Archer’s thumbring (ban zhi)

Historical period(s)
Warring States period, Eastern Zhou dynasty, ca. 4th-3rd century BCE
Medium
Jade (nephrite)
Dimensions
H: 5.4 cm (2 1/8 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1939.26
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Jade, Jewelry and Ornament
Type

Archer's thumbring

Keywords
archery, bow, carving, China, Eastern Zhou dynasty (770 - 221 BCE), incising, nephrite, Warring States period (475 - 221 BCE), WWII-era provenance
Provenance

Around 1930
Reportedly discovered in archeological site at Shouzhou, Anhui Province, China [1]

To 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]

Notes:

[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 F1939.6 object file. Zhang Naiji stated that he had obtained the jades, F1939.6‑F1939.26 and F1939.28‑F1939.33, selected by the Freer Gallery from a group of about 350 pieces offered for sale, 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 & Company, New York acting as agent for the owner and the payment was made on April 17, 1939. Zhang Naiji (also known as N.C. Chang) was a businessman, born to a prestigious family in Zhejiang that made their wealth in the silk and salt industries. He collected ancient Chinese art objects and Chinese coins. Zhang amassed his collection whilst living in Shanghai, before leaving for America in 1938. Zhang did not return to China until 1946. While the earliest documentation of Zhang's ownership of the jade dates to February 1939, we know that he acquired the objects in China before his departure.

[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 1914-1948

Published References
  • Na Chih-liang. "玉器通史." Yu ch'i t'ung shih (A General Study of Chinese Jade). Hong Kong, 1965. p. 35, fig. 41.1.
  • Chang Wen-chi. "中国玉器歷代史." Chung-kuo yu ch'i li tai shih. Hong Kong, 1978. p. 67.
  • Thomas Lawton. Chinese Art of the Warring States Period: Change and Continuity, 480-222 B.C. Washington, 1982-1983. cat. 93, p. 146.
  • Joan Hartman-Goldsmith. Early Chinese Jades at the Freer Gallery. vol. 27, no. 4, Winter 1981-1982. pp. 446-449, fig. 5.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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