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16TH-CENTURY NETHERLANDISH CARVED PRAYER NUTS

16th-Century Netherlandish prayer nuts are intricately carved wood items of devotion, and when one is closed it looks like an elaborate nut. These symbols of status from the Middle Ages were worn on a rosary, a belt or a sack by the wealthy in northern Europe. Only a few inches in diameter, these prayer nuts hold insanely detailed religious scenes, tiny treasures for those who could afford them. Now they are on display at respectable institutions around the world.