Iron sword with jade guard (tie jian yu zhi)

Historical period(s)
Han dynasty, 1st century BCE-2nd century CE
Jade and iron
H x W x D: 44.5 x 5.4 x 2.2 cm (17 1/2 x 2 1/8 x 7/8 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Jade, Weapon and Armament

Sword and sword guard

China, Han dynasty (206 BCE - 220 CE), WWII-era provenance

C.T. Loo & Company, New York [1]

To 1964
Frank Caro, C.T. Loo & Company, New York [2]

From 1959 to 1987
Arthur M. Sackler, New York, purchased from Frank Caro on July 27, 1959 [3]

From 1987
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of Arthur M. Sackler on September 11, 1987 [4]


[1] C.T. Loo stockcard no. F 384, according to information provided by the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, October 9, 2009. Information also includes reference to "From China 1939", and a sold file at the Frank Caro Archive, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.

[2] F. Caro stockcard no. E-5506: "Iron sword; decayed iron blade adorned with a chicken bone jade guard beautifully carved with a curled dragon in relief surrounded by raised spirals. Together with this objects are two jades, orignally ornaments or the sheath. Borth [sic] of chicken bone jade, one is decorated with a powerful dragon in high relief and was mounted in the center to which cords or tassels were attached. The other decorated with a low relief mask design terminated the end of the sheath," according to information provided by the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, October 9, 2009. Frank Caro, Loo’s associate, acquired C.T. Loo's stock after liquidation of C.T. Loo & Co. in 1950.

[3] See Frank Caro's invoice dated July 27, 1959, copy in object file provided by the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, October 9, 2009.

[4] 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)

Frank Caro 1904-1980
C.T. Loo & Company active 1908-1950
Dr. Arthur M. Sackler 1913-1987

Published References
  • C.T. Loo & Company (Introduction) Lindsay Hughes Cooper. An Exhibition of Archaic Chinese Jades. Exh. cat. New York. pl. 59, 10.
  • et al. Asian Art in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery: The Inaugural Gift. Washington, 1987. cat. 70, p. 114.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum