erikkwakkel: Medieval skull clasp
You are looking at a tiny book, no larger than an iPhone. Made c. 1500, it was designed for the road: it concerns a portable Book of Hours (or prayer book) that was carried around by a pilgrim on his religious pilgrimage. The object’s size is, of course, not what makes this medieval manuscript stand out. That honour must go to the clasp that holds the book closed, which is decorated with a skull carved out of bone. The theme of this decoration is very fitting for a pilgrim seeking redemption, finding his way along the dusty roads of medieval Europe. Every time he sat down to open his book he was confronted with his future, which looked rather grim: remember you will die one day. Better smarten up and keep on going. And that is what he did.
Pic: Stockholm, National Library of Sweden, MS A 233 (book and binding c. 1500). More images here, but not all information provided there is correct. This article should be taken as a source for further information.