No one knows who made these 500-year-old carvings

Probably made by children- tiny fingers, good eyesight

La Vie Mini

Gothic Boxwood Miniatures

They’re a marvel of artistry, design, and technology, yet the artists’ identities remain a mystery. We know that sometime in the late 15th or early 16th century, Dutch wood carvers began to sculpt detailed biblical scenes from Boxwood trees.

rotary Carved rotary beads from the 16th century

boxwoodthingy.jpg A carved miniature altarpiece from the 16th century

Originally coveted for their religious value and easily-transported depictions of scripture, the miniatures have remained objects of fascination for centuries. The material itself held special meaning for the faithful, as Boxwood was thought to be one of the woods used for the cross on which Jesus was crucified. Some believed it could even drive out the devil.

prayerbead.jpg Rotary bead depicting the crucifixion


Although little is known about the artists and their creative processes, specialists believe the high degree of detail could only have been accomplished with magnification. The exterior shells of the beads are thought to have been made by a foot-operated lathe, after which decorative designs were drilled…

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