Finial in the form of a human with dragon

citation

A human figure is presented in profile, with an overly large head and with arms bent at the elbow and with hands turning back to the shoulder. The legs, which are also bent, are treated in a summary fashion. Above the human head is a single-horned dragon, its body arching downward following the concave contour of the human figure. Curving projections and a tail lend the dragon a flamboyant appearance that contrasts with the compact abstraction of the human figure. Incised lines, some of them slanting, define the details of the dragon and the human figure. (Pencil marks [?] on edge; flaws on edges; few flaw cracks; cloudy; cinnabar adhering.)

Historical period(s)
Anyang period, Late Shang dynasty, ca. 1300-ca. 1050 BCE
Medium
Jade (nephrite)
Dimensions
H x W x D: 8.4 x 5.2 x 0.4 cm (3 5/16 x 2 1/16 x 3/16 in)
Geography
China, probably Henan province, Anyang
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Accession Number
S1987.860
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Jade, Jewelry and Ornament
Type

Plaque

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

To 1959
Abel William Bahr (1877-1959), Shanghai, China, London, England, Montreal, Canada, New York, NY, and Ridgefield, Connecticut [1]

From 1963 to 1987
Arthur M. Sackler, New York, purchased from the Bahr Collection in 1963 [2]

From 1987
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of Arthur M. Sackler on September 11, 1987 [3]

Notes:

[1] According to information provided by the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, October 9, 2009.

[2] See #351: "Man with hip circle and Kuei," on list provided by the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, October 9, 2009, copy in object file.

[3] Pursuant to the agreement between Arthur M. Sackler and the Smithsonian Institution, dated July 28, 1982, legal title of the donated objects was transferred to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery on September 11, 1987.

Previous Owner(s)

Dr. Arthur M. Sackler 1913-1987
Abel William Bahr 1877-1959

Description

A human figure is presented in profile, with an overly large head and with arms bent at the elbow and with hands turning back to the shoulder. The legs, which are also bent, are treated in a summary fashion. Above the human head is a single-horned dragon, its body arching downward following the concave contour of the human figure. Curving projections and a tail lend the dragon a flamboyant appearance that contrasts with the compact abstraction of the human figure. Incised lines, some of them slanting, define the details of the dragon and the human figure. (Pencil marks [?] on edge; flaws on edges; few flaw cracks; cloudy; cinnabar adhering.)

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

Copyright with museum

Related Objects