Pendant in the form of a coiled dragon

Ornament; encircled or curled dragon; open center; semi-translucent light green. (Spotty calcification; some cracks; earthy deposits.)

Historical period(s)
Anyang period, Late Shang dynasty, ca. 1300-ca. 1050 BCE
Medium
Jade (nephrite)
Dimensions
H x W x D: 4.4 × 3.1 × 2 cm (1 3/4 × 1 1/4 × 13/16 in)
Geography
China, probably Henan province, Anyang
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S1987.597
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Jade, Jewelry and Ornament
Type

Jewelry

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

As early as 1928
Likely discovered in Anyang, Honan Province, China. [1]

At least by 1934 to 1948
Zhang Naiji (1899–1948), Shanghai, China then New York, NY [2]

1948 to early 1950s
Zhang Mei Chien (1901–c.1955), New York, NY inherited upon her husband’s death [2]

Early 1950s to 1950
C.T. Loo & Company, New York, NY and Paris, France purchased from ZHANG Mei Chien in New York, NY [4]

1950 to 1953
C.T. Loo, INC., New York, NY by transfer from C.T. Loo & Company, New York in 1950 [5]

1953 to 1961
C.T. Loo Chinese Art, New York, NY by transfer from C.T. Loo, INC. on September 1, 1952 [6]

Around 1961 to 1964
Frank Caro Chinese Art, New York, New York, mode of acquisition unknown [7]

From 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 [5]

Notes

[1] Object published in “An Exhibition of Chinese Archaic Jades,” Norton Gallery of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida, January 20 to March 1, 1950, Plate X, image 5, and dated to the Yin-Chou period, which the author links to the early or “pre-Chou” period. In an earlier publication that presented objects owned by the same collector, Zhang Naiji, (see note 2), the author notes that Yin-Chou corresponds to the “Early Western Chou” period and objects dating to this period were mostly unearthed in archeological sites at Anyang, Honan Province, China (see: “Archaic Chinese Jades, Special Exhibition,” The University Museum, Philadelphia, February 1940, page7-9). Excavations at Anyang began in 1928.

[2] Ownership indicated in the exhibition catalogue for “The International Exhibition of Chinese Art, 1935-6” at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, cat. 284. 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 45 objects to the International Exhibition of Chinese Art and it is likely that these objects remained in his possession after the exhibition. At least 11 of the jades that Zhang lent to this exhibition came with him when he moved to New York in 1938 and were ultimately sold through C.T. Loo & Company (three of which are in the collection of the FǀS: S2012.9.328; S1987.597; and RLS1997.48.4374). There is no evidence to suggest that Zhang sold any of his jades during the European exhibition; his collection likely remained intact until he moved to America in 1938. C.T. Loo & Company held pieces of his jade collection – including this object – on consignment through Zhang Naiji’s death.

[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 J.T. Tai & Company and Frank Caro of C.T. Loo & 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.

[5] In 1950, C.T. Loo announced his retirement from C.T. Loo & Company, New York and Paris. Between 1950 and 1952, he continued to do business, however, he did so under the name C.T. Loo, INC. and organized exhibitions of his company’s stock using this new business name. C.T. Loo’s daughter, Janie Emanuel operated the Paris branch of C.T. Loo & Company as C.T. Loo & Cie., Arts d’Asie.

[6] On September 1, 1952, C.T. Loo’s associate, Frank Caro (1904-1980) took over daily operations of the New York business. C.T. Loo, INC. was dissolved by the summer of 1953 and Caro operated as 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. It is unclear when C.T. Loo Chinese Art acquired items from Zhang Mei Chien, but we know they did as this object and several other jades from Zhang’s collection were sold by Frank Caro through his subsequent business.

[7] 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 sold this object to Dr. Arthur Sackler. See “J-24 - Archaic jade pendent with large center hold of a curled animal in round (incompletely carved piece). Chang’s Collection” on invoice from Frank Caro, Chinese Art to Arthur M. Sackler, August 27, 1964, located in accession file.

[8] See Frank Caro Chinese Art invoice to Arthur M. Sackler, August 27, 1964 cited in note 7.

[9] 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 & Company 1914-1948
C.T. Loo, INC. ca. 1948-no later than July 1953
C.T. Loo Chinese Art 1953-1961
Frank Caro Chinese Art 1962-1980

Description

Ornament; encircled or curled dragon; open center; semi-translucent light green. (Spotty calcification; some cracks; earthy deposits.)

Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Jades for Life and Death
Google Cultural Institute
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