Petronella Oortman’s cabinet house, painted by Jacob Appel

A Timeline of the History of Miniatures

Quite some time ago, I published this info on this site, but I’ve since reformatted for readability and published again. This post and my history of toy photography post will both be making their way into a whole new deep dive soon. I hope you’ll find it useful.

Miniatures have taken the world by storm. And why wouldn’t they? The internet allows the spread of their tiny glory to miniacs all over the world. But they have a hugely amazing history, dating back to ancient Egypt, if not further, and I think that history needs to be explored.

3rd Millennium BC (Old Kingdom Egypt)

The earliest known examples of dollhouses. These included wooden models of servants, furnishings, boats, livestock and pets and were placed in pyramids for religious purposes.

Mesopotamia/ Iron Age/ Ancient Egypt (3000s BC)

  • Mesopotamian clay tablets considered the first miniature books.
  • Miniature artwork in the Egyptian papyrus manuscripts.
  • Iron Age/Roman West votive offerings and grave gods.
  • Salisbury hoard detailed miniaturized bronze shields. So detailed they are later used by archaeologists to learn about their full-scale counterparts.

American Pre-Columbian (1st millennium BC to 16th Century AD)

Small-scale architectural effigies are made in ceramic, stone, wood and metal.

Continue reading here!

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