Dragon Pendant

Historical period(s)
Eastern Zhou dynasty, 600-400 BCE
Medium
Jade
Dimensions
H x W x D: 2.4 x 5.8 x 0.2 cm (15/16 x 2 5/16 x 1/16 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S1987.643
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Jade, Jewelry and Ornament
Type

Jewelry

Keywords
carving, China, dragon, Eastern Zhou dynasty (770 - 221 BCE), WWII-era provenance
Provenance

1928 to 1929
Likely Discovered in tomb located in in Jincun, Honan Provence, 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]
Around 1954 to 1961
C. T. Loo Chinese Art, New York, NY likely purchased from Zhang Mei Chien in New York [4]

1961 to 1964
Frank Caro Chinese Art, New York, NY mode of acquisition unknown [5]

1964 to 1987
Arthur M. Sackler, New York, NY purchased from Frank Caro Chinese Art on August 27, 1964 in New York, NY [6]

From 1987
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Gift of Arthur M. Sackler on September 11, 1987 [7]

Notes:

[1] This object is one in a pendant set, once owned by Zhang Naiji (see note 2). The pendant’s pair, S1987.866 is noted as Chin ts’un (now known as Juncun), see: Archaic Chinese Jades: Special Exhibition (Philadelphia: The University Museum, February 1940), cat. 81. Several tombs near Chin ts’un (Jincun) in Western Honan were discovered in the summer of 1928 after heavy rain, when sinkholes began to emerge. Immediately upon discovery, the tombs were heavily scavenged by locals. Only two tombs were systematically excavated (See: William Charles White, Tombs of Old Lo-Yang: A Record of the Construction and Contents of a group of Royal Tombs at Chin-ts’un, probably dating to 550 bc. Shanghai: Kelly & Walsh Limited, 1934 and William Charles White, “China’s Cultural Heritage” in Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada vol. 37 (1943): 151).

[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.” This object was inventoried as J-14b (see invoice cited in note 5).

[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 in July 1954. It is unclear when Frank Caro, C. T. Loo’s associate and successor to C. T. Loo & Company, purchased items from Zhang Mei Chien.

[4] C. T. Loo, of C. T. Loo & Company, displayed Zhang’s jade collection in the 1940 Philadelphia exhibition (see note 1). 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.

[5] See Frank Caro Chinese Art invoice addressed to Arthur M. Sackler, dated August 27, 1964, information provided by the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, October 9, 2009, copy located in object file and in FǀS COM provenance files. 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).

[6] See note 5.

[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
Frank Caro 1904-1980
Dr. Arthur M. Sackler 1913-1987
C.T. Loo & Company 1914-1948

Published References
  • C.T. Loo & Company, (Introduction) Lindsay Hughes Cooper. An Exhibition of Archaic Chinese Jades. Exh. cat. New York. pl. 50, 1.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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