Pendant in the form of a bird

Historical period(s)
Warring States period, Eastern Zhou dynasty, 475-221 BCE
Medium
Jade (nephrite)
Dimensions
H x W x D: 4 x 2.8 x 0.4 cm (1 9/16 x 1 1/8 x 3/16 in)
Geography
China, probably Henan province, Jincun, but purportedly found at Anhui province, Shou xian
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
S2012.9.990
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Jade, Jewelry and Ornament
Type

Pendant

Keywords
bird, carving, China, Eastern Zhou dynasty (770 - 221 BCE), Paul Singer collection, Warring States period (475 - 221 BCE)
Provenance

1928–32
Purportedly discovered in tomb located in Anhui province, Shou xian [1]

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

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

1954 to 1958
J. T. Tai and Company, New York, NY, likely purchased from Zhang Mei Chien during July 1954 in New York, NY [4]

1958 to 1997
Dr. Paul Singer, Summit, NJ, purchased from J. T. Tai and Company on November 8, 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 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, February 1940 (Philadelphia: The University Museum, 1940), cat. 227. Catalogue entry notes discovery site as Shou–hsien (now known as Shou xian) where
tombs were exposed between 1931 and 1932. During this period the tombs were never properly excavated. This discovery site is unlikely given the style of the object.

[2] 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 archaeological excavations (see Alfred Salmony, Chinese Jade through the Wei Dynasty [New York: The Ronald Press Company, 1963], p. 115).

Zhang lent his collection anonymously to Archaic Chinese Jades: Special Exhibition. We know his identity through letters housed in the Department of Archives, The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology
and Anthropology, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (see letter from C. T. Loo to Horace Jayne, October 25, 1939, and letter from C. T. Loo to Horace Jayne, December 16, 1939), copies in Freer and Sackler COM provenance files. The exhibition was entirely organized by C. T. Loo and Company, New York. Letters exchanged between C. T. Loo and the director of The University Museum, Mr. Horace H. F. Jayne, reveal that Zhang Naiji owned the objects and C. T. Loo and Company had the 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). C. T. Loo and Company kept the jade collection on consignment from 1940 through Zhang’s death in 1948, inventorying the pieces with a prefix “J” and labeling each item as “Chang [Zhang] Collection.”

[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 and Company (which later operated as Frank Caro Chinese Art) and
J. T. Tai and Company. She sold to J. T. Tai and Company in July 1954 (for example, see J. T. Tai and Company Stock Record YT 886 and YT 895, copies in COM provenance files).

[4] See note 3. Sales Slip from J. T. Tai and Company to Dr. Paul Singer, object YT 964, November 8, 1958. Copy located in object file, original located in Freer and Sackler Archives, Paul Singer Papers, box 17, folder 17.

In Paul Singer’s memoirs, he notes that he acquired seventeen “of the Chang Nai-chi [Zhang Naiji] jades, some of which Mr. Chang [Zhang] lent to the 1935–1936 International Exhibition of Chinese Art,” from J. T. Tai and Company. It is likely that S2012.9.990 was one of those seventeen jades. See “Reminiscences of a Transient Custodian,” ms. Paul Singer Papers, Freer and Sackler Archives, p. 83–84.

[5] Dr. Paul Singer had this object in his collection in the 1980s when writing his memoirs (see note 4). 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, and the AMS Foundation for the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities and was later transferred to the children of Arthur M. Sackler.

[6] When Paul Singer died in January 1997, the Dr. Paul Singer Collection of Chinese Art came into the custody of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. A loan agreement between the Executors of the Singer Estate and the Gallery was signed in February 1997.

[7] See “The Dr. Paul Singer Collection of Chinese Art Gift Agreement,” March 1999, Freer and Sackler 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
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.

Related Objects