Pendant in the form of a bird, reworked

Flat plaque representing a bird with wings outspread, as seen from above. Eyes and spiral decoration in low-relief. Engraved striations on tail; reverse undecorated; perforation in fore body. (Veins of calcification; flat-cracks.)

Historical period(s)
Anyang period, Late Shang dynasty, ca. 1300-1050 BCE
Jade (nephrite)
H x W x D: 3.2 x 2.7 x 0.6 cm (1 1/4 x 1 1/16 x 1/4 in)
China, probably Henan province, Anyang
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Jade, Jewelry and Ornament


Anyang period (ca. 1300 - ca. 1050 BCE), bird, China

Around 1946 to 1948
C. T. Loo & Company, New York, NY [1]

1948 to 1953
C. T. Loo, INC., New York, NY by transfer from C. T. Loo & Company, NY [2]

1953 to 1961
C. T. Loo Chinese Art, New York, NY by transfer from C. T. Loo INC., NY [3]

1961 to 1964
Frank Caro Chinese Art, New York, NY mode of acquisition unknown [4]

1964 to 1987
Arthur M. Sackler, New York, purchased from Frank Caro Chinese Art on August 27, 1964 [5]

From 1987
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of Arthur M. Sackler on September 11, 1987 [6]


[1] When Frank Caro began leading C. T. Loo’s company – C. T. Loo, INC. – in 1952, he re-inventoried objects, assigning “E” numbers and updated the company’s stock card. This jade bird pendant was inventoried as E 5678 (see note 2). No C. T. Loo & Co. stock card has been found in the C. T. Loo & Frank Caro Archive, housed at the Musée Guimet, Paris. However, stock cards for objects E 5675, E 5677, and E 5680 are in the archive and these stock cards indicate that C. T. Loo acquired the corresponding objects from a Chinese source in 1946 and 1947 (copies located provenance files), when operating as C. T. Loo & Company. It is likely that C. T. Loo & Company acquired the jade bird pendant at that time.

[2] C. T. Loo formed C. T. Loo, INC. in 1948 when C. T. Loo & Company could no longer access trade in China. Object included in “An Exhibition of Chinese Archaic Jades” an exhibition arranged by and composed of objects belonging to C. T. Loo, INC. See: C. T. Loo INC., An Exhibition of Chinese Archaic Jades arranged for Norton Gallery of Art, January 20 to March 1, 1950, plate XXVIII, no. 4, copy in object file. The object, however, was likely acquired in the late 1940s, from a Chinese source.

[3] 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.

[4] 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). Frank Caro Chinese Art stock number E 5678. See Frank Caro Chinese Art invoice dated August 27, 1964, copy in object file provided by the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, October 9, 2009.

[5] 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.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

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


Flat plaque representing a bird with wings outspread, as seen from above. Eyes and spiral decoration in low-relief. Engraved striations on tail; reverse undecorated; perforation in fore body. (Veins of calcification; flat-cracks.)

Published References
  • J. Keith Wilson, Jingmin Zhang. Jades for Life and Death. .
  • C.T. Loo & Company, (Introduction) Lindsay Hughes Cooper. An Exhibition of Archaic Chinese Jades. Exh. cat. New York. pl. 28, 4.
  • Jessica Rawson. Chinese Jades from the Neolithic to the Qing. Exh. cat. London. p. 201, fig. 4.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Jades for Life and Death
Google Cultural Institute
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