Carved with astonishingly minute detail, this rosary bead probably was created with the help of a magnifying lens. When opened, it forms a triptych. On the left is the Journey to Bethlehem and the Nativity; in the center is the Journey of the Magi, complete with horses and camels, followed by their Adoration of the baby Jesus and offering of gifts; and on the right is the Presentation of the Child in the Temple at Jerusalem. The Latin inscription is the text of Psalm 71:10, which refers to kings of Arabia and Saba and is associated by Christians with the Magi.
Adam and Eve appear on the outside of the wings. The Crucifixion of Jesus occupies the lower half of the bead.
Inscription: (around exterior of upper half): [image of a flower] ATTENDITE . VIDETE . SI . EST . DOLOR . SICVT . DOLOR . MEV[S] (attend [and] see if there exists pain to such an extent as my pain [Lamentations 1:12])
(around exterior of lower half): [image of a flower] LEVEMVS . CORDA . NOSTRA . CVM . MANIBVS . AD . D[OMI]N[V]M ‘ I[N] ‘ C[A]E[LOS] (let us lift up our hearts with hands to the Lord in the heavens [Lamentations 3:41] )
(around border of interior of upper half): RegeS tharsiS et insvl[a]e / mvnera offerent RegeS arabvm et . saba dona addvc[e]nt (the kings of Tarshish and of the island will offer gifts to the kings of the Arabs and they [the kings of the Arabs] will bring gifts [from] Saba [Psalm 71:10])
(around border of closed wings): [image of a flower] vidit mvlier q[vo]d ‘ bonv[m] es[se]t lignv[m] ad vescendv[m] . tvlit de frvctv ili9 [should be illius] et comedit . deditq[ve] v’o [should be viro] svo (the woman saw a tree which may be good to eat. She brought [some] from the fruit of that [tree] and ate [it] and she gave [some] to her man [Genesis 3:6])
Johannes Paul, Hamburg; J. Pierpont Morgan (American), London and New York (until 1913); Estate of J. Pierpont Morgan(1913–1917)
Toronto. Art Gallery of Ontario. "Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures," November 5, 2016–January 22, 2017.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures," February 22–May 21, 2017.
Williamson, George Charles. Catalogue of the Collections of Jewels and Precious Works of Art: The Property of J. Pierpont Morgan. Deluxe ed. London: Chiswick Press, 1910. no. 42, pp. 65–66, pl. XXV, color pl. 18.
Dingelstedt, Kurt. "Betnuß." Reallexikon zur Deutschen Kunstgeschichte 2 (1948). p. 374.
McConnell, Sophie, and Alvin Grossman. Metropolitan Jewelry. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1991. p. 69.
Romanelli, Susan J. "South Netherlandish Boxwood Devotional Sculpture 1475–1530." PhD diss., Columbia University, 1992. no. 21, pp. 266–68, 61, 65,148, fig. 35–36.
Didi-Huberman, Georges. L'image ouverte: Motifs de l'incarnation dans les arts visuels. Paris: Gallimard, 2007. p. 44, pl. III.
Boehm, Barbara Drake, and Alexandra Suda. "Devotion." In Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures, edited by Lisa Ellis, and Alexandra Suda. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 2016. pp. 87, 88, 96.
Dandridge, Pete, and Lisa Ellis. "Making." In Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures, edited by Lisa Ellis, and Alexandra Suda. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 2016. p. 34.
Dandridge, Pete, and Lisa Ellis. "Workshop Practices." In Small Wonders: Late-Gothic Boxwood Micro-Carvings from the Low Countries, edited by Frits Scholten. Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 2016. pp. 532–33, 542–43, 553, fig. 233–34, 241.
Scholten, Frits, ed. Small Wonders: Late-Gothic Boxwood Micro-Carvings from the Low Countries. Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 2016. no. 26, pp. 214–15, 614.
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