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Close look at Medieval “prayer nuts”

Close look at Medieval “prayer nuts”

In a fascinating short video, the New York Times featured Medieval prayer beads, sometimes called prayer nuts, on its Daily 360. It gives an opportunity for a close up view of the exquisite minuscule boxwood carvings from the 15th and 16th centuries. Most were done in the southern Netherlands, and were considered luxury items, possibly taking as much as 30 years to complete. There are only about 120 in existence now, with major collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the British Museum, and the Art Gallery of Ontario. More information on the carvings, focusing on the collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario, can be found here, courtesy of the CODART Ezine. CODART is the international network of curators of Flemish and Dutch art.



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Cynthia Katsarelis

The blurb doesn’t say, but the exhibit is at the Cloisters (now part of the Met), way up on the upper west side. So don’t go to “the Met” to see them, you’ll be over 100 blocks away.

Cynthia Katsarelis

If you get the chance to go, take a magnify glass, or a good camera to enlarge them (we used an iPad). They are about half the size of the picture above. It’s difficult to see the detail without enlarging, and then it is amazing. They also have the toolbox of one of the makers, fascinating.

Leslie Scoopmire

I could look at these for days.

Bruce G. Kozak


David Allen

Those are very beautiful.

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