There are only 135 known miniature boxwood carvings and they have been puzzling art specialists throughout the world. Recently, researchers have gathered some of these tiny religious artworks from museums and private collections to further study their secrets and have come across few interesting answers.
It is being assumed that these wooden carvings were made during only a brief time frame, between 1500 and 1530 either in Flanders or the Netherlands. The rise of a new merchant social class in Europe created a market demand for high-quality portable religious carvings. However, soon the Reformation began and a lot of church-related accessories went out of fashion, including these.
Using micro-CT scanning and Advanced 3D Analysis Software, researchers found out just how intricate these miniature altars really are. The inner layers are pieced together, hiding the joints so completely, that only a microscope or an X-ray can detect them. Take a look for yourself.