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.

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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), China, inlay, nephrite, WWII-era provenance
Provenance

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

From 1940 to 1941
C. T. Loo & Company, New York from October 1940 [2]

From 1941
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from C. T. Loo & Company on March 20, 1941 [3]

Notes:

[1] According to John Lodge's curatorial remark, dated 1941, in object file.

[2] See C. T. Loo's stockcard no. 86942: "Jade knife with bronze handle. One large jade KU with plain bronze handle inlayed with turquoise with designs of birds and an animal mask near the guard. An Yang Shang," C. T. Loo & Frank Caro Archive, Musée Guimet, Paris, copy in object file. The object was brought by Loo to the Freer Gallery for examination on November 13, 1940.

[3] See C. T. Loo's invoice, dated March 20, 1941, copy in object file.

Previous Owner(s)

C.T. Loo & Company 1914-1948

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
  • 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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