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): 10.6 × 41.9 × 0.9 cm (4 3/16 × 16 1/2 × 3/8 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


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

Reportedly excavated in Anyang, Henan province, China [1]

From 1940 to 1941
C.T. Loo & Company, New York from October 1940 [2]

From 1941
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from C.T. Loo & Company on March 20, 1941 [3]


[1] According to John Lodge's curatorial remark, dated 1941, in object file.

[2] See C. T. Loo's stockcard no. 86942: "Jade knife with bronze handle. One large jade KU with plain bronze handle inlayed with turquoise with designs of birds and an animal mask near the guard. An Yang Shang," Frank Caro Archive, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, copy in object file. The object was brought by Loo to the Freer Gallery for examination on November 13, 1940.

[3] See C. T. Loo's invoice, dated March 20, 1941, copy in object file.

Previous Owner(s)

C.T. Loo & Company active 1908-1950


Tiny turquoise mosaics define the coiled dragons, with beaked head, three-clawed paw, and spiraling tail, on the projecting tang of this dagger-axe. X-radiographs of this object reveals it was assembled from different pieces that might not have belonged together originally and were pinned and soldered in place in modern times. These repairs explain the disorderly areas of turquoise inlay.

Published References
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Thomas Lawton, Harold P. Stern. The Freer Gallery of Art. 2 vols., Washington and Tokyo, 1971-1972. cat. 16, p. 154-5.
  • compiled by the staff of the Freer Gallery of Art. A Descriptive and Illustrative Catalogue of Chinese Bronzes: Acquired During the Administration of John Ellerton Lodge. Oriental Studies Series, no. 3 Washington, 1946. p. 89, pl. 43.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 12.
  • Dagny Carter. Four Thousand Years of China's Art. New York. p. 19, b.
  • Chugoku bijutsu (Chinese Art in Western Collections). 5 vols., Tokyo, 1972-1973. fig. 98c.
  • Rene Grousset. La Chine et son Art. Collection Ars et historia Paris. facing p. 29.
  • Rene Grousset. Chinese Art and Culture. New York. p. xxii.
  • Na Chih-liang. Yu ch'i t'ung shih (A General Study of Chinese Jade). Hong Kong, 1965. p. 70, fig. 93.
  • Sueji Umehara. In-kyo (Yin hsu: Ancient Capital of the Shang Dynasty at An-yang). Tokyo. pl. 36 (1).
  • T'an Tan-chiung. Chung-hua i-shu t'u-lu (Chinese Art). Taipei. pl. 5.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum