Pendant in the form of a dragon

Historical period(s)
Western Zhou dynasty, ca. 1050-ca. 950 BCE
Medium
Jade (nephrite)
Dimensions
H x W x D (overall): 2.1 × 3.4 × 0.8 cm (13/16 × 1 5/16 × 5/16 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
The Dr. Paul Singer Collection of Chinese Art of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; a joint gift of the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, Paul Singer, the AMS Foundation for the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities, and the Children of Arthur M. Sackler
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S2012.9.1547
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Jade, Jewelry and Ornament
Type

Jewelry

Keywords
China, dragon, nephrite, Paul Singer collection, Western Zhou dynasty (ca. 1050 - 771 BCE)
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 1954
Zhang Mei Chien (1901–c.1955), New York, NY inherited upon her husband’s death [3]

1954 to 1958
J. T. Tai & Company, New York, NY likely purchased from Zhang Mei Chien during July 1954 in New York, NY [4]

1958 to 1997
Dr. Paul Singer, Summit, NJ, purchased from J. T. Tai & Company on 8/26/58 in New York, NY [5]

From 1997 to 1999
In the custody of Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, upon Paul Singer’s death in January 1997 and loan agreement in February 1997 [6]

From 1999
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, Paul Singer, the AMS Foundation for the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities, and the Children of Arthur M. Sackler [7]

Notes:

[1] Discovery site noted as Chin ts’un (now known as Juncun), see: Archaic Chinese Jades: Special Exhibition (Philadelphia: The University Museum, February 1940), cat. 205. 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.”

[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 both C. T. Loo & Company (which later operated as Frank Caro Chinese Art) and J. T. Tai & Company. She sold to J. T. Tai & Company in July 1954 (for example, see J. T. Tai & Company Stock Record YT 886 and YT 895, copies in COM provenance files).

[4] See note 3. Sales Slip from J. T. Tai & Company to Dr. Paul Singer, 8/26/58, includes an object identified as YT 905, copy located in acquisition folder, original located in FǀS Archives, Paul Singer Papers, Box 17, Folder 17.

In Paul Singer’s memoirs, he notes that he acquired 17 “of the Chiang Nai-chi jades, some of which Mr. Chang lent to the 1935-1936 International Exhibition of Chinese Art,” see: Reminiscences of a Transient Custodian,” ms. Paul Singer Papers, FǀS Archives, p.83-84

[5] See note 4.The collection of Chinese art and antiquities assembled by Paul Singer over time was purchased by him on behalf of Arthur M. Sackler, Jullian Sackler, The Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, the AMS Foundation for the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities and was later transferred to the children of Arthur M. Sackler.

[6] The Dr. Paul Singer Collection of Chinese Art came into the custody of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, upon Paul Singer’s death in January 1997 and loan agreement in February 1997

[7] See “The Dr. Paul Singer Collection of Chinese Art Gift Agreement,” March 1999, FǀS COM Office. The object was formally accessioned into the museum collection in 2012.

Previous Owner(s)

Zhang Naiji 1899-1948
Zhang Mei Chien 1900-1998
Dr. Paul Singer 1904-1997
C.T. Loo & Company 1914-1948
J.T. Tai & Co. established in 1950

Published References
  • (Introduction) Horace Jayne. Archaic Chinese Jades. Exh. cat. Philadelphia, PA, February 1940. no. 205.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Jades for Life and Death
Google Cultural Institute
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