Fragments with dragon interlace

Historical period(s)
Spring and Autumn period-early Warring States period, Eastern Zhou dynasty, 6th-5th century BCE
Gold foil
H x W (largest): 18 x 13 cm (7 1/16 x 5 1/8 in)
China, Probably Henan province
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


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

To 1959
Abel William Bahr (1877-1959), Ridgefield, Connecticut [1]

From 1959 to 1960
Edna H. Bahr (d. 1978), by descent from her father, Abel William Bahr [2]

From 1960 to 1997
Paul Singer (1904-1997), Summit, New Jersey, purchased from Edna H. Bahr in 1960 [3]

From 1997
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, bequeathed by Paul Singer [4]


[1] Paul Singer’s acquisition of these fragments of gold foil ornamentations from Edna Bahr, the daughter of Abel W. Bahr, was mentioned in Singer’s correspondence with Henry Trubner and Zheng Dekun, see letter from 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.

[2] See note 1.

[3] See note 1. Singer discussed the circumstances of the fragments’ 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. The fragments were reproduced in a catalogue of the exhibition organized by Paul Singer in 1972, see Early Chinese Gold and Silver (New York: China Institute in America, 1972), cat. 5 (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.

[4] 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

Published References
  • Scientific Research on the Sculptural Arts of Asia, Proceedings of the Third Forbes Symposium at the Freer Gallery of Art. .
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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