[Herbalist] roses

Tricia Emery jessimond at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 27 12:25:59 PST 2003

[ Picked text/plain from multipart/alternative ]

I just did a little local A & S class on rose beads, and in addition to the rose tablet, or Rose pastille recipe already mentioned, I found a late-period (1584) reference to scented beads in John Babtista Porta’s book, Natural Magick.  In book Eleven, Chapter VII he wrote:"

There may be made diverse kinds of sweet compounds, of which are made beads, which some use to reckon their prayers by, and others to trim their cloths with. "

His recipe for sweet balls includes the following instructions for actually making them into beads:

"...Then with the former powder make it into a mass, and roll it up in little balls. Bore them through...  (with) Rosewater, and wash the outside of the balls with it. Then let them dry.  Afterwards wet them again, for three or four times. So will they cast forth a most pleasant scent round about, which they will not quickly lose. "

I also came across this "just- after-period" (1682) recipe from Mary Doggett, in her Book of Recipes for what she called a Pomander:

"Take a quarter of an ounce of civet, a quarter and a half-quarter of an ounce of Ambergreese, not a half a quarter of an ounce of ye spiritt of Roses, 7 ounces of Benjamin, almost a pound of Damask Rose buds cut. Lay gumdragon in rose water and with it make your pomander, with beads big as nutmegs and color them with Lamb black; when you make them up wash your hands with oyle of Jasmin to smooth them, then make them have a gloss, this quantity will make seven bracelets."

So, there is definately reason to believe that they were used as prayer beads as well as to scent ones clothing or person in period.  I hope this helps!


 Gaylin Walli <iasmin at comcast.net> wrote:
On Sunday, January 26, 2003, at 01:03 PM, dwilson wrote:

> Below is a snip from sca arts, It is the first time I have heard of
> the idea
> that rose petal paste beads are not period. Do we have any proof this
> is a
> period practice?

Specifically in response to:

> Rose-petal *beads* in any form seem to date from the Victorian era;
> I've been asking, and would be very interested to see any
> documentation of them earlier than that. (So far no one has found any
> that I've heard of.)

I have secondary information that may lead to primary information, but
I've never really had time to follow up on it. The June/July 1996
issue of The Herb Companion magazine had an article on how to make rose
beads. It mentions the history briefly:

"Beads made of rose petals that have been cooked, mashed, and molded by
hand trace their origins to India, where the devout used them as a
counting device while reciting their prayers. Eastern Christian monks
adopted the use of rose beads in the third century, and the beads were
given official approval in 1520 by Pope Leo X."

It would be easy enough to write the magazine on it. My connex to the
OED seems abyssmally slow today or I'd look up the words to see what
that source has to say.


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