Plaque in the form of addorsed dragons with dragon interlace

Historical period(s)
Spring and Autumn period-early Warring States period, Eastern Zhou dynasty, 6th-5th century BCE
Bronze with gold foil
H x W x D (overall): 13.1 x 9.5 x 0.1 cm (5 3/16 x 3 3/4 x 1/16 in)
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
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Jewelry and Ornament, Metalwork


casting, China, dragon, Eastern Zhou dynasty (770 - 221 BCE), Paul Singer collection, repousse, Spring and Autumn period (770 - 476 BCE), Warring States period (475 - 221 BCE)

W. Burchard, London [1]

To 1959
Abel William Bahr (1877-1959), Ridgefield, Connecticut [2]

From 1959 to 1960
Edna H. Bahr (d. 1978), by descent from her father, Abel William Bahr [3]

From 1960 to 1997
Paul Singer (1904-1997), Summit, New Jersey, purchased from Edna H. Bahr in 1960 [4]

From 1997
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, bequeathed by Paul Singer [5]


[1] See Exhibition of Gold and Silver in Early Chinese Art (London: W. Burchard, November –December 1938), cat. 1 (ill.). According to the catalogue’s foreword, the objects in the exhibition, including RLS1997.48.4508, had been collected in China during the previous year.

[2] Paul Singer’s acquisition of the plaque from Edna Bahr, the daughter of Abel W. Bahr, was mentioned in his correspondence with Henry Trubner and Zheng Dekun, see letter from Henry Trubner to Singer, dated June 21, 1960 and letter from Zheng Dekun to Singer, dated 24 July, 1960, Paul Singer Papers, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. The collector Abel W. Bahr was born in Shanghai and lived in China until about 1911, when he moved first to London, then to New York, Montreal, and eventually Ridgefield, Connecticut.

[3] See note 1.

[4] See note 1. Singer discussed the circumstances of the plaque’s acquisition from the Bahr collection in his memoirs completed in February 1993, see Paul Singer, “Reminiscences of a Transient Custodian,” ms., Paul Singer Papers, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, p. 106-108. Shortly after the acquisition the plaque was exhibited and published in Emma Bunker, The Art of Eastern Chou (New York, The Chinese Society of America, 1962), cat. 20. Subsequently, it was reproduced in a catalogue of the Singer collection published on occasion of the exhibition curated by Max Loehr in 1965 and in a catalogue of the exhibition organized by Singer in 1972, see M. Loehr, Relics of Ancient China (New York 1965), cat. 53 (ill.); Early Chinese Gold and Silver (New York: China Institute in America, 1972), cat. 2 (ill.). The collection of Chinese art and antiquities assembled by Paul Singer over time was purchased by him on behalf of Arthur M. Sackler, Jillian Sackler, The Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, the AMS Foundation for the Arts, Sciences and Humanities and later was transferred to the children of Arthur M. Sackler.

[5] Upon Paul Singer’s death in January 1997, his collection was transferred to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery by order of the Executors of the Estate under a loan agreement signed on February 1997. Shortly thereafter, the Sackler Gallery was vested with full ownership and title to the collection in full agreement by the Sackler Foundations and Sackler family members. The formal accession of the Singer collection was completed in 2012.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Edna H. Bahr died 1978
Abel William Bahr 1877-1959
Dr. Paul Singer 1904-1997

Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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