Plaque

Historical period(s)
Eastern Zhou or Western Han dynasty, 3rd-2nd century BCE
Medium
Jade
Dimensions
H x W x D: 3.6 x 3 x 0.3 cm (1 7/16 x 1 3/16 x 1/8 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
The Dr. Paul Singer Collection of Chinese Art of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; a joint gift of the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, Paul Singer, the AMS Foundation for the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities, and the Children of Arthur M. Sackler
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
RLS1997.48.2775
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Jade, Jewelry and Ornament
Type

Plaque

Keywords
carving, China, Eastern Zhou dynasty (770 - 221 BCE), Paul Singer collection, Western Han dynasty (206 BCE - 9 CE)
Provenance

1931 to 1932
Discovered in tomb located in Shouxian, Anhwei Province, China [1]

To 1948
Naiji Zhang (1899–1948), Shanghai, China then New York, NY [2]

1948 to 1954
Mei Chien Zhang (1901–c.1955), New York, NY inherited upon her husband’s death [3]

1954 to 1958
J.T. Tai & Company, New York, NY likely purchased from Zhang Mei Chien during July 1954 in New York, NY [4]

1958 to 1997
Dr. Paul Singer, Summit, NJ, purchased from J.T. Tai & Company on 11/8/1958 in New York, NY [5]

From 1997 to 1999
In the custody of Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, upon Paul Singer’s death in January 1997 and a loan agreement between the Executors of the Singer Estate and the Gallery in February 1997[6]

From 1999
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, Paul Singer, the AMS Foundation for the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities, and the Children of Arthur M. Sackler [7]

Notes:

[1] Object published in Archaic Chinese Jades: Special Exhibition (Philadelphia: The University Museum, February 1940), cat. 221. Catalogue entry notes discovery site as Shou-hsien (now known as Shouxian), where tombs were exposed between 1931 and 1932. During this period the tombs were never properly excavated.

[2] 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, and acquired his objects onsite of archeological excavations (see: Alfred Salmony, Chinese Jade through the Wei Dynasty. New York: The Ronald Press Company, 1963: 115.).

Zhang lent his collection anonymously to Archaic Chinese Jades: Special Exhibition. We know his identity through letters housed in the Department of Archives, The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (see: letter, C.T. Loo to Horace Jayne, 25 October 1939 and letter, from C.T. Loo to Horace Jayne, 16 December 1939), copies in FǀS COM provenance files. The exhibition was entirely organized by C.T. Loo & Company, New York. Letters exchanged between C.T. Loo and the director of The University Museum, Mr. Horace H.F. Jayne, reveal that Zhang Naiji owned the objects and C.T. Loo & Company had the collection on consignment (see: letter, from C.T. Loo to Horace Jayne, 28 May 1939 and letter, from C.T. Loo to Horace Jayne, 23 October 1940, copies on COM provenance files). C.T. Loo & Company kept the jade collection on consignment from 1940 through Zhang’s death in 1948, inventorying the pieces with a prefix “J” and labeling each item as “Chang Collection.”

[3] Zhang Mei Chien, Zhang Naiji’s wife, assumed ownership upon his death in 1948. She sold several pieces from her husband’s collection to both C.T. Loo & Company (which later operated as Frank Caro Chinese Art) and J.T. Tai & Company. She sold to J.T. Tai & Company in July 1954 (for example, see J.T. Tai & Company Stock Record YT 886 and YT 895, copies in COM provenance files).

[4] See note 3. Likely on sales slip from J.T. Tai & Company to Dr. Paul Singer, object YT 1114, 11/8/1958, copy located in object file, original located in FǀS Archives, Paul Singer Papers, box 17, folder 17.

In Paul Singer’s memoirs, he reports that he acquired 17 “of the Chiang Nai-chi jades, some of which Mr. Chang lent to the 1935-1936 International Exhibition of Chinese Art” through J.T. Tai & Company. See: Reminiscences of a Transient Custodian,” ms. Paul Singer Papers, FǀS Archives, p.83-84.

[5] See note 4. The collection of Chinese art and antiquities assembled by Paul Singer over time was purchased by him on behalf of Arthur M. Sackler, Jullian Sackler, The Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, the AMS Foundation for the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities and was later transferred to the children of Arthur M. Sackler.

[6] The Dr. Paul Singer Collection of Chinese Art came into the custody of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, upon Paul Singer’s death in January 1997 and a loan agreement between the Executors of the Singer Estate and the Gallery in February 1997.

[7] See “The Dr. Paul Singer Collection of Chinese Art Gift Agreement,” March 1999, FǀS COM Office. The object was formally accessioned into the museum collection in 2012.

Previous Owner(s)

Zhang Naiji 1899-1948
Zhang Mei Chien 1900-1998
Dr. Paul Singer 1904-1997
C.T. Loo & Company 1914-1948
J.T. Tai & Co. established in 1950

Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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