Lot 5
  • 5

Rare Pendentif-Dague en Jade Fin de la Dynastie Shang, ca. 1200 avant J.-C.

30,000 - 50,000 EUR
37,500 EUR
bidding is closed


  • Jade
  • Haut. 13,5 cm; 5 3/8  in.
sculpté en forme d'oiseau représenté en position verticale et de profil, au fort bec proéminent, la tête couronnée de plumes en forme de lames recourbées, aux larges ailes, à la queue angulaire sous des pattes puissantes (l'une manquante), les deux côtés simplement décorés de lignes détaillant les yeux, le plumage et les ailes; accidents, D.W 2361


C. T. Loo, Paris.


Arts de La Chine Ancienne, Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris, 1937, no. 138.


Paul Pelliot, Jades Archaïques de la Chine appartenant à M.C T. Loo, Paris, 1925, pl. XVI.1.
Oswald Siren, Histoire des Arts Anciens de la Chine, vol. I, Paris and Brussels, 1929, pl. 73.
Georges Salles, Arts de La Chine Ancienne, Paris, 1937, cat. no. 138 (not illustrated). 
Alfred Salmony, Carved Jade of Ancient China, Berkeley, California, 1938, pl. XVIII.1.

Catalogue Note

This unusual pendant is one of the most intriguing jade pieces in the David-Weill Collection. Its form is utterly compelling, its function and origin a mystery. It is carved in the form of an upright bird depicted in profile, the head surmounted by a pair of enormous curved blades. Incised lines follow and accentuate the slightly rounded form of the bird. When it was first published in 1925, Paul Pelliot noted that he did not know what to make of this composite animal, see Paul Pelliot, Jades Archaïques de la Chine appartenant a M.C T. Loo, Paris, 1925, p. 108. Much later, Wu Hung pointed out the similarities of such bird-form pendants and humanoid figure pendants with similar features all carved in profile, see Wu Hung, 'The Great Beginning: Ancient Chinese Jades and the Origin of Ritual Art', in Chinese Jades from the Mu-Fei Collection, London, 1990, figs. 18 and 19. 

While small flat carvings of birds in profile have been found in tombs of the late Shang period at Anyang, most noteworthy in the tomb of the Imperial consort Fu Hao, ca. 1200 BC, Yinxu Fu Hao mu, Beijing, 1980, pl. 142.2 and 4, only two other bird-shaped dagger pendants are known. The first, a very similar if slightly smaller example from the Winthrop Collection, was illustrated in 1938 alongside the David-Weill bird-shaped dagger-pendant, compare Alfred Salmony, Carved Jade of Ancient China, Berkely, California, 1938, XVIII.1 and 2. A second jade dagger-pendant of very similar size and shape but of unkown origin is in the collection of the National History Museum in Beijing, published in Beijing wenwu qingcui daxi. Yuqi juan, Beijing, 2002, col. pl. 15.