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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Harry asked me to get this out to all of ya...
he wasn't doing so well getting it to post...

Incredible Prayer Nuts
The 16th Century
In addition to tiny, beautiful prayer books and rosary beads, people of the past liked to express their love of religion and beauty with objects known as prayer nuts. These artifacts were not actually carved from nuts, rather, they were carved from wood, but tiny enough to look like walnuts.
Prayer nuts were mainly produced in northern Europe during the 16th century. Due to the incredible skill required to make these items, only the wealthy could afford them. In addition to being a symbol of a person's faith, they were also a status symbol.

The outsides alone were marvelously carved with intricate designs, including text. Everything was held in place with wooden hinges carved right into the piece. These prayer nuts would usually be attached to a belt or a rosary.

When the nut opens, the first things you see are panels carved with various religious scenes. These vary based on the prayer nut, and might be dedicated to a certain saint, religious event, or type of prayer. The one above shows the Annunciation scene on the bottom, and around the images, you can see the prayer passages carved in.
But there's more! The inside panels could also open, by way of more tiny wooden hinges, and revealed even more miniature carvings. Because of the round shape of the prayer nuts, these scenes would be spectacularly detailed, with rows of lifelike little figures. Imagine the patience and the skill one would need to create something like this!

In addition, the prayer nuts were often scented with a variety of perfumes, so that the scenes would be an even greater sensory experience for their owners.

The prayer nuts you see here are all from the 1500s, with most coming from Dutch regions. Today, they're prized as incredible works of art, and can be found in many museums.
 

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Stunning works of art and of craftsmanship..
 

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It would be difficult enough to carve a large version of this but to have one the size of a walnut? Amazing!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
there must be a bazillion man hours in one of those....
 

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Thanks Stick, by the way it was my good friend George who emailed it to me but no matter how I tried I couldn't get the photos to show up.
 

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Well you learn something knew everyday. I had never heard of those, thanks for posting.
The workmanship is amazing and the patience required is truly incredible.
 

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First I've heard of them too. Absolutely amazing.
 

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Oliver (Prof. Henry)
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Wow! An incredible work of art. Simply amazing.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks Stick, by the way it was my good friend George who emailed it to me but no matter how I tried I couldn't get the photos to show up.
no problem...
any time Harry...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Wow! An incredible work of art. Simply amazing.
you should see them on a large monitor....
faces and even the spear wound show clearly...
 

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Oliver (Prof. Henry)
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you should see them on a large monitor....
faces and even the spear wound show clearly...
Thanks Stick, I went out looked for more info and larger images. I can't imagine how many hours of work went into these. Especially since it was probably done by candlelight with simple tools. The one shown in the bottom image of your post is 2 1/4" (5.8 cm) in diameter and sold at a Sotheby's auction for $214,612.
 
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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks Stick, I went out looked for more info and larger images. I can't imagine how many hours of work went into these. Especially since it was probably done by candlelight with simple tools. The one shown in the bottom image of your post is 2 1/4" (5.8 cm) in diameter and sold at a Sotheby's auction for $214,612.
that much... I can believe it... wonder what the craftsman got???
all those pictures I believe are of one prayer nut...
 

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Those guys must have had good eyes in that time period.

Herb
Good point .
I'm almost wondering if we made these at all , and instead it wasn't some advanced alien technology ?
Maybe they had 3D printers that could print wood. Either that or it was Olivers ancestors that made these , it's the only other viable option :|
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Those guys must have had good eyes in that time period.

Herb
can you see almost finishing one and screwing up and having to start all over...
wonder if there was suicide prevention hot lines in those days...
forbid if some one else broke it....
justifiable homicide???...
 

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can you see almost finishing one and screwing up and having to start all over...
wonder if there was suicide prevention hot lines in those days...
forbid if some one else broke it....
justifiable homicide???...
They didn't even have a "Prayer nut " forum either.

We have a "Router Nut" forum to vent our spleen in. LOL

Herb
 

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Beautiful item, In this age we spend all kinds of money on high tech tools to make a item and then there is something like this that was made with primitive tools.
 

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Wow! Now that's what I'm talkin' about!!
I'm betting those aren't what Brigadier General Anthony C. McAuliffe had in mind... ;)
 

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I want to apprentice to the guy who did that!

Amazing piece of art. Thanks as always Harry/Stick.
 
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