Roccheggiani-style micromosaic of Roman Forum stars in California auction

The highlights of an Orange County, California auction coming up next week (March 3) have a wide spread, including one depicting the remains of an ancient superpower and others from a modern one.

The latter highlights are of course from China, and include a set ivory carvings, and an exquisitely carved Chinese brush pot.

However, it is an incredible pair of late-19th-century or early 20th century Chinese cloisonné elephants, standing an impressive 22½ inches tall, which will draw the most attention.

Pair of Chinese Antique Cloisonne Elephants
The pair of Chinese antique cloisonne elephants

Primarily yellow in colour, the additional details are mesmerising and the $12,000-$25,000 estimate looks if anything a trifle modest, especially given the performance of Chinese antiques in recent times.

Also dating to the 19th century, believed to be around 1870, is a quite incredible micromosaic in the style of Cesare Roccheggiani.

Micromosaics of this kind were composed painstakingly from tens of thousands of minute pieces of opaque glass giving an incredibly accurate view of a scene which might have near-photographic accuracy.

Italian micromosaic depicting Roman Forum
The incredibly detailed Italian micromosaic depicting the Roman Forum

We covered the sale of a micromosaic by Cesare Roccheggiani himself just over a year ago. Roccheggiani, who was active at the Vatican workshops from 1856 to 1864, was the undisputed master and the work trounced its $100,000-200,000 estimate to sell for $330,000.

This piece, which has not been attributed to him, is listed at $15,000-25,000, but it remains an extraordinary art work depicting another view of the Roman forum and anyone who picks it up within that price-range has something of a bargain in our opinion.

Watch this space for more news on this fascinating auction.

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