With the exception of its cylindrical base, which is shorter and broader than that of the pole top shown with it (Karlgren Plate 95), this example closely resembles its companion (50.46.28). It too, has a pellet in its body. Patina blue-green.

Chariot Finials with Bird, 11th century BCE

Unknown artist, expand_more

Bronzeexpand_more

Bequest of Alfred F. Pillsburyexpand_more  50.46.23

G214expand_more

These bronze bird finials crowned the ends of chariot poles. The stylized animals, with their decorative flanges and C–shaped horns, are in keeping with the aesthetics of ritual vessels of the Shang dynasty, the era preceding the Western Zhou dynasty (c. 1046–c. 771 BCE). One of the birds was cast with a pellet inside its body cavity, which creates a rattling sound when moved. What certain animals meant to the ancient Chinese remains speculative, but they all seem to have held protective and auspicious powers.

Details
Title
Chariot Finials with Bird
Role
Artist
Dimension
6 7/8 in. (17.46 cm)
Accession Number
50.46.23
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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With the exception of its cylindrical base, which is shorter and broader than that of the pole top shown with it (Karlgren Plate 95), this example closely resembles its companion (50.46.28). It too, has a pellet in its body. Patina blue-green.