A prayer nut was an extravagant, intricately carved boxwood carving from the Middle Ages that could be carried and used for private devotion. Owned mainly by the wealthy in northern Europe, a prayer nut was as much a status symbol as a sign of faith, as only those with money could afford them.
The decorative items are small, measuring only a few inches in diameter. When closed, the object resembles an elaborately carved nut that could be worn on a belt or a rosary. Once opened, the interior reveals incredibly detailed, religious scenes like the Crucifixion. Aromatic fragrances were often inserted into the woodwork with the intention of enhancing the emotional experience for the user. Delicate and complex, prayer nuts were highly prized as works of art and can be found on display in many of the world’s leading museums today.
Every Tuesday is Art Tuesday here at Adafruit! Today we celebrate artists and makers from around the world who are designing innovative and creative works using technology, science, electronics and more. You can start your own career as an artist today with Adafruit’s conductive paints, art-related electronics kits, LEDs, wearables, 3D printers and more! Make your most imaginative designs come to life with our helpful tutorials from the Adafruit Learning System. And don’t forget to check in every Art Tuesday for more artistic inspiration here on the Adafruit Blog!