Spear hilt with fragmentary blade

Historical period(s)
Western Han dynasty, late 3rd-1st century BCE
Bronze, with traces of pigment, and iron
H x W x D (overall): 14.3 x 7.1 x 2.4 cm (5 5/8 x 2 13/16 x 15/16 in)
Credit Line
The Dr. Paul Singer Collection of Chinese Art of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; a joint gift of the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, Paul Singer, the AMS Foundation for the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities, and the Children of Arthur M. Sackler
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Metalwork, Tool and Equipment

Weapon: spear guard

China, Paul Singer collection, Western Han dynasty (206 BCE - 9 CE)

David David-Weill (1871-1952), Paris and Neuilly-sur-Seine France, mode of acquisition unknown [1]

Flora Raphaël David-Weill (1878-1970), inherited upon death of her husband, David David-Weill [2]  

Descendants of David and Flora Raphaël David-Weill, inherited upon death of Flora Raphaël David-Weill in 1970 [3]   

Sale, Sotheby & Co., "The D. David-Weill Collection, Catalogue of Early Chinese Bronzes, Inlaid Metalwork, Gilt Bronzes and Silver, Jades, Sculpture and Ceramics," February 29, 1972 (London), lot 87 [4]

Dr. Paul Singer (1904-1997), Summit, NJ purchased through Mr. Payne at Sotheby & Co. sale on March 15, 1972 in London [5]

From 1997
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, bequeathed by Dr. Paul Singer [6]


[1] David David-Weill's ownership is indicated by the object's inclusion in the 1972 Sotheby's & Co. sale (see note 4).

David David-Weill (1871-1952) was an American-born, French banker and chairman of Lazard Frères, his family's bank headquartered in Paris. From 1925 to 1939 he was president of the council of French National Museums and, until 1938, the vice president of the Friends of the Louvre. David-Weill was a life-long, prolific collector, acquiring a broad range of objects including 18th-century French art, ancient Chinese bronzes and jades, silvers, and European and Chinese cloisonné. He lent 12 objects from his collection to International Exhibition of Chinese Art at the Royal Academy of London (1935-36) and several objects to the exhibition Arts de la Chine Ancienne at Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris (1937). During his lifetime, he donated numerous art works to French Museums. In 1937 David-Weill sold pieces from his European collection to Wildenstein & Company. During World War 2, Nazis plundered his collection and seized over 2000 objects, most of which were restituted after the War. Parts of David-Weill's collections were hidden and escaped Nazi seizure. It is unclear if this object was stolen by the Nazis. If it was, the object was restituted to the family, as it was in their possession through 1972.

[2] David David-Weill died on July 7, 1952 in Neuilly, France. His wife, Flora Raphaël David-Weill inherited the object.  

[3] Upon death of Flora Raphaël David-Weill, a Sotheby sale was organized. It does not specify who collected the profits, but it was likely the descendants.  

[4] See Sotheby & Co., "The D. David-Weill Collection: Catalogue of Early Chinese Bronzes, Inlaid Metalwork, Gilt Bronzes and Silver, Jades, and Sculpture and Ceramics (London, February 29, 1972), lot 87.

[5] See letter from C.M. Payne to Dr. Paul Singer, 1 March 1972 and invoice from Sotheby & Co., London to Dr. Paul Singer, 15 March 1972, no. 87, page 2, copies in object file. C.M. Payne of the Sales Office at Sotheby & Co., London placed bids on behalf of Dr. Paul Singer at the February 1972 auction.

The collection of Chinese art and antiquities assembled by Paul Singer over time was purchased by him on behalf of Arthur M. Sackler, Jillian Sackler, The Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation for the Arts, Sciences and Humanities and later was transferred to the children of Arthur M. Sackler.

[6] Upon Paul Singer's death in January 1997, his collection was transferred to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery by order of the Executors of the Estate under a loan agreement signed on February 1997. Shortly thereafter, the Sackler Gallery was vested with full ownership and title to the collection in full agreement by the Sackler Foundations and Sackler family members. The formal accession of the Singer collection was completed in 2012.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

David-Weill Family
David David-Weill 1871-1952
Flora Raphaël David-Weill 1878-1971
Dr. Paul Singer 1904-1997

Published References
  • Sotheby's. The D. David-Weill Collection: Catalogue of Early Chinese Bronzes, Inlaid Metalwork, Gilt Bronzes and Silver, Jades, and Sculpture and Ceramics. London, February 29, 1972. lot 161.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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