Floral button

Historical period(s)
Warring States period, Eastern Zhou dynasty, 4th-3rd century BCE
Medium
Jade
Dimensions
H x Diam (overall): 2 x 2.3 cm (13/16 x 7/8 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
S2012.9.892
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Costume and Textile, Jade
Type

Button

Keywords
China, Eastern Zhou dynasty (770 - 221 BCE), Paul Singer collection
Provenance

1931 to 1932
Likely discovered in tomb located in Shouxian, Anhwei Province, 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–c.1955), New York, NY inherited upon her husband’s death [3]

Around 1954 to 1957
C. T. Loo Chinese Art, New York, NY possibly purchased from Zhang Mei Chien in New York, NY in the early 1950s [4]

1957 to 1997
Paul Singer, Summit, NJ, purchased from C. T. Loo & Company on January 22, 1957 in New York, NY [5]

1997 to 1999
In the custody of Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, upon Paul Singer’s death in January 1997 and 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]

Notes:

[1] Object published in Archaic Chinese Jades: Special Exhibition (Philadelphia: The University Museum, February 1940), cat.219. Catalogue entry notes discovery site as Shou-hsien (now known as Shouxian), where tombs were exposed between 1931 and 1932. During this period the tombs were never properly excavated.

[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. 281 (mistakenly identified as a glass bead). 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.).It is likely that Zhang acquired this object as early as 1928, however there is documentary proof that he owned the object in 1935.

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 came with him when he moved to New York in 1938 and were ultimately sold 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.
C. T. Loo & Company, New York, NY had Zhang’s jade collection on consignment (see: letter, from C. T. Loo to Horace Jayne, 28 May 1939 and letter, from C. T. Loo to Horace Jayne, 23 October 1940, copies on COM provenance files) from 1940 through Zhang’s death in 1948, inventorying the pieces with a prefix “J” and labeling each item as “Chang Collection.”

[3] Zhang Mei Chien, Zhang Naiji’s wife, assumed ownership upon his death in 1948. She sold several pieces to C. T. Loo Chinese Art, which was led by C. T. Loo’s associate, Frank Caro. The date of sale is unknown.

[4] See note 3. On September 1, 1952, C. T. Loo’s associate, Frank Caro (1904-1980) took over daily operations of the New York business, operating at 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. See C. T. Loo’s stock card no. J 117, which notes the sale to Dr. Singer on January 22, 1957, copy in accession file.

5] See note 4. The collection of Chinese art and antiquities assembled by Paul Singer 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.

[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 Collections Management Office. This object was formally accessioned into the museum collection in 2012.

Previous Owner(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

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