Dagger-axe (ge 戈)


Historical period(s)
Anyang period, Late Shang dynasty, ca. 1300-ca. 1050 BCE
Bronze with turquoise inlay and jade (nephrite) blade
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)
China, probably Henan province, Anyang
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 19: Afterlife: Ancient Chinese Jades
Ceremonial Object, Metalwork

Ceremonial object

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


[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


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