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BEARD


362


BEARD


the twelfth century. The BoUandists quote WilUam of Malmesburj- (De Gest. Pont. Angl., IV, 4) as stat- ing that the Countess Godiva, who founded a rehgious house at Coventry in 1040, donated, when she was about to die, a circlet or string of costly precious stones on which she used to say her prayers, to be placed on a statue of the Blessed Virgin. In the course of the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth cen- turies, such paternosters came into extensive use especially in the religious orders. At certain times corresponding to the canonical hours, lay brothers and lay sisters were obliged to say a certain number of Our Fathers as an equivalent of the clerical obliga- tion of the Divine Office. The military orders like- wise, notably the Knights of St. John, adopted the paternoster beads as a part of the equipment of lay members. In the fifteenth century, wearing the l)eads at one's girdle was a distinctive sign of mem- bership in a religious confraternity or third order. If a certain worldliness in the use of beads as orna- ments in those days had to be checked, as it was by various capitulary ordinances prohibiting monks and friars, for instance, from having beads of coral, crystal, amber, etc., and nuns from wearing beads around the neck, e\-idence is not wanting that pater- nosters were also openly carried as a sign of penance, especially by bands of pilgrims processioually visiting the shrines, churches, and other holy places of Rome. From their purpose, too. it is natural that prayer beads were prized as gifts of friendship. They were especially valued if they had been worn by a person of known sanctity or if they liad touched the relics of any saint, in which cases they were often piously believed to be the instruments of miraculous power and healing virtue.

Beads were generally strung either on a straight thread, or cord, or so as to form a circlet, or loop. At the present time chained beads have almost en- tirely taken the place of the corded ones. To facili- tate the counting or to mark off certain divisions of a devotion, sets of beads, usually decades, are sepa- rated from each other by a larger bead or sometimes by a medal or metal cross. The mmiber of beads on a chaplet, or Rosary, depends on the number of prayers making up each particular form of devotion. A full Rosary consists of one hundred and fifty Hail Marj-s, fifteen Our Fathers, and three or four beads corresponding to introductory versicles and the "Glory be to the Father", etc. Such a "pair of beads" is generally worn by religious. Lay people commonly have beads representing a third part of the Rosary. The Brigittine beads number seven paters in honour of the sorrows and joys of the Blessed Virgin, and sixty-three aves to commemorate the years of her life. Another Crown of Our Lady, in use among the Franciscans, lias seventy-two aves, based on another tradition of the Blessed Virgin's age. The devotion of the Cro\\-n of Our Lord con- sists of thirty-three paters in honour of the years of Our Lord on earth and five aves in honour of His sacred wounds. In the church Latin of the Middle Ages, many names were applied to prayer beads as: devotioncs, signacula, oraculii, precaria, patriloquium , serta. preculce, numcralia, computum, calculi, and others. An old English form, bedes, or bedi/s, meant primarily prayers. From the end of the fifteenth centurj' and in the beginning of the sixteenth, the name paternoster beads fell into disvise and was re- placed by the names ave beads and Rosary, chaplet, or crown.

The use of beads among pagans is undoubtedly of greater antiquity than their Christian use; but there is no evidence to show that the latter is derived from the former, any more than there is to establish a relation between Christian devotions and pa^an forms of prayer. One sect in India used a chaplet consisting generally of one hundred and eight beads


made of the wood of the sacred Tulsi shrub, to tell the names of Vishnu; another accomphshed its in- vocations of Siva by means of a string of thirty-two or sixty-four berries of the Rudraksha tree. These or other species of seeds and berries were chosen as the material for these chaplets on account of some traditional association with the deities, as recorded in sacred legends. Some of the ascetics had their beads made of the teeth of dead bodies. Among some sects, especially the votaries of Vishnu, a string of beads is placed on the neck of children when, at the age of six or seven, they are about to be initiated and to be instructed in the use of the sacred formu- laries. Most Hindus continue to wear the beads both for ornament and for use at prayers. Among the Buddhists, whose religion is of Brahminic origin, various prayer-formulas are said or repeated with the aid of beads made of wood, berries, coral, amber, or precious metals and stones. A string of beads cut from the bones of some holy lama is especially valued. The number of beads is usually one hundred and eight; but strings of thirty or forty are in u.se among the poorer classes. Buddhism in Burma, Tibet, China, and Japan alike employs a number of more or less complicated forms of devotion, but the frequently recurring conclusion, a form of salutation, is mostly the same, and contains the mystic word OM, supposed to have reference to the Buddhistic trinity. It is not uncommon to find keys and trinkets attached to a Buddh>.st's prayer beads, and generally each string is provided with two little cords of special counters, ten in number, in the form of beads or metal disks. At the end of one of these cords is found a miniature thunderbolt; the other terminates in a tiny bell. With the aid of this device the devotee can count a hundi-ed repetitions of his beads or lOSxlO.xlO formulas in all. Among the Japanese, especially elaborate systems of counting exist. One apparatus is described as capable of registering 36,736 prayers or repetitions.

The Mohammedans use a string of ninety-nine (or one hundred) beads called the subha or tasbih, on which they recite the "beautiful" names or attributes of Allah. It is divided into tliree equal parts either by a bead of special shape or size, or bj' a tassel of gold or silk thread. The use of these Islamic beads appears to have been established as early as the ninth century independently of Buddhistic influ- ences. Some critics have thought the Mohammedan chaplet is kindred to a Jewish form of one hundred blessings. The beads in general use are said to be often made of the sacred clay of Mecca or Medina. Among travellers' records of prayer beads is the famous instance, by Marco Polo, of the King of Malabar, who wore a fine silk tlu-ead strung with one hundred and four large pearls and rubies, on which he was wont to pray to his idols. Alexander Von Humboldt is also quoted as finding prayer beads, called Quipos, among the native Peruvians.

EssER, Zttr Arch(Fologi€ der Paternoster Schnur in Compte rendu du IV congrH scien. Internat., etc. (Friboxirg, 1898). Sciences Reliffieuses, § 1; Thurston, Archcrologu of the Rosary -The Month. No. 442. April. 1901; Esseb, Un


lieben Frauen Rosenhram (Paderbo


1S89).

John R. Volz.


Beard. — Among the Jews, as among most Oriental peoples, the beard was especially cherished as a sjTnbol of virility; to cut off another man's beard was an outrage (II Kings, x, 4); to shave or to pluck one's own beard was a sign of mourning (Jer., xli, 5; xlviii, 37); to allow the beard to be de- filed constituted a presumption of madness (I Kings. xxi, 13). Certain ceremonial cuttings of the beard which probably imitated pagan superstition were strictly forbidden (Lev., xix, 27; xxi, 5). On the other hand, the leper was commanded to shave (Lev., xiv, 9). These usages which we learn from