These 16th Century Boxwood Carvings Are So Tiny Researchers Used X-Ray To Study Them

By | January 5, 2017

Around the world, only 135 miniature boxwood carvings are known, and they have been baffling art specialists. Recently, researchers have been gathering some of these tiny pious pieces from museums and private collections to further analyze their mystery.

Researchers got these 500-year-old miniature boxwood carvings to their study lab to find out their secrets.

Researchers guess that these wooden carvings were made between 1500 and 1530 either in Flanders or the Netherlands.

The details are intricately small that the human eye isn’t able to analyze them.

Researchers made use of micro-CT scanning and Advanced 3D Analysis Software to discover how intricate the pieces really are
Photography by Ian Lefebvre

Photography by Ian Lefebvre


They discovered joints in the inner layers so tiny and the pins are smaller than grass seed which only a microscope or an X-ray can spot.


However, most production process remains unknown.

Traces of gold and other design conceal the X-ray views.

The miniatures were a result of a growing new social class in Europe that called for the creation of these high-quality portable religious carvings.
Photography by Craig Boyko

Photography by Craig Boyko

Soon after the Reformation began, a lot of church-related materials went out of fashion.

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