Dagger-axe (ge 戈)

Detail of a pattern
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At A Glance

On View
  • Period

    ca. 2000-ca. 1400 BCE
  • Geography

    probably Henan province, China
  • Material

    Jade (nephrite)
  • Dimension

    H x W x D: 10.2 x 67.1 x 0.6 cm (4 x 26 7/16 x 1/4 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Description

    Large emblematic weapon of the type ko [ge] 戈 (Broken in two and mended; one chip missing). Mottled gray, black and brownish nephrite, somewhat translucent; decorative band of parallel and criss-cross lines engraved on the butt of the blade; a conical perforation in the tang; inscription of thirty characters.
    Acquired with a wooden box, lid now lost.
  • Provenance

    Reportedly presented to the first Duke of Shao (Shao gong ?? ), Shih [Shi] ? [1]
    Reportedly unearthed at Qishan ??, Fengxiang xian ???, Shaanxi ?? Province; said to be from the grave of the first Duke of Shao (Shao gong ?? ), Shi ?, the Taibao ?? [2]
    Wu Ching-t'ing ??? (Wu Jingting) [3]
    To 1911
    Duanfang (1861-1911), Beijing, China [4]
    1911 - 1918
    Descendants of Duanfang, Beijing, China [5]
    1918 - 1919
    You Xiaoxi ??? (late 19th century - mid-20th century), Shanghai, China purchased from Duanfang's family in October 1918 [6]
    1917 - 1919
    Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Seaouke Yue in 1919 [7]
    From 1920
    Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [8]
    [1] See object's inscription and Pang Huaijing ???,
    "Pa T'ai pao yu ke [Ba Taibao yuge] ?????," in K'ao-ku yu wen-wu [Kaogu yu wenwu] ????? 1986.1, pp. 70-73.
    [2] See note 1.
    [3] See note 1.
    This jade was formerly in the collection of Duanfang ??
    and was published in his posthumous T'ao chai ku-yu t'u [Taozhai guyu tu] ?????, vol. 1 (Shanghai: Laiqingge, 1936), pp. 84--85, where it is called a "jade sword ??.
    See also, curatorial notes in accession file F1918.1.
    [5] You Xiaoxi (Seaouke Yue) sold several objects that were part of Duanfang's collection from 1916-1919; he acquired these objects through the family of Duanfang. Seaouke Yue cites the Duanfang provenance in documentation from the American Consular Service, see:
    "Special Certificate from American Consular Service," signed by Charles E. Kline, American Vice Counsul, May 20, 1919, copy in object file. This object is included in the inventory of box II as number 63. In this certificate, Yue states that he acquired from the Duanfang [Tuan Fang] collection in October of 1918.
    [6] See note 4
    and S.I. 1392, Original Miscellaneous List, pg. 323, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.
    [7] See note 5. Upon purchased from Seaouke Yue, Freer had this object - and others purchased from Yue at the same time - immediately shipped to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. See: "Special Certificate from American Consular Service," cited in note 4.
    [8] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.
  • Collection

    Freer Gallery of Art Collection
  • Exhibition History

    Afterlife: Ancient Chinese Jades (October 14, 2017 - ongoing)
    Ancient Chinese Jades and Bronzes (November 20, 2010 to January 3, 2016)
    Writing, Carving and Rubbing: China’s Calligraphic Arts (April 4 to October 25, 2009)
    Palaces and Pavilions: Grand Architecture in Chinese Painting (September 29, 2002 to March 30, 2003)
    Year of the Horse: Chinese Horse Paintings (February 24 to September 2, 2002)
    A Brief History of Chinese Writing (April 26, 2000 to February 9, 2002)
    Chinese Metalwork (May 9, 1993 to March 21, 1997)
    Ancient Chinese Jade (September 4, 1980 to March 6, 1981)
    American Paintings (September 8, 1961 to May 2, 1973)
    Chinese Bronze, Jade, Metalwork (March 1, 1957 to January 1, 1963)
    Centennial Exhibition, Galleries 14 and 15 (February 25, 1956 to March 1, 1957)
    Untitled Exhibition, Ancient Chinese Jade and Bronze (August 26, 1955 to October 25, 1955)
    Untitled Exhibition, Ancient Chinese Art, 1946 (May 7, 1946 to February 25, 1956)
    Untitled Exhibition, Ancient Chinese Art, 1945 (January 9, 1945 to August 20, 1955)
    Untitled Exhibition, Ancient Chinese Art, 1944 (December 13, 1944 to May 7, 1946)
    Untitled Exhibition, Chinese Art, 1944 (November 15, 1944 to May 6, 1946)
    Untitled Exhibition, Ancient Chinese Art, 1943 (March 22, 1943 to November 17, 1944)
    Untitled Exhibition, Chinese Metalwork (March 14, 1931 to March 22, 1943)
  • Previous custodian or owner

    Wu Ching-t'ing 武敬亭
    Duanfang 端方 (1861-1911)
    Descendants of Duanfang (20th century)
    You Xiaoxi 游篠溪 (late 19th-early 20th century) (C.L. Freer source)
    Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919)
  • Origin

    probably Henan province, China
  • Culture

    Erlitou culture, ca. 2000-1600 BCE
  • Credit Line

    Gift of Charles Lang Freer
  • Type

    Ceremonial Object
  • On View

    Freer Gallery 19: Afterlife: Ancient Chinese Jades
  • Restrictions and Rights

    CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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