Chariot shaft socket, 13th-12th century BCE

Unknown artist, expand_more


Bequest of Alfred F. Pillsburyexpand_more  50.46.13


This bronze object served as a fitting on a horse-drawn chariot. The chariot accompanied the deceased at burial and presumably served him or her in the afterlife. The décor of this extraordinary object is executed in high relief and partly in the round. On its base is a realistically shaped head of a water buffalo, whose body is splayed on the shield above the socket. On each side of the cylinder is a creature with a human head, shown kneeling in profile and with hands uplifted. Similarly posed animal-like figures appear on other Shang bronzes. These may serve as protectors, progenitors, or totems of the clan who cast the vessel.

Chariot shaft socket
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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