Vessel - Brass - Brass Toad water flask - C.1910 - Tibet - Early 20th century

Vessel - Brass - Brass Toad water flask - C.1910 - Tibet - Early 20th century
Very good condition, see description - 29×19×10 cm


This remarkable vessel from Tibet comprises a brass flask, probably for water, which has been imaginatively cast as a large toad or frog holding the flask nozzle in its mouth

The form is unusual and only a few seem to be known in museums.
The rendering of the toad is naturalistic in that the creature’s contours and lumpy skin are realistically rendered.

When you touch it is quite similar to a toad skin

These were probably used by pilgrims of a certain social status to carry water on their journey.

The leather straps to allow it to be transported are missing as the wooden cork (or brass stopper).


Early 20th century - C. 1910


Private collection of the owner of Rambagh Palace acquired in late 70's

Art market

Pal (2003, p. 169) says of an illustrated example in the Norton Simon Collection that it is difficult to establish the precise time and place of manufacture of these toad vessels but suggests a likely 18th century dating.

Pal, P., Art from the Himalayas & China: Asian Art at the Norton Simon Museum,Yale University Press, 2003.
See pictures

The form is linked to the ceramic pilgrimage flasks used in China and possibly, the Tibetans became familiar with the form during the Chinese presence in Central Asia during the Tang Dynasty.


Good overall condition.
Shortened collar on a border
see pictures for global condition


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Lot details
Early 20th century
Region/ Country of origin
Title of artwork
Brass Toad water flask - C.1910
Very good condition, see description
29×19×10 cm
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