Dagger-axe (ge 戈)

Ceremonial blade with inlaid bronze handle, pointed blade. (Bronze handle fragile, deteriorated, has incrustations, heavy green patina; nicks in edge of blade and blade incrusted with dirt.)

Historical period(s)
Anyang period, Late Shang dynasty, ca. 1300-ca. 1050 BCE
Medium
Bronze with turquoise inlay and jade (nephrite) blade
Dimensions
H x W x D (overall): 8.7 × 24.2 × 1.1 cm (3 7/16 × 9 1/2 × 7/16 in)
Geography
China, probably Henan province, Anyang
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S1987.712
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Ceremonial Object, Metalwork
Type

Ceremonial object: dagger-axe (ge)

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

As early as 1928
Likely discovered at archeological sites in Anyang, Honan Province, China [1]

To 1948
Zhang Naiji (1899–1948), Shanghai, China then New York, NY [2]

1948 to 1954
Zhang Mei Chien (1901–c.1955), New York, NY inherited upon her husband’s death [3]

From 1948 to no later than 1986
J. T. Tai & Company, New York, NY purchased from Zhang Mei Chien in July 1954 in New York, NY [4]

To 1987
Arthur M. Sackler, New York, NY purchased from J. T. Tai & Company in New York, NY [5]

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

Notes:

[1] Object published in Archaic Chinese Jades: Special Exhibition (Philadelphia: The University Museum, February 1940), cat. 46. Catalogue entry notes discovery site. Excavations at Anyang began in 1928.

[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).

[3] Zhang Mei Chien, Zhang Naiji’s wife, assumed ownership upon his death in 1948.

[4] J. T. Tai & Company inventory number: Y T 1159. J. T. Tai & Company purchased numerous jades from Mrs. Zhang in July of 1964 ((for example, see J. T. Tai & Company Stock Record YT 886 and YT 895, copies in COM provenance files).
Arthur M. Sackler cataloguing document, compiled by conservators on January 2, 1986, includes the dealer number (see original binders in F|S COM office, copy of singular page located in accession file).

[5] See note 4. This object was part of Arthur M. Sackler’s 1987 gift to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (see note 6).

[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)

Zhang Naiji 1899-1948
Zhang Mei Chien 1900-1998
Dr. Arthur M. Sackler 1913-1987
C.T. Loo & Company 1914-1948
J.T. Tai & Co. established in 1950

Description

Ceremonial blade with inlaid bronze handle, pointed blade. (Bronze handle fragile, deteriorated, has incrustations, heavy green patina; nicks in edge of blade and blade incrusted with dirt.)

Published References
  • , et al. Asian Art in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery: The Inaugural Gift. Washington, 1987. cat. 47, p. 91.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Jades for Life and Death
Google Cultural Institute
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