Ge-shaped pendant

citation

Ceremonial weapon: blade (ge type). Gray-green translucent nephrite with paler mottlings. Tang indicated. One hole for suspension (?).

Historical period(s)
Western Zhou dynasty, ca. 1050-771 BCE
Medium
Jade (nephrite)
Dimensions
H x W x D: 17.1 x 2.5 x 0.4 cm (6 3/4 x 1 x 3/16 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
F1939.21
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Jade, Jewelry and Ornament
Type

Jewelry

Keywords
carving, China, nephrite, Western Zhou dynasty (ca. 1050 - 771 BCE), WWII-era provenance
Provenance

From at least 1939
Zhang Naiji (1899-1948), Shanghai and New York, from at least February 1939 [1]

From 1939
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased through C.T. Loo & Company, New York from Zhang Naiji on April 17, 1939 [2]

Notes:

[1] See object information sheet and "List of objects contemplated for purchase by Freer Gallery of Art," approved on February 1, 1939, Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List file, copies in object file. According to an annotation on the list, the purchase was made from C. T. Loo & Co., New York acting as agent for Zhang Naiji and the payment was made on April 17, 1939. Zhang Naiji was a well known collector of ancient Chinese art objects and Chinese coins. While the earliest documentation for Zhang's ownership of the jade dates to February 1939, it is known that Zhang left China in 1938 and did not return there until 1946 [information kindly provided by Daisy Yiyou Wang, email correspondence of May 20, 2009, in object file]. The pendant traditionally was said to have been excavated at Jincun in Luoyang, Henan province based on information provided by Zhang Naiji to John E. Lodge at the time of acquisition, see J. E. Lodge's note, 1939, in F1939.6 object file.

[2] See "List of objects contemplated for purchase by Freer Gallery of Art," cited in note 1.

Previous Owner(s)

C.T. Loo & Company active 1908-1950
Zhang Naiji 1899-1948

Description

Ceremonial weapon: blade (ge type). Gray-green translucent nephrite with paler mottlings. Tang indicated. One hole for suspension (?).

Label

The blade known as ge, based on the shape of the metal dagger-axe, is first found at the early Shang site of Erlitou, Henan. A ge consists of a long blade beveled to a sharp edge on the sides, usually with a median crest; a projecting crosspiece with a perforation at the base of the blade; and a narrower butt, or tang, which may be plain or ribbed. Ge blades display great variations in size, from miniature to enormous. This variety of size is understandable in view of the fact that the jade blades were intended only for ceremonial and symbolic purposes, rather than for practical use. Small ge blades are occasionally mounted in bronze handles, usually adorned with inlaid turquoise.

Published References
  • A.G. Wenley. Early Chinese Jade. vol. 63, no. 5 Washington, November 1946. p. 343.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum