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Chinese Bronzes of the Shang and Zhou Periods
Han Dynasty Bronzes
Early Chinese Ceramics
Sculpture from Tombs
Chinese Buddhist Sculpture
Tang and Liao Dynasty Metalwork
Ceramics of the Song and Jin Periods
Porcelains of the Yuan and Early Ming Periods
Imperial Chinese Ceramics of the 15th Century
Ceramics of the Late Ming Period
Qing Dynasty Porcelain
Landscape Painting in China
Jade and Lacquer in China
Pole Fitting
North China; Eastern Zhou period (770-256 B.C.E.), 3rd century B.C.E.
Bronze inlaid with silver
H. 2 3/4 in. (7 cm); L. 7 1/8 in. (18.1 cm); W. 2 1/4 in. (5.7 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
This fitting consists of two separate sections held in place by a catch in the form of a feline. When this is twisted, the two sections can be disengaged. Such fittings are thought to have been used to attach parasols to the chariots and carriages of rulers. With the gradual decline in the prestige of ritual vessels from the end of the 5th century B.C.E., chariots and other fittings became the focus of lavish inlaid decoration. Bronze fittings had been occasionally inlaid with turquoise as early as the Shang period, but the use of metal inlays was an innovation of the 6th century B.C.E. In this case the inlay material is silver, which was hammered into depressions cast into the surface of the bronze. In designs like this, the dragon and bird motifs have dissolved into abstract figures which owe their appeal not to any iconographic meaning, but to the intricacy and elegance of the designs and the contrast between the color of the silver inlay and the background bronze.
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