Pendant in the form of a bird

Pendant bird (peacock?); carved in the round; pierced; translucent yellow-gray. (Crest broken off; clouds of calcification; surface rough.)

Historical period(s)
Anyang period, Late Shang dynasty, ca. 1300-ca. 1050 BCE
Medium
Jade (nephrite)
Dimensions
H x W x D: 2.6 x 3 x 0.5 cm (1 x 1 3/16 x 3/16 in)
Geography
China, probably Henan province, Anyang
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S1987.559
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Jade, Jewelry and Ornament
Type

Jewelry

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

As early as 1928
Likely produced shortly after the discovery of archeological sites in Anyang, Honan Province, China [1]

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

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

Likely around 1954 to 1961
C.T. Loo Chinese Art, New York, NY purchased from Zhang Mei Chien in New York [4]

Likely around 1961 to 1964
Frank Caro Chinese Art, New York, New York, mode of acquisition unknown [6]

Likely around 1964 to 1987
Arthur M. Sackler, New York, NY purchased from Frank Caro Chinese Art, on August 27, 1964 in New York, NY [5]

From 1987
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of Arthur M. Sackler on September 11, 1987 [6]

Notes:

[1] Object published in Archaic Chinese Jades: Special Exhibition (Philadelphia: The University Museum, February 1940), cat. 102. Catalogue entry notes discovery site. Excavations at Anyang began in 1928. This object closely resembles the style of the Anyang Period and was likely produced shortly after the site’s discovery. Zhang purchased many of his works near or at archeological sites (see: see: Alfred Salmony, Chinese Jade: Through the Wei Dynasty. New York: The Ronald Press Company, 1963, 115).

[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 (1940). 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 (later known as C.T. Loo, INC. and then C.T. Loo Chinese Art – see notes 4 and 5) 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. On September 1, 1952, C.T. Loo’s associate, Frank Caro (1904-1980) took over daily operations of the New York business, operating at C.T. Loo Chinese Art. Loo continued to play a large role in the business, as he and Caro struck a deal in which profits made on Loo’s stock would be evenly divided and Loo would maintain the lease and rental payments on the company’s gallery space. C.T. Loo Chinese Art kept the same stock number that C. T. Loo & Company assigned it when consigning for ZHANG Naiji: J- 143 (see note 5).

[5] In 1961, Loo and Caro’s agreement ended. C.T. Loo & Cie., Paris, France took control of C. T. Loo Chinese Art, New York’s stock that C.T. Loo had added to the inventory before his death in 1957. Frank Caro then opened Frank Caro Chinese Art. Caro acquired pieces from Loo’s original stock (the mode of acquisition is unknown) and incorporated them into his own stock. Frank Caro Chinese Art continued to use the stock numbers assigned to objects by C.T. Loo Chinese Art. Frank Caro Chinese Art likely sold this object to Dr. Arthur Sackler.
On August 27 1964, Frank Caro sold Arthur M. Sackler nearly 50 jades that had been in Zhang’s collection amongst several other ancient jades from various other collections. Sackler inventoried these objects with his own numbering system and this object, which Sackler numbered J-568, falls within the group of others purchased this day. It is possible that C.T. Loo & Frank Caro inventoried this object as J-143, “Archaic jade pendent in form of bird. Greenish jade. Western Chou. Lt. 1- 1/8 ins” (see copy of invoice in accession file).

[6] See note 5. This object was part of Arthur M. Sackler’s 1987 foundational gift.

[7] Pursuant to the agreement between Arthur M. Sackler and the Smithsonian Institution dated July 28, 1982, legal title of the donated objects was transferred to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery on September 11, 1987.

Previous Owner(s)

Zhang Naiji 1899-1948
Zhang Mei Chien 1900-1998
Dr. Arthur M. Sackler 1913-1987
C.T. Loo Chinese Art 1953-1961
Frank Caro Chinese Art 1962-1980

Description

Pendant bird (peacock?); carved in the round; pierced; translucent yellow-gray. (Crest broken off; clouds of calcification; surface rough.)

Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Jades for Life and Death
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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