Knife (dao 刀)

Knife blade; single edged, flared toward point, with triangular cross-section; opaque gray with white clouds. (Mostly calcified; some nicks into powdery areas.)

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Historical period(s)
Anyang period, Late Shang dynasty, ca. 1300-ca. 1050 BCE
Jade (nephrite)
H x W x D: 1.3 × 21.4 × 0.5 cm (1/2 × 8 7/16 × 3/16 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
Ceremonial Object, Jade

Ceremonial object: knife

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

By 1958 to 1959
Diedrich Abbes (1866-1959), Greenwich, Connecticut [1]

1959 to 1987
Arthur M. Sackler, New York, purchased from the estate of Diedrich Abbes on July 10, 1959 through Frank Caro, C. T. Loo Chinese Art, New York [2]

From 1987
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of Arthur M. Sackler in 1987 [3]


[1] Diedrich Abbes' ownership indicated in the posthumously published, Alfred Salmony, Chinese Jade Through the Wei Dynasty. New York: Ronald Press Company, 1963, plate 3, no. 2. The introduction to the text notes that Salmony had completed the book manuscript before his death in 1958. The attribution to Diedrich Abbes, however, cites him as W. Dietrich Abbes rather than as Dietrich Abbes.

[2] See note on Arthur M. Sackler, M.D. letterhead acknowledging the "purchase and receipt of 17 pieces of stone carvings of the Shang,Yin-Chou and Chou periods from the Dietrich-Abbes collection. The price in full, exclusive of commission, will be paid as indicated by this note in two installments," copy in object file. See also letter to Frank Caro from Arnold J. Bai of the law firm Goldstein and Peck, Bridgeport Connecticut, September 28, 1960, copy in object file. The letter asks Frank Caro to have (presumably) his client, Arthur M. Sackler, to send the final payment for the Diedrich Abbes Collection of jades to the law firm. Goldstein and Peck mistakenly identify Mr. Caro's business as C. T. Loo Company, when it was called C. T. Loo Chinese Art.

[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) and Custodian(s)

Diedrich Abbes 1866-1959
Frank Caro 1904-1980
Dr. Arthur M. Sackler 1913-1987
C.T. Loo Chinese Art 1953-1961


Knife blade; single edged, flared toward point, with triangular cross-section; opaque gray with white clouds. (Mostly calcified; some nicks into powdery areas.)

Published References
  • J. Keith Wilson, Jingmin Zhang. Jades for Life and Death. .
  • Alfred Salmony. Chinese Jade Through the Wei Dynasty. New York, 1963. plate 3, no. 2.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Jades for Life and Death
Google Cultural Institute
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