Dagger-axe (ge 戈)

citation

Historical period(s)
Anyang period, Late Shang dynasty, ca. 1300-ca. 1050 BCE
Medium
Bronze with turquoise inlay and jade (nephrite) blade
Dimensions
H x W x D (overall): 34.5 x 17.5 x 5.4 cm (13 9/16 x 6 7/8 x 2 1/8 in)
Geography
China, probably Henan province, Anyang
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
F1940.10a-d
On View Location
Freer Gallery 19: Afterlife: Ancient Chinese Jades
Classification(s)
Ceremonial Object, Metalwork
Type

Ceremonial object

Keywords
Anyang period (ca. 1300 - ca. 1050 BCE), casting, China, dragon, engraving, inlay, nephrite, Shang dynasty (ca. 1600 - ca. 1050 BCE), WWII-era provenance
Provenance

From 1939 to 1940
C.T. Loo & Company, New York from September 26, 1939 [1]

From 1940
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from C.T. Loo & Company on May 3, 1940 [3]

Notes:

[1] See C. T. Loo's stockcard no. 86520: "Set of four pieces, bronze ornaments, Shang," Frank Caro Archive, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, copy in object file. According to information on the stockcard the object was inventoried on September 26, 1939. See also "List of objects owned by C. T. Loo & Co., New York and [left] at the Gallery for examination," with an annotation that the piece was delivered by Loo to the Freer Gallery on November 4, 1939, copy in object file.

[3] See C. T. Loo's invoice, dated May 3, 1940, copy in object file.

Previous Owner(s)

C.T. Loo & Company active 1908-1950

Label

No objects of this type have yet been scientifically excavated in China, so it is difficult to know the purpose of this extremely rare axe. It consists of four separate pieces: a tubular bronze handle, two caps with dragon motifs, and an unusual serrated jade blade that might not be original. Traces of wood inside the handle suggest it was lengthened with additional elements that are now missing.

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

Copyright with museum