Axe blade (yue)

citation

Historical period(s)
Western Zhou dynasty, 11th-10th century BCE
Medium
Bronze
Dimensions
H x W x D: 19 x 10.9 x 1 cm (7 1/2 x 4 5/16 x 3/8 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Purchase — funds provided by the Friends of Asian Arts and the Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program
Accession Number
F1996.8
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Metalwork, Tool and Equipment
Type

Ceremonial object

Keywords
animal, casting, China, mask, Western Zhou dynasty (ca. 1050 - 771 BCE), WWII-era provenance
Provenance

From at least 1929-30
Jörg Trübner, acquired in China. [1]

From at least 1952
Adolph Stoclet family collection, Brussels, Belgium. [2]

American private collection. [3]

J. J. Lally & Co. Oriental Art, New York. [4]

Baron G. collection. [5]

To 1996
Oriental Bronzes Ltd., London, England. [6]

From 1996
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Christian Deydier of Oriental Bronzes Ltd., London, England. [7]

Notes:

[1] According to the undated folder sheet note, Jorg Trubner acquired the axe blade in China, and took it to Germany in 1929-30. See undated folder sheet note, object file, Collections Management Office. Also see Curatorial Remark 1 in the object record.

[2] See Curatorial Remark 1 in the object record.

[3] See undated folder sheet note, object file, Collections Management Office. Also see invoice dated January 21st, 1996 from Oriental Bronzes Ltd, copy in object file, Collections Management Office.

[4] See note 3.

[5] See note 3.

[6] See note 3.

[7] See note 3. Also see Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List after 1920 file, Collections Management Office.

Previous Owner(s)

Christian Deydier, Oriental Bronzes, Ltd.
J. J. Lally & Co. Oriental Art
Jörg Trübner
Adolphe Stoclet 1871 - 1949
Baron G. collection

Label

This ornate bronze ax demonstrates the importance of military power and the rituals that reinforced that power for the rulers of Bronze-Age China. Its extravagantly openwork outline with curvaceous dragons and large feline mask with ears in high relief on the flat face of the blade are typical of the decorative flamboyance that marked the beginning of the Western Zhou dynasty (ca. 1050-950 b.c.e.).

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

Copyright with museum