been embroidered on parchment, embroidered over years and applied or sewn on red silk fabric. Probably was made by the nuns of the convent of Saint Klara of Cheb for chapel of the castle of Cheb. Approx. 1300 AD. Dimensions 88cm x 228cm. City Museum of Cheb, (Czechoslovakia.)
Okay, I freely admit I’m extremely interested in this piece since it seems to have stayed in the very where it was made, and lived, and is still in such great shape. I have some research on Cheb and these locations mentioned in the plate descriptions, see it after the pictures below.
RESEARCH ON THIS PIECE’S ORIGINS
Notes About Cheb, Czech Republic: during the Middle Ages, and even into fairly modern times, Cheb (which is directly on the modern German/Czech border) has changed hands to and from Germany many times. Map of modern Czech Bohemian Province: Cheb can be seen almost extreme right, junst under the little finger section that shoots into Germany, right along the border. Youc an see how this could have changed hands many times. (another map has Cheb clearly marked extreme west point of Czech.)As a result, Germany calls it Eger and Czechoslovakia calls is Cheb.
You will see this listed more often as being from “Eger (Cheb)” more than “Cheb” alone. To make this even more confusing – There is also a Eger, Hungary It’s made my researching this piece a bit difficult, added to that all, Czechoslovakia was called “Bohemia” in period. Here is a period map of Cheb when it was Eger, Germany – the chapel of St. Klara is clearly marked in the high res pic entitled “De germania, Egrana ciuitas, olimde imperio Romanorum hodie uero regno Bohemiae subiecta”That last link calls Cheb “Located on Ohre river near the German border; town fell to Bohemian king Otakar I in 13th cen.; was often damaged by war, including in Hussite wars (1419-1436), Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) & War of Austrian Succession (1740-1748). ”
The Czech.cz history page, mentions German Colonization inthe 13th Century. Now, Locating the piece’s orgin in Cheb (Then named “Eger”):The plate description above says this was: “Probably was made by the nuns of the convent of Saint Klara of Cheb for chapel of the castle of Cheb.” Let’s break this down.
The convent was founded as a Franciscan church, and functioned as such for a couple hundred years, but converted to a Minorite (“Minores”) order in the 1500’s – which is whwen this map was made. (go about half way across) *right* next to the what we conclude to be the very Convent of St Klara (“S:Klara”) Cheb’s page even notes the order change: “Franciscan church: The Minorite church was built simultaneously with a convent after 1247 when Franciscans settled in Cheb. A vestry and adjacent portion of walling has been preserved from the original building from the mid-13th Century. A cloister of the convent from the 1st half of the 14th Century is one of the most beautiful landmarks in the town’s historical center.” So we know it was there at the right time, and we know it’s still there. Now, If you look at the modern pic of the Minorite churchand the period map of Cheb when it was Eger, Germany, you can see a definite resemblance of the modern and to the towers of “S:Klara” and the adjacent”Minores” in the map, which would be the Minorite Church.
In the 15th Century a bunch of Franciscan monasteries converted sub order called Minorite, who I thinks were a little more conservative, even more than the “Poor Clare’s” who were founded by St Clare and who’s tenants included strict cloistering away from the world and devout poverty.
We know that the the Convent of St Klara was adjacendt to the “Minorite” church from the map. We’re at the very least in the right area of town, and it’s really cool to at least see in period where it came from, if it is from where they say.
John Moorman, MEDIEVAL FRANCISCAN HOUSES, St. Bonaventure (NY): The Franciscan Institute, 1983:[page 169:] FRANCISCAN FRIARY AT “EGER (Cheb): Franciscan Province of Saxony or Bohemia, Leipzig.”Before 1256 (AFH v, 362). In 1270 the town was burnt down, including the church of the friars. Four friars and ten others were burnt to death in the church (AF ii, 83). It became Observant in due course, but the date of this is uncertain. Some say 1463 (“Beiträge Sächs. 1907, 9); others give 1465 (AFH v, 362) or 1472 (FS i, 239).”[page 582] POOR CLARES at Eger “Founded c. 1270 being built next to the friars’ convent (AFH v, 362-3). Some put the date as 1264 and say that the house was affiliated to Seusslitz (S. Chiara 438). In 1465 some sisters were sent from Nuremberg to carry out reforms (AF ii, 417-8).”Abbesses: “c. 1270: Adelheit von Lobhaus (Wauer, Entstehung 141n); 1469: Felicity Trautmann (AF ii, 418, 477); 1469 Margaret Grunther (Priorissa) AFii, 418, 477)”
And who was it made for?
It says in the plate description… ” …for chapel of the castle of Cheb” (again, it was Eger)Cheb’s page shows them too. Here’s the castle and here’s the castle’s chapel interior (and A detail picture). Here’s a modern Map of Cheb , you an see the castle (#4) up in the the northern bend of the river.
#8 is the convent.
#3 is where the piece lives now, the Musem of Cheb.
The Beads: Where did they come from?
Cheb is located less than 40 Kilometers from the small bavarian town of Bischofsgrun, Germany, which is just a few miles on the other side of the modern Czech/German Border.Bischofsgrun is important in many ways. It is one of the first glassmaking capitols in that part of Europe. A “glass hut” (translation from web) was found dating from 900. “Bischofesgrune” was first mentioned in 1242. The tradition of glass-making was first mentioned in 1340 (*1). by 1536 they had 39 glass houses (*2). Duke Albrecht V requested the court cartographer to a map of Bavaria in 1554-1561. In it he included the desctiption as: “Here there are many Glassworks, (producing) blown glass, exceptional mirror glass, and glass beads.” (*3). Modernly Bischofsgrun is famed for it’s history as a medieval stained glass center, and is part of many “glass tours” for those who study glass history. I think it’s a good possibility the beads may have come from Bischofsgrun, or even perhaps there was an even closer factory. Glass makers were considered a reputable and desirable industry.
(*1).source: Bischofsgrun, Germany glass tour website
(*2) source: Bischofsgrun, Germany website
(*3) source: Sibyll Jorgstaff, Glass Beads Of EuropeNEW Text about Cheb History: Following text from this page on Cheb:
The history of Cheb, one of Bohemia’s oldest towns, dates from the 9th century. The remains of a Slavonic settlement have been found on the site of todays castle, in its strategic location above the Ohre river. The first reference to Cheb was in a document by Germany king Heinrich IV., in 1061. The town was then called Egre, derived from “Agara”, the Celtic name of the river running through it and taken into German as “Eger”. The Czech name goes back at least to 1322. During the 12th century, Cheb came under the administration of the margraves of Vohburg and German colonization followed. In 1149, Cheb came under the House of Hohenstauf. Friedrich Barbarossa, the emperor and the most significant member of the family, made Cheb a stronghold of his power politics aimed against the Principality of Bohemia. Czech rulers, however, also proved interested in the regions strategic location. Using the claim to inheritance as a pretext, Premysl Otakar II invaded the once Slavonic territory in 1266 and temporarily annexed it to Bohemia. Until 1305 the region was administered by Vaclav II, Otakars son, who gained control over it as part of the dowry of his wife Guta, a daughter of the Emperor Rudolph of Hapsburg. Although the town was repeatedly taken by the German Empire after Vaclavs death, the inhabitants of Cheb maintained good relations with Bohemia and, after the Premyslid dynasty, became growingly concerned about stability. The permanent annexation of Cheb to the Bohemian Crown Lands came in 1322. John of Luxembourg, the Czech king, acquired the region from Ludwig the Bavarian as a hereditary pledge in recognition of service in the fight for the Emperors throne.
In the 14th century, Cheb was one of the leading towns in the kingdom, being the fourth biggest in Bohemia with a population of 7300. It received many privileges: the Golden Bull made Cheb inhabitants free of duties and tolls throughout the Empire, they had a provincial parliament, a provincial high court, and the minting right (1235). An important trade route, the Via Regia, led through town. During the Hussite wars, the town sided with Catholics and was the point of departure for the 1421 and 1427 crusades. History records the diplomatic negotiations of the Basel Ecclesiastic Council and the Hussites over the conditions of the latters attendance. Chebs faith in Jiri of Podebrady, the “Hussite” king, was confirmed not only by this many visits but also by his childrens weddings taking place in the town.
During the Thirty Years War, Cheb suffered attacks by Swedish, Saxon and imperial troops. The town went down in European history on the bloodstained date of 25 February 1634, when Albrecht of Wallenstein, the Emperors high commander, died at the hands of the Irish captain Deveroux.
Because of the war and the general decline of towns, the economy became stagnant. By a 1652 decree issued by Ferdinand III, Cheb was converted into a military fortress. When completed in 1740, however, the mighty Baroque structure was outdated and challenge to French troops laying siege two years later. An imperial contract brought leading Baroque architects to Cheb: K.Dienzenhofer, P.Bayer, G.Alliprandi, A.Pfeffer and others. Thanks to them the town boasts some marvelous buildings, e.g. St Clares Church, the Dominican monastery, the town hall, etc. The towns appearance was dramatically changed by the early 19th century. The fortifications were pulled down and a large part of the original Gothic town wall together with the gates was demolished. And still another event, deprived Cheb of its medieval features: the great fire of 1809. It destroyed more than 100 houses. Chebs oldest church, St John the Baptist, included.
Industrial development brought revival, in both economy and culture. In 1938, came the Munich agreement, followed by World War II. The ultimate displacement of German residents, eventually depopulated Chebs historical center, accelerating a catastrophic decay of monuments. Only resolute refurbishment put an end to such dilapidation (1956-1969). Since 1989 Cheb has become a notable culture and bussines center. International activities, like Euroregio Egrensis, have restored the tradition, and the unique character of the region.
CHRIST IN GLORY
Antependium from Closter ofMarienwerder Lower Saxony
14th C. Hanover, Kestnermuseum (W.M. XXII, 5)
102 x 180 cm.
Detail: Mandorala, 38 cm high
Chinese red silk damask, 14th century; seed pearls, coral beads, semi-precious stones in metal settings, stamped parcel-gilt silver plaques, stars and rosettes. Black, turquoise coloured and gold glass beads. Applied work and bead embroidery. The figures are worked on parchment. The silver plaques on the outer border of the altar frontal (not shown here) bear the arms of the Hamersen family.
Lit.: Norddeutsche Goldschmiedearbeiten und Stickereien des Mittelaltars. Ausstellung, Museum fur Kunst und Gewerve, Hamburg 1948, No. 92 – Sonderausstellung, Kestnermuseum, Hanover 1956/57, No. 54
Source: Schuette, Marie and Sigrid Muller-Christensen: Pictorial History of Embroidery ; NY: Frederick Praeger, 1964.
Antependium aus Kloster Marienwerder
Niedersachsen, frühes 14. Jh.
chinesische Seide mit Stickereien aus Seide, Perlen, Halbedelsteine, Glasflüsse, vergoldete Silberplättchen
102 x 180 cm
Inv.Nr. W.M. XXII,5
Christus thront in der Mandorla, umgeben von den vier Evangelistensymbolen.
Krone und Schleier. Kunst aus mittelalterlichen Frauenklöstern (Ausst.kat. Bonn, Essen), München 2005, Kat. 55.
First five pics below from: http://fraubevin.blogspot.com
Info from : http://www.lda-lsa.de
A mitra with animal symbolism from the Halberstadt cathedral treasure
The bishop’s headdress from the Halberstadt cathedral treasure embroidered on the most sumptuous of pearls impressively demonstrates the magnificence of the medieval church service as well as the great craftsmanship of contemporary textile art. The Mitra is almost completely preserved except for two formerly hanging on the back, wide bands and looks amazingly fresh in the color of the jewelry elements. In addition to gilded jewelery sheets and colored stones in golden versions, the variety of small pearls made of red coral, colorful glass flows and gilded metal and combined with river pearls is particularly impressive.
For a long time it was thought that these pearls were imported. However, there is evidence that freshwater pearl mussels were more abundant in native waters before being almost completely eradicated by depletion in the 18th century. Therefore, for the Lower Saxony beadwork – to which the Mitra belongs – pearls from the provenances of the Lüneburg Heath may well have been used.
The background for the beadwork, which is embroidered on pattern-precise parchment, is a thin gold foil. The two decorative bands, called Circulus and Titulus, are particularly broad and elaborate on this Miter . Horizontally, the Mitra move around many entwined tendrils with vine leaves, into which two quadruple-shaped medallions are integrated on the front and back. In miniature they depict representations of medieval animal symbolism, which was recorded in the compendium of the Physiologus, which has been immensely popular since early Christian times: On the detail illustration of the obverse, an eagle flies out of its nest with a young bird in its capture.
In the interpretation of salvation history, the eagle Christ immediately approaches the sun, the symbol of God, to whom he feeds a human child. In the neighboring medallion, the pelican, animating and nurturing the young with his blood, is shown. On the opposite side, the Phoenix rises from its ashes with its wings spread wide , and a lion bends over its still-born, unbroken boy to bring it to life with his breath . All four motifs are allegories of the resurrection of Christ and symbolize the Christian hope of the resurrection of the dead. This central content of faith finds a visible expression in a special way in the celebration of Easter, for which occasion the precious miter was probably determined.
Text: Dorothee Honekamp-Könemann
Internet: Dorothee Menke
Niedersachsen, second half of 13th Cen.
Domkammer, Münster, Germany
Pictures from “Stadt im Wandel: Kunst und Kultur des Bürgetums in Norddeutchland 1150-1650”
Color pictures via: http://www.domkammer-muenster.de/index.php?myELEMENT=197224
Beaded container for the Holy Host
Second half of the 13th Century
In german: Ziborium mit perlstickerei, Niedersachen, 2, Halfte 13 JH
Schnutgen Museum, Köln (Cologne) Germany
Some Color Pictures from “Stadt im Wandel: Kunst und Kultur des Bürgetums in Norddeutchland 1150-1650”
Some pictures from: https://www.bildindex.de/document/obj05071467?medium=rba_c005536
In some sources this pointed orphrey end is often paired with two bead saints heads, from the same museum since they are similar in time frame, and materials. Since they are not from the same piece I am seperating them.
“Manipel”, First half of 13th Cen.
In German: Auf dem Mittlestreifen der goldborte finden sich, jeweils paarweise, Vierfüßler, Vogel, baumchen bzh, palmetten, seitlich davon schmale streifen mit Kette aus Rauten – und Winkenhakenformen in gold auf grunbzh. Viloett.
Rechts und links außen steht in Versakein: O SPES DIVINA VIA TUTA POTENS MEDICINA PORRIGE SUBSIDIUM
MISERIS O SANTA MARIA PROTOGE SALVA BENEDIC SANCTIFICA
Closeups are from my Visit to the V&A visit, read notes here.
Lower Saxony, second half of the 13th century, Halberstadt, Cathedral Museum, No. 203
Throne: about 58 cm high
Detail. Red satin faded to old rose. Bead embroidery on parchment and linen. Coral and glass beads of cylindrical and spherical form, opaque and transparent. Predominant colors: coral red, two shades of green, dark blue shading, to light blue, turquoise, aubergine (i.e. eggplant purple), gold, black.
All the seed pearls and most of the violet glass beads and the gilded plaques are now missing. The outer edge and inner fields of the throne had metal plaques with Romanesque foliage and palmettes (their imprints remain on the material). The effect of the whole is impaired by the white patches left where the seed pearls and gold plaques have disappeared.
Pictoral History of Embroidery, M. Schuette (Library of Congress # 64-13379) [Gestickte Bildteppiche des Mittelalters (in english: Art of Medieval Tapestry), Leipzig1930.] Frederick A. Praeger, Inc, Publisher, New York 1964, 64 University Place, New York 3, New York
On parchement with beads and seed pearls
German, 13th Century Blue glass, red coral, gold and seed pearls (most salvaged/looted) on parchment with linen thread.
The two detached pieces are in the V&A collection, the one with the more colorful halo and still attached to the edging, is in a musuem in germany. The pair in the V&A appear for all intents and purposes to have been removed from the German piece and were sold in the late 40’s (war happens). I have worked up a comparison, they are as best I can deduce made by the same hand.
While they are technically two different pieces, I have decided to present them together as they are from the same work.
Text from “Beadwork, (Shire Album #57)”, Pamela Claburn“head in blue beads and coral”
“The american indians… here the beads are threaded and laid on the ground material. The attaching thread is quite seperate and is brought up from below and cathes down the thread between the two beads. this is in effect, a form of couching.” “Exactly the same method of attachment was used in the german beadwork of the 12th Century. Here it is combined with with the sewing on of single beads where the design required it, but it can be seen that are long strands of the same colours and only a very few single colors even in such detailed parts of the design as the faces. Six hundred years later the method was still being used”
Text from “Bead Embroidery”
By Joan Edwards.
“Long before needlewomen of the nineteenth century discovered the possibilities of beadwork, comparatively coarse beads had been used in various parts of Europe for embroidery for a very long time indeed. A great deal of work was done, for example, during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in Lower Saxony, examples of which can be seen in Hanover and Darmstadt. The beads were usually attached to vellum, and it has been suggested that the existence of this beadwork might-like the German whitework or “opus teutonicum” of the Middle Ages-be interpreted as a sign of poverty amongst the German convents at this time, and that the beads were perhaps a substitute for work in pearls, precious metals, and the coveted Byzantine enamels. Nevertheless, the vestments and hangings must have gleamed with considerable beauty in the dark, candle lit cathedrals and churches, shining through the dimness like the stained glass in the windows, and there seems little doubt that the designs were good and well drawn.”