Archer’s thumbring (ban zhi)

Historical period(s)
Eastern Zhou dynasty, ca. 5th-4th century BCE
Jade (nephrite)
H x W x D: 6.4 x 4.1 x 0.6 cm (2 1/2 x 1 5/8 x 1/4 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Jade, Jewelry and Ornament

Archer's thumbring

archery, bow, China, Eastern Zhou dynasty (770 - 221 BCE)

As early as the late 1920s
Reportedly discovered in tomb located in Jincun, Honan Provence, China [1]

To 1947
Likely Lu Wu Antiques Company, Shanghai and Beijing, China [2]

1947 to 1948
C. T. Loo & Company, New York, NY acquired this object in China during August 1947 from Lu Wu Antiques Company [3]

1948 to 1953
C. T. Loo, INC., New York, NY by transfer from C. T. Loo & Company [4]

1953 to 1961
C. T. Loo Chinese Art, New York, NY by transfer from C. T. Loo, INC., NY [5]

1961 to 1964
Frank Caro Chinese Art, New York, NY mode of acquisition of known [6]

1964 to 1987
Arthur M. Sackler, New York, NY purchased in New York City from Frank Caro Chinese Art on August 27, 1964 [7]

From 1987
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of Arthur M. Sackler on September 11, 1987 [8]


[1] Discovery site noted on C. T. Loo & Company stock card no. GHL 7/699 (see note 2), copy in object file. Several tombs near Chin ts’un (Jincun) in Western Honan were discovered in the summer of 1928 after heavy rain, when sinkholes began to emerge. Immediately upon discovery, the tombs were scavenged by locals. Only two tombs were systematically excavated (See: William Charles White, Tombs of Old Lo-Yang: A Record of the Construction and Contents of a group of Royal Tombs at Chin-ts’un, probably dating to 550 bc. Shanghai: Kelly & Walsh Limited, 1934 and William Charles White, “China’s Cultural Heritage” in Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada vol. 37 (1943): 151.

[2] Lu Wu was an export business that supplied C. T. Loo’s businesses with Chinese art to sell in the West. Loo formed the company in 1911 with Wu Qi Zhou. They had warehouses in Beijing and Shanghai, where art dealers and private individuals could sell antiquities. All objects that Lu Wu acquired would be sent to Shanghai, packaged, and shipped to France, where C. T. Loo & Company, Paris would either keep pieces for sale in the Parisian gallery or ship antiquities to the New York gallery. See C. T. Loo & Company stock card no. GHL 7/699, which reports the object is “… from China August 47” and describes it as: “Jade pendant with open-work bird standing on a shield-like motif with stylized clouds pattern translucent jade, found at Chin-tsun. Late Chou. Length 2 ½ ins.” Copy in object file. When Frank Caro took control of C. T. Loo’s business (see note 5), he assigned a new inventory number to the object and scratched out GHL 7/699, replacing it with E5627.

[3] See stock card cited in note 1.

[4] C. T. Loo formed C. T. Loo, INC. in 1948 when C. T. Loo & Company could no longer access trade in China. See also C. T. Loo INC. ownership indicated in: C. T. Loo, INC. “An Exhibition of Chinese Archaic Jades” (Norton Gallery of Art, West Palm Beach, FL: January 20 to March 1, 1950), plate XLIX, no. 6.

[5] See note 2. On September 1, 1952, C. T. Loo’s associate, Frank Caro (1904-1980) took over daily operations of the New York business. C. T. Loo, INC. was dissolved by the summer of 1953 and Caro operated as 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.

[6] 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, but the mode of acquisition is unknown. See invoice from Frank Caro Chinese Art to Arthur M. Sackler, August 27, 1964, no. E 5627: “Jade musical pick, (Wadsworth Exhibition #85) Jade Cat. Pl 49 #6,” copy in object file.

[7] See invoice cited in note 6.

[8] 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) and Custodian(s)

Lu Wu Antiques Co. 1911-ca. 1949
Dr. Arthur M. Sackler 1913-1987
C.T. Loo & Company 1914-1948
C.T. Loo, INC. ca. 1948-no later than July 1953
C.T. Loo Chinese Art 1953-1961
Frank Caro Chinese Art 1962-1980

Published References
  • 4000 Years of Chinese Art: An Exhibition Organized and Lent by C.T. Loo. Exh. cat. Hartford, Connecticut. no. 85.
  • C.T. Loo & Company, (Introduction) Lindsay Hughes Cooper. An Exhibition of Archaic Chinese Jades. Exh. cat. New York. no. 6, pl. 49.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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