Fitting with taotie

Historical period(s)
Anyang period, Late Shang dynasty, ca. 1300-1050 BCE
H x W x D (overall): 3.4 x 2.8 x 1.1 cm (1 5/16 x 1 1/8 x 7/16 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


Anyang period (ca. 1300 - ca. 1050 BCE), China, Paul Singer collection, taotie

As early as 1928
Likely discovered in Anyang, Honan Province, China. [1]

By 1934 to 1948
Naiji Zhang (1899–1948), Shanghai, China then New York, NY [2]

1948 to around 1954
Mei Chien Zhang (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 in New York, NY during July 1954 [4]

From 1958 to 1997
Dr. Paul Singer, Summit, New Jersey, likely purchased from J. T. Tai & Company on 8/26/58 [5]

From 1997 to 1999
In the custody of Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, upon Paul Singer’s death in January 1997 and a loan agreement between the Executors of the Singer Estate and the Gallery 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]


[1] Object published in the catalogue for The International Exhibition of Chinese Art, 1935-6 at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, cat. 304 and dated to the Early Chou Dynasty. Zhang Naiji of Shanghai, China is listed as the owner. In other publications of Zhang Naiji’s jade collection, objects of this time period were unearthed at archeological sites at Anyang, Honan Province, China (see: “Archaic Chinese Jades, Special Exhibition,” The University Museum, Philadelphia, February 1940, page7-9). Excavations at Anyang began in 1928.

[2] See note 1. 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 45 objects to the International Exhibition of Chinese Art and it is likely that these objects remained in his possession after the exhibition. At least 11 of the jades that Zhang lent to this exhibition were with him in 1938, when he moved to New York. These jades were ultimately sold on consignment through C. T. Loo & Company (three of which are in the collection of the FǀS: S2012.9.328; S1987.597; and RLS1997.48.4374). There is no evidence to suggest that Zhang sold any of his jades during the European exhibition.

[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). It is unclear when Frank Caro, C. T. Loo’s associate and successor to C. T. Loo & Company, purchased items from Zhang Mei Chien.

[4] See note 3. Sales Slip from J. T. Tai & Company addressed to Dr. Paul Singer, 8/26/58, includes this object as YT 1085, copy located in acquisition folder, original located in FǀS Archives, Paul Singer Papers, Box 17, Folder 17.

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.

[5] See note 4.

[6] Upon Paul Singer’s death in January 1997, the Dr. Paul Singer Collection of Chinese Art came into the custody of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. For details, see note 7.

[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) and Custodian(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

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