Axe (yue 鉞), made from a collared disk

Ch’i-pi [qibi] 戚璧, or battle axe pi [bi] 璧 disc. Buff colored with some darker mottling.

Historical period(s)
Anyang period, Late Shang dynasty, ca. 1300-ca. 1050 BCE
Medium
Jade (nephrite)
Dimensions
H x W x D: 22.5 x 20.3 x 1.1 cm (8 7/8 x 8 x 7/16 in) Diam (hole): 6.4 cm (2 1/2 in)
Geography
China, Henan province, Probably Anyang
Credit Line
Gift of Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1968.48
On View Location
Freer Gallery 19: Afterlife: Ancient Chinese Jades
Classification(s)
Ceremonial Object, Jade
Type

Ceremonial object: axe

Keywords
Anyang period (ca. 1300 - ca. 1050 BCE), China, nephrite, WWII-era provenance
Provenance

Duanfang (1861-1911) [1]

From at least 1929 to 1968
Eugene Meyer (1875-1959) and Agnes E. Meyer (1887-1970), Washington, DC, and Mt. Kisco, NY, from at least January 12, 1929 [2]

From 1968
Freer Gallery of Art, given by Agnes E. Meyer in 1968 [3]

Notes:

[1] The jade is included in Duanfang’s catalogue of his jade collection, published posthumously in 1936 with a preface by Wang Dalong, see Duanfang, Taozhai gu yu tu vol. 1 (Shanghai, 1936), p. 1a. Duanfang was a late Qing dynasty government official and a well-known collector of Chinese art. See also Thomas Lawton, A Time of Transition: Two Collectors of Chinese Art (Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, 1991), pp. 37-39, fig. 36.

[2] Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer lent the jade to an exhibition in Berlin in 1929, see Ausstellung Chinesischer Kunst Veranstaltet von der Gesellschaft für Ostasiatische Kunst und der Preußischen Akademie der Künste Berlin, exh. cat. (Berlin, January 12 – April 2, 1929), cat. 151, and Chinesische Kunst: zweihundert Hauptwerke der Ausstellung der Gesellschaft für Ostasiatische Kunst in der Preussischen Akademie der Künste, Berlin, 1929, herausgegeben von Otto Kümmel (Berlin: Bruno Cassirer Verlag, 1930), cat. XVIII.

[3] See Agnes E. Meyer’s Deed of Gift, dated July 24, 1967, where the jade is listed as no. 32 in the document’s Annex, copy in object file. The object was accessioned to the Freer Gallery’s collection in 1968.

Previous Owner(s)

Duanfang 1861-1911
Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer (1875-1959) and (1887-1970)

Description

Ch'i-pi [qibi] 戚璧, or battle axe pi [bi] 璧 disc. Buff colored with some darker mottling.

Published References
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Thomas Lawton, Harold P. Stern. The Freer Gallery of Art. 2 vols., Washington and Tokyo, 1971-1972. cat. 15, vol. 1: p. 154.
  • Thomas Lawton. Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Memorial Exhibition. Exh. cat. Washington, 1971. cat. 1, pp. 2-3.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 29.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Jades for Life and Death
Google Cultural Institute
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