Finial in the form of a bird

Flat, thin ornament of translucent, gray green nephrite with whiter areas; a bird in profile silhouette with details defined by double grooves on both surfaces; two holes for suspension.

Historical period(s)
Anyang period, Forgery in the style of the late Shang dynasty, Anyang period, 20th century
Medium
Jade (nephrite)
Dimensions
H x W x D: 9.1 x 4 x 0.3 cm (3 9/16 x 1 9/16 x 1/8 in)
Geography
China, said to have been unearthed at Anyang
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
F1939.6
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Jade, Jewelry and Ornament
Type

Ceremonial object

Keywords
Anyang period (ca. 1300 - ca. 1050 BCE), bird, carving, China, fitting, forgery, nephrite, Shang dynasty (ca. 1600 - ca. 1050 BCE), WWII-era provenance
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]

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 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 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 an 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 1914 - 1948

Description

Flat, thin ornament of translucent, gray green nephrite with whiter areas; a bird in profile silhouette with details defined by double grooves on both surfaces; two holes for suspension.

Published References
  • Alfred Salmony. Carved Jade of Ancient China. Berkeley, 1938. pls. 17-18.
  • Paul Pelliot. Jades Archaiques de Chine appartenant a M.C.T. Loo. Paris and Brussels. pl. 16, fig. 1.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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