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Catalog Data

H x W x D: 6.2 x 9.2 x 0.5 cm (2 7/16 x 3 5/8 x 3/16 in)
Jewelry and Ornament
750-500 BCE
Eastern Zhou dynasty
Previous custodian or owner:
Zhang Naiji 張乃驥 (1899-1948)
Zhang Mei Chien (1900-1998)
C.T. Loo Chinese Art (1953-1961)
Frank Caro Chinese Art (1962-1980)
Dr. Arthur M. Sackler (1913-1987)
1938 to 1932
Unearthed in Honan Province of China [1]
To 1948
Zhang Naiji (1899–1948), Shanghai, China then New York, NY [2]
1948 to early 1950s
Zhang Mei Chien (1901–c.1955), New York, NY inherited upon her husband’s death [3]
Around 1954 to 1961
C.T. Loo Chinese Art, New York, NY likely purchased from Zhang Mei Chien in New York, NY [4]
1961 to 1964
Frank Caro Chinese Art, New York, NY, mode of acquisition unknown [5]
From 1964 to 1987
Arthur M. Sackler, New York, NY purchased from Frank Caro Chinese Art on August 27, 1964 in New York, NY [6]
From 1987
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of Arthur M. Sackler on September 11, 1987 [7]
[1] The object is published in An Exhibition of Chinese Archaic Jades (Norton Gallery of Art, West Palm Beach, FL, January 20 – March 1, 1950) plate LV, cat. 2 or cat. 4. The introduction suggests that the objects primarily came from archeological sites that were unearthed between 1928 and 1932, including: Anyang, Jincun, and Shou Hsien.
[2] Zhang Naiji (also known as N.C. Chang) was a businessman, born to a prestigious family in Zhejiang that made their wealth in the silk and salt industries. He collected ancient Chinese art objects and Chinese coins. Zhang amassed his collection whilst living in Shanghai, before leaving for America in 1938, and acquired his objects onsite of archeological excavations (see: Alfred Salmony, Chinese Jade through the Wei Dynasty. New York: The Ronald Press Company, 1963: 115.).
Zhang lent his collection anonymously to Archaic Chinese Jades: Special Exhibition. We know his identity through letters housed in the Department of Archives, The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (see: letter, C.T. Loo to Horace Jayne, 25 October 1939 and letter, from C.T. Loo to Horace Jayne, 16 December 1939), copies in F|S COM provenance files. The exhibition was entirely organized by C.T. Loo & Company, New York. Letters exchanged between C.T. Loo and the director of The University Museum, Mr. Horace H.F. Jayne, reveal that Zhang Naiji owned the objects and C.T. Loo & Company had the collection on consignment (see: letter, from C.T. Loo to Horace Jayne, 28 May 1939 and letter, from C.T. Loo to Horace Jayne, 23 October 1940, copies on COM provenance files). C.T. Loo & Company kept the jade collection on consignment from 1940 through Zhang’s death in 1948, inventorying the pieces with a prefix “J” and labeling each item as “Chang Collection.”
[3] Zhang Mei Chien, Zhang Naiji’s wife, assumed ownership upon his death in 1948. She sold several pieces from her husband’s collection to C.T. Loo & Company and J.T. Tai & Company. J.T. Tai & Company purchased jades in July of 1954. It is unclear when Frank Caro, C.T. Loo’s associate and successor to C.T. Loo & Company, purchased items from Zhang Mei Chien.
[4] On September 1, 1952, C.T. Loo’s associate, Frank Caro (1904-1980) took over daily operations of the New York business, operating at C.T. Loo Chinese Art. Loo continued to play a large role in the business, as he and Caro struck a deal in which profits made on Loo’s stock would be evenly divided and Loo would maintain the lease and rental payments on the company’s gallery space.
C.T. Loo Chinese Art kept the same stock number that C.T. Loo & Company assigned it when consigning for Zhang Naiji: J 44 (see note 2): “Jade dragon (pl. 55 #2) in form of curling dragon.” See invoice from Frank Caro, Chinese Art to Arthur M. Sackler, August 27, 1964, copy located in object file and full copy located in F|S COM provenance files.
[5] In 1961, Loo and Caro’s agreement ended. C.T. Loo & Cie., Paris, France took control of C.T. Loo Chinese Art, New York’s stock that C.T. Loo had added to the inventory before his death in 1957. Frank Caro then opened Frank Caro Chinese Art. Caro acquired pieces from Loo’s original stock (the mode of acquisition is unknown). See invoice referenced in note 4.
[6] 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.
dragon  Search this
Eastern Zhou dynasty (770 - 221 BCE)  Search this
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Chinese Art  Search this
carving  Search this
WWII-era provenance  Search this
Credit Line:
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Accession Number:
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See more items in:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Collection
Data Source:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery