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Religious and social significance of early miniatures

April 18th, 2008

Early miniatures often used to include obvious or apparent religious/spiritual significance and connotations. For example, a miniature ivory bed was offered in ancient Rome to the goddess Hera. On other hand, Italian miniatures comprised crèche scenes. A notable creation from 1760s featured wax figures, which were dressed in Neapolitan fashion. They carried baskets of fruit on their shoulders to be gifted to the Christ child.

Many years prior to Duke Albrecht, who in 1544 ordered a doll’s house, it was believed that The Abbess of the Cloister of Bernardenburg gifted the children of a Nuremberg noble a toy ‘garden in a box’. Unfortunately, the duke’s treasured ‘baby’ house did not survive to the present day, probably being gutted in a fire in 1674.

These mystical miniatures fascinatingly and faithfully depicted the daily life and style of the time in which they were conceived. Baby houses of those times were largely miniature versions of their owners’ abodes. An opulent dolls’ house of those times – a miniature palace of sorts – had 17 doors, 63 windows and four floors. Cabinet houses were grand pieces of furniture having tiny rooms – laid out behind glass doors.

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One Comment to “Religious and social significance of early miniatures”

  1. Olivia Renneker Says:


    Am looking for religious (Catholic) miniature items for a half scale house. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

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