China, 1368-1644. The pebble boldly carved in the round as a crouching toad with its single hind leg tucked beneath. The animal well detailed with wrinkles on its back, large protruding eyes, and incised feet. The opaque stone is of a mottled green and dark-gray tone with russet patches and distinctive veins.
Provenance: Ute Asboth, Galerie Asboth, Vienna, c. 2000. Collection of Maria and Johannes Nickl, acquired from the above and thence by descent in the same family. A copy of an expertise written and signed by Ute Asboth, with a stamp from Galerie Asboth, confirming the dating above, accompanies this lot. Ute Asboth (c. 1927-2018) began her career in the Asian art trade at Galerie Zacke in the early 1980s before eventually founding Galerie Asboth in Vienna, Austria. The gallery specialized in East Asian art and published extensively. Several noted exhibitions were curated in close cooperation with Luigi Bandini from Eskenazi gallery in London, United Kingdom. Some pieces from Ute Asboth's private collection reside now in the Museum of Ethnology, Vienna (today the Weltmuseum). Maria (1926-2022) and Johannes Nickl (d. 2020) lived in Vienna, Austria, and were ardent collectors of Asian, Buddhist, and Egyptian works of art. They were highly active in Vienna's tightknit Asian art trade and assembled most of their collection during the 1980s and 1990s, frequently buying from Galerie Zacke and later Galerie Asboth. The couple were also noted museum patrons and their names are still found on the Ehrentafel ('Roll of Honor') of the Egyptian and Near Eastern Collection at the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien (Museum of Fine Arts Vienna) today.
Condition: Good condition with old wear, minor signs of weathering and erosion with associated small losses. The stone with natural fissures, some of which have developed into small hairline cracks. Few minor nicks.
Weight: 724 g
Dimensions: Length 12 cm