Ge-shaped pendant

Historical period(s)
Anyang period, Shang dynasty or Western Zhou dynasty, ca. 12th-11th century BCE
Jade (nephrite)
H x W x D: 6.9 x 2.4 x 0.4 cm (2 3/4 x 15/16 x 1/8 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Jade, Jewelry and Ornament


Anyang period (ca. 1300 - ca. 1050 BCE), carving, China, nephrite, Shang dynasty (ca. 1600 - ca. 1050 BCE), Western Zhou dynasty (ca. 1050 - 771 BCE), WWII-era provenance

Reportedly excavated in Anyang, Henan province, China [1]

From at least 1939
Zhang Naiji (1899-1948), Shanghai and New York, from at least February 1939 [2]

From 1939
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased through C.T. Loo & Company, New York from Zhang Naiji on April 17, 1939 [3]


[1] According to information provided by Zhang Naiji to John E. Lodge at the time of acquisition, see J. E. Lodge's note, 1939, in object file. Zhang Naiji stated that he had obtained the jades, selected by the Freer Gallery from a group of about 350 pieces offered for sale (F1939.6-F1939.26 and F1939.28-F1939.33), at the places of their excavation. Lodge commented in his 1939 note: "I see no good reason to doubt [Zhang's] statement. I have, therefore, specified Shou Chou, or An-yang, or Lo-yang (Chin Ts'un) as the source of a piece in accordance with Mr. Chang's [Zhang's] designations given in my presence and recorded by me."

[2] See note 1. See also "List of objects contemplated for purchase by Freer Gallery of Art," approved on February 1, 1939, Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List file, copy in object file. According to an annotation on the list, the purchase was made from C. T. Loo & Co., New York acting as agent for the owner and the payment was made on April 17, 1939. Zhang Naiji was a well known collector of ancient Chinese art objects and Chinese coins. While the earliest documentation of Zhang's ownership of the jade dates to February 1939, it is known that Zhang left China in 1938 and did not return there until 1946 [information kindly provided by Daisy Yiyou Wang, email correspondence of May 20, 2009, in object file].

[3] See "List of objects contemplated for purchase by Freer Gallery of Art," cited in note 2.

Previous Owner(s)

Zhang Naiji 1899-1948
C.T. Loo & Company active 1908-1950


The blade known as ge, based on the shape of the metal dagger-axe, is first found at the early Shang site of Erlitou, Henan. A ge consists of a long blade beveled to a sharp edge on the sides, usually with a median crest; a projecting crosspiece with a perforation at the base of the blade; and a narrower butt, or tang, which may be plain or ribbed. Ge blades display great variations in size, from miniature to enormous. This variety of size is understandable in view of the fact that the jade blades were intended only for ceremonial and symbolic purposes, rather than for practical use. Small ge blades are occasionally mounted in bronze handles, usually adorned with inlaid turquoise.

Published References
  • Alfred Salmony. Carved Jade of Ancient China. Berkeley, 1938. pl. 7, no. 4.
  • Paul Pelliot. Jades Archaiques de Chine appartenant a M.C.T. Loo. Paris and Brussels. pls. 8, 9, 16.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum

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