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Small Wonders: Late-Gothic boxwood micro-carvings from the low countries

Small Wonders: Late-Gothic boxwood micro-carvings from the low countries

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They are truly tiny miracles: prayer beads, altarpieces, rosaries, statuettes and other miniature sculptures, intricately carved from boxwood in the early 1500s.These artworks at micro-scale depicting biblical scenes were made as sophisticated ‘toys’ for private devotion and amusement, as well as collectibles that only the rich could afford. Their makers deployed clever strategies to fashion objects of breathtaking craftsmanship and artistry. Ingeniously constructed,some even feature little hatches that give access to hidden scenes.

One cannot help but wonder how these virtuoso carvings could have possibly been made. This publication investigates the patrons who ordered these little marvels, explains where and how they
were made and used, and presents no less than eighty of them in all their glory.

Published by the Rijksmuseum