Using micro-CT scanning, a cutting-edge X-ray technology, scientists are working to reveal the secrets of how miniature boxwood carvings were made in early 16th-century Europe. And what they discover astonishes them. Their new knowledge turns previous beliefs about these tiny and astonishingly intricate carvings upside down.
Only 135 of these almost miraculously complex religious carvings are known to exist. They were probably made during the first 30 years of the 16th century, either in Holland or neighboring Flanders. They all have Christian themes and come in various forms including altar pieces, tiny globes which open and rosaries. They were highly desirable – England’s King Henry VIII is said to have owned one.