Beads and gold chain

Historical period(s)
Warring States period, Eastern Zhou dynasty, 475-221 BCE
Medium
Jade (nephrite), amber, turquoise, and gold
Dimensions
Length x Diam (overall): 70.3 x 4.4 cm (27 11/16 x 1 3/4 in)
Geography
China, Henan province, Jincun
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
S2012.9.4668
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Jewelry and Ornament, Metalwork
Type

Necklace

Keywords
China, Eastern Zhou dynasty (770 - 221 BCE), nephrite, Paul Singer collection, plaited wire, Warring States period (475 - 221 BCE), wirework
Provenance

1928 to 1932
Likely discovered in tomb located in Henan province, Jincun, China [1]

By 1935 to 1948
Zhang Naiji (1899–1948), Shanghai, China, then New York, NY [2]

1948 to around 1954
Zhang Mei Chien (1901–ca. 1955), New York, NY, inherited upon her husband’s death [3]

Around 1954 to 1958
C. T. Loo Chinese Art, New York, NY, purchased from Zhang Mei Chien in New York, NY [4]

1958 to 1997
Paul Singer, Summit, NJ, purchased from C. T. Loo Chinese Art on March 24 or 26, 1958 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 a loan agreement between 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]

Notes:

[1] See Max Loehr, Relics of Ancient China, from the Collection of Dr. Paul Singer (New York: Asia Society, 1965), cat. 74 (ill.); Thomas Lawton, “Paul Singer – A Sage Among Collectors,” Orientations 31, 5 (May 2000), p. 38 (fig. 6), 39; and C. T. Loo and Company invoice to Dr. Paul Singer, March 26, 1958, copy located in object file, original in Freer and Sackler Archives, Singer Papers, Box 18, Folder 13.

[2] Zhang Naiji (also known as N. C. Chang) lent the object to the International Exhibition of Chinese Art in London in 1935; see Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Chinese Art (London: Royal Academy of Arts, November 28, 1935–March 7, 1936), cat. 349. Zhang Naiji was a businessman, born to a prestigious family in Zhejiang that made its 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 archaeological excavations (see Alfred Salmony, Chinese Jade through the Wei Dynasty [New York: The Ronald Press Company, 1963], p. 115). It is likely that Zhang acquired this object as early as 1928-1932, however there is documentary proof that he owned the object in 1935.

Zhang lent forty-five objects to the International Exhibition of Chinese Art and it is likely that these objects remained in his possession after the exhibition. At least eleven of the jades that Zhang lent to this exhibition came with him when he moved to New York in 1938 and were ultimately sold through C. T. Loo and Company (three of which are in the collection of the Freer and Sackler: S2012.9.328; S1987.597; and S2012.9.4668). There is no evidence to suggest that Zhang sold any of his jades during the European exhibition.

C. T. Loo and Company, New York, NY, had Zhang’s jade collection on consignment (see letter from C. T. Loo to Horace Jayne, May 28, 1939, and letter from C. T. Loo to Horace Jayne, October 23, 1940, copies in COM provenance files) from 1940 through Zhang’s death in 1948, inventorying the pieces with a prefix “J” and labeling each item as “Chang [Zhang] Collection.” This object was identified as “J 19” and had an accompanying stock card, which read: “Gold necklace with two jade beads and two decayed amber beads.”

[3] Zhang Mei Chien, Zhang Naiji’s wife, assumed ownership upon his death in 1948. She sold several pieces to Frank Caro, C. T. Loo’s associate and successor to C. T. Loo and Company. Date of sale unknown.

[4] On September 1, 1952, C. T. Loo’s associate, Frank Caro (1904–1980) took over daily operations of C. T. Loo’s C. T. Loo and Company’s New York branch, operating as C. T. Loo Chinese Art. Loo continued to play a large role in the business, as he and Caro struck a deal in which profits made on Loo’s stock would be evenly divided, and Loo would maintain the lease and rental payments on the company’s gallery space.

When C. T. Loo Chinese Art purchased the object, they continued to use the stock card that C. T. Loo and Company had developed, J 19 (see note 2). The stock card notes the sale to Dr. Paul Singer on March 24, 1958. An invoice from C. T. Loo Chinese Art to Dr. Paul Singer, March 26, 1958, indicates a slightly later date, copy located in file. Paul Singer’s two cash payments for this object are recorded on the company’s stock card.

[5] See note 4. Paul Singer discussed the circumstances of the necklace’s acquisition from C. T. Loo Chinese Art 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, pp. 103–106, copy in object file. Singer’s account does not mention cash payments. Instead, Singer reports that he obtained the necklace in an exchange transaction with Frank Caro for a few objects acquired from Emmanuel Gran’s collection. This has not been substantiated.

The collection of Chinese art and antiquities assembled by Paul Singer over time was purchased by him on behalf of Arthur M. Sackler, The Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, the AMS Foundation for the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities, and 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 a loan agreement between the Executors of the Singer Estate and the Gallery in February 1997.

[7] See “The Dr. Paul Singer Collection of Chinese Art Gift Agreement,” March 1999, Freer and Sackler COM Office. This 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
C.T. Loo Chinese Art 1953 - 1961

Published References
  • Janet Douglas, W. Thomas Chase. Examination of Two Eastern Zhou Jade and Gold Assemblages from Jincun, near Luoyang, Henan Province, China: Implications for the Original Configuration of the Freer Pectoral
    . vol. 46, no. 1 London. pp. 35-48.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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