Bone bead in the shape of a skull: 16th century
© Museum of London
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Bone bead carved in the shape of a skull. The other side has a woman's face. Known as a 'memento mori', it was meant to encourage thoughts about life, death and the soul. Probably once part of a rosary, this large 'Paternoster' bead was used to indicate when the Lord's Prayer was to be said. Rosaries were used in repetitive prayers of penance and devotion. They were made illegal in 1549, after the Reformation, although many Londoners continued to use them in private.
1501 AD - 1600 AD