Ancestor tablet with bird and human hybrid

Long rectangular jade handle with an irregularly shaped projection at the lower end, possibly for insertion into some other material. Incised ornamentation on both sides rendered in double outlines and sloping cuts, with a bird atop a human figure. (Flawed, worn; calcified.)

Historical period(s)
Western Zhou dynasty, ca. 1050-ca. 950 BCE
Medium
Jade (nephrite with serpentine)
Dimensions
H x W x D: 10 x 2 x 0.6 cm (3 15/16 x 13/16 x 1/4 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S1987.665
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Ceremonial Object, Jade
Type

Ceremonial object: tablet

Keywords
bird, China, nephrite, Western Zhou dynasty (ca. 1050 - 771 BCE), WWII-era provenance
Provenance

By 1941 to 1948
C. T. Loo & Company, New York, NY [1]

1948 to 1953
C. T. Loo, INC., New York, NY by transfer from C. T. Loo & Company, NY [2]

1953 to 1961
C. T. Loo Chinese Art, New York, NY by transfer from C. T. Loo, INC., NY [3]

1961 to 1964
Frank Caro Chinese Art, New York, NY, mode of acquisition known [4]

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

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

Notes:

[1] C. T. Loo & Company featured the object in a 1941 sale; see C. T. Loo & Company, Exhibition of Chinese Arts, catalogue of a Special Sale. C. T. Loo & Company, New York, NY (November 1,1941 to April 30, 1942), no. 287.

[2] C. T. Loo formed C. T. Loo, INC. in 1948 when C. T. Loo & Company could no longer access trade in China.

[3] 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.

[4] 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). Frank Caro Chinese Art inventory no. E 5638: “Jade tablet (jade cat. Pl 33 #5 and Red Cat. #287),” see invoice from Frank Caro Chinese Art to Arthur M. Sackler, August 27, 1964, copy in object file.

[5] See invoice cited in note 4.

[6] 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)

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

Long rectangular jade handle with an irregularly shaped projection at the lower end, possibly for insertion into some other material. Incised ornamentation on both sides rendered in double outlines and sloping cuts, with a bird atop a human figure. (Flawed, worn; calcified.)

Published References
  • Exhibition of Chinese Arts, Special Sale. Exh. cat. New York, 1941-1942. no. 287.
  • C.T. Loo & Company, (Introduction) Lindsay Hughes Cooper. An Exhibition of Archaic Chinese Jades. Exh. cat. New York. pl. 33, 5.
  • Jessica Rawson. Chinese Jade from the Neolithic to the Qing. London, 1995. p. 25, fig. 1.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Jades for Life and Death
Google Cultural Institute
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