Dagger-axe (ge 戈), fragment reworked

This jade ge blade is beveled along the upper and lower edges. The tip of the blade is not beveled but has sloping faces. A prominent median ridge runs from the tip of the blade, through the central perforation, to the tang. One corner of the butt end of the tang is decorated with two receding steps. (Mostly calcified; few nicks, mostly old; brown surface substance; ridge depressed one side—flaw?)

Maker(s)
Artist: Erlitou culture 二里頭 (ca. 2000-1600 BCE)
Historical period(s)
Erlitou culture or early Shang dynasty, ca. 2000-ca. 1400 BCE
Medium
Jade (nephrite)
Dimensions
H x W x D: 9.7 x 31.1 x 0.8 cm (3 13/16 x 12 1/4 x 5/16 in)
Geography
China, probably Henan province
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S1987.700
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Ceremonial Object, Jade
Type

Ceremonial object: dagger-axe (ge)

Keywords
China, Erligang period (ca. 1500 - ca. 1300 BCE), nephrite, WWII-era provenance
Provenance

To 1959
Diedrich Abbes (1866-1959), Greenwich, CT [1]

1959 to 1987
Arthur M. Sackler, New York, purchased from the estate of Diedrich Abbes on July 10, 1959 through Frank Caro, C. T. Loo Chinese Art, New York [2]

From 1987
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of Arthur M. Sackler in 1987 [3]

Notes:

[1] See note on Arthur M. Sackler, M.D. letterhead acknowledging the "purchase and receipt of 17 pieces of stone carvings of the Shang, Yin-Chou and Chou periods from the Dietrich Abbes collection. The price in full, exclusive of commission, will be paid as indicated by this note in two installments," copy in object file.

[2] See note 1. For Frank Caro's involvement, see: letter to Frank Caro from Arnold J. Bai of the law firm Goldstein and Peck, Bridgeport Connecticut, September 28, 1960, copy in object file. The letter asks Frank Caro to have (presumably) his client, Arthur M. Sackler, to send the final payment for the Diedrich Abbes Collection of jades to the law firm. Goldstein and Peck mistakenly identify Mr. Caro's business as C. T. Loo Company, when it was called C. T. Loo Chinese Art.

[3] 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)

Diedrich Abbes 1866-1959
Frank Caro 1904-1980
Dr. Arthur M. Sackler 1913-1987
C.T. Loo Chinese Art 1953 - 1961

Description

This jade ge blade is beveled along the upper and lower edges. The tip of the blade is not beveled but has sloping faces. A prominent median ridge runs from the tip of the blade, through the central perforation, to the tang. One corner of the butt end of the tang is decorated with two receding steps. (Mostly calcified; few nicks, mostly old; brown surface substance; ridge depressed one side—flaw?)

Published References
  • John Johnston, Chan Lai Pik. 5000 Years of Chinese Jade. Exh. cat. San Antonio, Texas, 2011. cat. 15, p. 50.
  • America's Smithsonian: Celebrating 150 Years. Washington, 1996. p. 131.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Jades for Life and Death
Google Cultural Institute
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