Face or Skull?
21 November 2016
A Janus faced late medieval 'memento mori' rosary bead has been unearthed...
This late medieval 'memento mori' rosary bead (a devotional object reminding a person of their own mortality) may be dated broadly to the mid-late 15th to early 16th century.
The headgear is suggestive of a Low Countries origin, perhaps 15th or early 16th century (pre-Reformation). There are several examples of Netherlands and Flemish portraits of this period which depict similar carved devotional objects.
A similar bead is on display at the Museum of London and other examples are held by the Victoria and Albert Museum.