Prayer Nut wood carving art
Prayer nut is a small boxwood orb decorated inside and outside with carving on religious themes. To produce such a prayer nut required considerable skill. Within the scope of the concave were carved miniature stories about the life of Christ and his apostles. The width of a “nut” was no more than 3-5 cm in diameter. To add flavor to patterns were added leaves of spice plants or aromatic oil. Every Prayer Nut is a true work of art. Only the very rich could afford to order such a pocket-like altar. Therefore, possession of “prayer nuts” underlines the high social status. Such orbs were designed to be worn on a rosary or belt and could be used for private devotion when its wealthy owner traveled and are therefore known as rosary beads or prayer nuts. The skill of medieval craftsmen still amazes. Every detail of the composition conceived and executed with maximum precision.
Prayer nuts adorn exposures of the world’s leading museums, such as the British Museum in London and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Louvre. A few years ago at an auction one such nut was sold for 133,250 pounds.
North Netherlands, first quarter 16th century. Prayer Nut with the road to Calvary and the crucifixion. Sold for 133,250 GBP. When this small boxwood orb is opened two intricate concave reliefs representing Christ on the road to Calvary and the Crucifixion are revealed. The two scenes, each less than 4 centimeters in diameter include no less than 27 men, 10 horses, 5 women, a bishop, a little boy, a castle and a camel.