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A hungover frog and cats playing roulette: Enter the world of miniatures

Karolína Lišková
04.Dec 2020
+ Add on Seznam.cz
2 minutes to read
Bronzoví žabáci nesou na nosítkách opilého žabáka.

Size does (not) matter

It's said that good things come in small packages, and that goes double here. Forget about those tiny angels or elephants for good luck you're used to seeing. The Arcimboldo Christmas auction offers unique collectibles and small trifles from the end of the 18th to the beginning of the 20th century. In the auction of Viennese bronzes and silver miniatures with the apt title Size does (not) matter, you'll find original miniatures of everyday objects that are only a few centimeters in size. If you want to give your loved ones a present that's both glorious and funny, you can buy here, for example, cute figurines of piglets engaged in a game of cards or a group of cats placing bets in the roulette.

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Starting price 1,500 crowns

In addition to the silver Christmas bell, the auction also offers a bronze figurine of a frog on a tricycle, his buddy who's sleeping over a hangover, and a silver miniature harp or a record player with a handle. The auction catalog contains almost two hundred items, the starting price of which starts at CZK 1,500. Don't forget you need to be careful where you hide these tiny trinkets until Christmas, though, they're so small that you can easily misplace them!

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Miniatura gramofonu na kliku.
Miniatura gramofonu na kliku. Source: archiv aukčního domu Arcimboldo

From insects through caricatures to carpet traders

It is a unique collection of more than a hundred of largely miniature bronze figurines from Viennese workshops from the early 20th century, intriguing due to both their motifs and design. From realistic depictions of animals and insects, through humorous caricatures of animals engaged in various human activities to perfect depictions of Arab carpet traders.

The collection of Viennese bronzes is complemented by a collection of more than seventy silver miniatures from the 18th to the beginning of the 20th century: perfect miniatures of furniture and everyday objects, realistic figures of people and animals, silver rattles for newborn babies... Who wouldn't want a long-eared hare to teach them maths?

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Bronzový zajíc jako učitel matematiky.
Bronzový zajíc jako učitel matematiky. Source: archiv aukčního domu Arcimboldo

"We've intentionally organized the auction before Christmas. The individual objects will surely elicit a smile on the face of every antique enthusiast,"

says the owner of the Arcimboldo auction hall, Oldřich Hejtmánek, referring to items such as the figure of a stalker at a frog swimming pool, piglets enjoying a card game, or a scene at a cat photographer's.

He adds:

"We've managed to put together a unique collection of silver and bronze miniatures from Czech collections, the likes of which can't normally be foound on the market. Not only antique collectors have a chance to get their hands on a marvelously crafted trifle reminiscent of the skill, taste and sense of humor of our ancestors."

The online auction, which is already in full swing, will run until Sunday afternoon, December 13, on the platform Invaluable.

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Kočky hrající ruletu.
Kočky hrající ruletu.Source: archiv aukčního domu Arcimboldo

Where to find miniatures in Prague?

The Museum of Miniatures in Strahov in Prague owns one of the largest collections of microminiatures in Europe. The very first exhibition of the pieces that are now on display in the Museum of Miniatures in Strahov took place in St. Petersburg in 1996. A year later, the same exhibition was held in Prague in Jilská Street in the Old Town. After its successful launch, the exhibition found permanent home in the grounds of the Strahov Monastery in Prague. Since 1998, the Museum of Miniatures has been operating at its permanent address, Strahovské nádvoří 11.

"I was expecting tiny things, but not even in my dreams could I have imagined how these micro-thingys are made. Imagine a doctor operating on your eye or brain with a microscope,”

one of the visitors of the Prague Museum describes her experience.

"I was fascinated by the miniature flea with golden horseshoes and scissors,"

says another visitor.

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Stříbrná miniatura harfy.
Stříbrná miniatura harfy. Source: archiv aukčního domu Arcimboldo

"It's fascinating to focus on all those ships, trains, scenic views, grains of rice or parades of various painted animals, mosquito wings, flea foot...,"

says another opinion.

Luxusní vila na prodej - Klánovice - 465m
Luxusní vila na prodej - Klánovice - 465m, Praha 9

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