Inscribed bone fragment (“oracle bone”)

Historical period(s)
Anyang period, Late Shang dynasty, ca. 1300-1050 BCE
Medium
Bone
Dimensions
H x W x D: 2.7 × 1.8 × 0.4 cm (1 1/16 × 11/16 × 3/16 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
S2012.9.450
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Ceremonial Object, Natural Material
Type

Oracle bone

Keywords
Anyang period (ca. 1300 - ca. 1050 BCE), China, oracle bone, Paul Singer collection
Provenance

From 1930s to ?
Fritz Bilfinger, purchased in China in the 1930s. [1]

From ? to 1997
Dr. Paul Singer (1904-1997), Summit, New Jersey, purchased from Fritz Bilfinger. [2]

From 1997 to 1999
In the custody of Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington, DC [3]

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. [4]

Notes:

[1] According to Qi Wenxin, a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of History, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, “Singer acquired the oracle bones from Fritz Bilfinger, a Swiss citizen who was a representative of the Aluminum Company of Canada, while traveling in the Far East. Bilfinger purchased the oracle bones in China in the 1930s.” See “Singer Chinese Oracle Bones” document dated September 20, 2002 in the object record.

[2] See note 1.

[3] Between 1997 and 1999, The Dr. Paul Singer Collection of Chinese Art was in the custody of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington DC

[4] See “The Dr. Paul Singer Collection of Chinese Art Gift Agreement” from March 1999, Collections Management Office. The object was formally accessioned into the museum’s permanent collection in 2012. See Acquisition Consideration Form, object file, Collections Management Office.

Previous Owner(s)

Dr. and Mrs. Fritz Bilfinger

Published References
  • Qi Wenxin. Ji Meiguo Xinge boshi suo cang jia gu. Beijing, May 1993. pp. 65, 72-76.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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