These tiny carved sculptures contained within palm-sized boxes have long puzzled historians and archeologists.
The works are believed to have been created in Flander or the Netherlands between 1500 and 1530 and contain carvings of religious iconography. Taking the form of prayer beads, altarpieces, and rosaries, each piece is produced from a single boxwood fragment and held together with pins. The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) has worked together with the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Rijksmuseum to find out more about them. It was recently uncovered that one of the pieces, an eleven-bead Chatsworth Rosary (c. 1509-1526), was owned by King Henry VIII and his wife Catherine of Aragon.