- Gallery Text
The move of the Zhou capital eastward in the wake of nomadic invasions marked a diminution of Zhou authority and the rise in power of surrounding states. Although in the earlier Western Zhou period, bronze was employed primarily for ritual vessels, weapons, and tools, during the Eastern Zhou era, it began to be used to make mirrors, bells, and chariot fittings as well. Bronze mirrors were polished smooth on their reflective sides, and their backs were intricately decorated with auspicious symbols or cosmological designs. Their reflectivity was believed to create light in a darkened tomb and to ward off evil. Chariots were vital for military warfare, and those of the powerful were fitted with ornate finials and attachments, which during the Warring States period (475–221 BCE) were often inlaid with precious stones and metals. This technique was also employed with greater frequency in the casting of bronze vessels, revealing yet another shift in the function of such objects, from commemorative status symbols to more decorative vestiges of a ritual tradition.
- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
- Cheekpieces for a Horse's Harness (One of Four)
- Riding Equipment
- Work Type
- 11th-10th century BCE
- Creation Place: East Asia, China
- Zhou dynasty, Western Zhou period, c. 1050-771 BCE
- Persistent Link
Level 1, Room 1600, Early Chinese Art, Arts of Ancient China from the Bronze Age to the Golden Age
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- Physical Descriptions
- Cast bronze
- Diam. 9.6 x Thickness 2.9 cm (3 3/4 x 1 1/8 in.)
- [Yamanaka & Co., New York, January 28, 1941] sold; to Grenville L. Winthrop, New York (1941-1943), bequest; to Fogg Art Museum, 1943.
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- Asian and Mediterranean Art
- THIS WORK MAY NOT BE LENT BY THE TERMS OF ITS ACQUISITION TO THE HARVARD ART MUSEUMS.
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- Exhibition History
S427: Ancient Chinese Bronzes and Jades, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 10/20/1985 - 04/30/2008
Re-View: S228-230 Arts of Asia, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 05/31/2008 - 06/01/2013
32Q: 1600 Early China II, Harvard Art Museums, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050
- Subjects and Contexts
Google Art Project
- Related Works
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