Axe (yue 鉞)

Detail of a pattern
Image 1 of 2

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At A Glance

On View
  • Period

    ca. 1250-ca. 1050 BCE
  • Geography

    Anyang, probably Henan province, China
  • Material

    Jade (nephrite)
  • Dimension

    H x W x D: 16 × 8.8 × 1.1 cm (6 5/16 × 3 7/16 × 7/16 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Description

    Blade, flared rectangular shape, center of sides with carved, shaped notches; pierced in three places; opaque marbled grays, greenish tones. (Flaws between suspension holes on front; soil adhering to surface; small nick in blade edge; abraded area between suspension holes near top on back.)
  • Previous custodian or owner

    C.T. Loo & Company (1914-1948)
    Diedrich Abbes (1866-1959)
    Dr. Arthur M. Sackler (1913-1987)
  • Provenance

    1936 to 1937
    C. T. Loo & Company, New York, NY acquired in November 1936 [1]
    1937 to 1959
    Diedrich Abbes (1866-1959), Greenwich, Connecticut purchased from C. T. Loo & Company, New York on January 7, 1937 [2]
    1959 to 1987
    Arthur M. Sackler, New York, purchased from the estate of Diedrich Abbes on July 10, 1959 through Frank Caro, C. T. Loo Chinese Art, New York [3]
    From 1987
    Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of Arthur M. Sackler in 1987 [4]
    [1] See C. T. Loo & Company stock card no 65425: “Bluish and brown jade hatchet with three holes. In a box. January 7, 1937 sold Mr. Abbes,” copy in object file. This card has no date, however, the preceding stock number, 65424 is dated to November 18, 1936. It is likely that this object was acquired at the same time.
    [2] See note 1.
    [3] See letter written on Arthur M. Sackler, M.D. letterhead acknowledging the "purchase and receipt of 17 pieces of stone carvings of the Shang, Yin-Chou and Chou periods from the Dietrich Abbes collection. The price in full, exclusive of commission, will be paid as indicated by this note in two installments," copy in object file. See also letter to Frank Caro from Arnold J. Bai of the law firm Goldstein and Peck, Bridgeport Connecticut, September 28, 1960, copy in object file. The letter asks Frank Caro to have (presumably) his client, Arthur M. Sackler, to send the final payment for the Diedrich Abbes Collection of jades to the law firm. Goldstein and Peck mistakenly identify Mr. Caro’s business as C. T. Loo Company, when it was actually C. T. Loo Chinese Art.
    [4] Pursuant to the agreement between Arthur M. Sackler and the Smithsonian Institution, dated July 28, 1982, legal title of the donated objects was transferred to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery on September 11, 1987.
  • Origin

    Anyang, probably Henan province, China
  • Credit Line

    Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
  • Type

    Ceremonial Object
  • On View

    Sackler Gallery 24a: Anyang: China's Ancient City of Kings
  • Restrictions and Rights

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