On Saturday, Barbara Ann Meyer’s plan for the night was to go home and chop a clay dachshund in half. She fashions what she calls “mutt butts” — elevated rears of tiny dogs that create the illusion of the animal digging. She makes sure to include with each purchase a gelatin capsule filled with tea leaves that can be sprinkled around the figurine to approximate dirt.
“Not only were the objects of his strenuous art pleasing to look at but the pleasure and astonishment increased as the observer, bending closer, saw that a passionate care had been lavished on the smallest and least visible details,” writes Steven Millhauser in “In the Reign of Harad IV,” his 2006 story about a court-appointed miniaturist. “It was said that no matter how closely you examined one of the Master’s little pieces you always discovered some further wonder.”