This is a small, exquisitely detailed raised 'bas-relief' carving on stone depicting 'A Wedding Party' in what is thought to be the Vosges Mountains in France in the 18th century. It is framed with a handsome black lacquer wooden frame (7 1/2 inches x 6 5/8 inches), which is in extremely good vintage condition and substantial enough to hold the weight of the carving securely.
The intricacy and detail of the carving is quite remarkable and each close examination keeps providing new and interesting, finely presented details - even the tiny fingers of the little children and the grooms bow tie are perfectly clear. It shows a large group of adults and children following a bride and groom, lead by a musician, out of a church with the mountains and other vine covered village houses as a background. They are all dressed in typical french 'peasant' attire of the time including the french form of the wooden shoe with a pointed tip known as a 'sabot'. The little children are wearing miniature versions of this footwear. The faces and clothing are most realistic and evocative of this joyous celebration. The musician appears to be playing a french type of bagpipes, likely to be known as a 'chevrette', which refers to the use of a complete goatskins for its bellow ~ also typical of this period and region.
The Vosges mountains in France are shared by Alsace/Lorraine and 'Franche Comte' to the south and serve as part of the division between what is now a northern border between France and Germany ~ a region known for munster cheese, wild blueberries growing on the mountain foothills and as being the 'home' of the famed Baccarat Crystal factory.
This little treasure was found in France in the late 1950's but would appear to be much older than that. The overall condition of the carving is very good with some little micro chips to some of the protruding hat rims, noses and shoe tips but these are hard to see unless highly magnified. There is a hairline crack running across the top right hand corner but, again, it is hard to see and does not detract. It appears that the carving was originally hung unframed due to two drill holes in the niche of the top border which were probably filled when the framing was done.
This is just a delightfully charming little objet d'art with a stunning frame. I wish that I could have found more information and background to this piece but this would also suggest that it is quite unique.
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