Dagger-axe (ge 戈)

Ceremonial weapon of the type ko [ge] 戈. The blade of mottled warm gray and white nephrite (stained by burial) mounted in bronze inlaid with turquoise (one bit missing); perforated tang heavily patinated.

Historical period(s)
Anyang period, Late Shang dynasty, ca. 1300-ca. 1050 BCE
Medium
Bronze with turquoise inlay and jade (nephrite) blade
Dimensions
H x W x D (overall): 10.6 × 41.9 × 0.9 cm (4 3/16 × 16 1/2 × 3/8 in)
Geography
China, probably Henan province, Anyang
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1941.5
On View Location
Freer Gallery 19: Afterlife: Ancient Chinese Jades
Classification(s)
Ceremonial Object, Metalwork
Type

Ceremonial object: dagger-axe (ge)

Keywords
Anyang period (ca. 1300 - ca. 1050 BCE), black and white inlay, China, inlay, nephrite
Provenance
Provenance research underway.
Description

Ceremonial weapon of the type ko [ge] 戈. The blade of mottled warm gray and white nephrite (stained by burial) mounted in bronze inlaid with turquoise (one bit missing); perforated tang heavily patinated.

Label

Tiny turquoise mosaics define the coiled dragons, with beaked head, three-clawed paw, and spiraling tail, on the projecting tang of this dagger-axe. X-radiographs of this object reveals it was assembled from different pieces that might not have belonged together originally and were pinned and soldered in place in modern times. These repairs explain the disorderly areas of turquoise inlay.

Published References
  • J. Keith Wilson, Jingmin Zhang. Jades for Life and Death. .
  • T'an Tan-chiung. Chung-hua i-shu t'u-lu [Chinese Art]. Taipei. pl. 5.
  • Sueji Umehara. Yin hsu: Ancient Capital of the Shang Dynasty at An-yang. Tokyo. pl. 36 (1).
  • Rene Grousset. Chinese Art and Culture. New York. p. xxii.
  • Rene Grousset. La Chine et son Art. Collection Ars et historia Paris. facing p. 29.
  • Chugoku bijutsu [Chinese Art in Western Collections]. 5 vols., Tokyo, 1972-1973. vol. 4: fig. 98c.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Thomas Lawton, Harold P. Stern. The Freer Gallery of Art. 2 vols., Washington and Tokyo, 1971-1972. cat. 16, vol. 1: pp. 154-5.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 12.
  • Dagny Carter. Four Thousand Years of China's Art. New York. p. 19, b.
  • Na Chih-liang. "玉器通史." Yu ch'i t'ung shih [A General Study of Chinese Jade]. Hong Kong, 1965. p. 70, fig. 93.
  • Compiled by the staff of the Freer Gallery of Art. A Descriptive and Illustrative Catalogue of Chinese Bronzes: Acquired During the Administration of John Ellerton Lodge. Oriental Studies Series, no. 3 Washington, 1946. p. 89, pl. 43.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Jades for Life and Death
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