About this artwork
Bronze sculptures of real and imaginary animals are generally known as “Ordos” after the Ordos Desert in which they were first discovered in the early twentieth century. This northern and northwestern frontier of China—which also includes the forests and grasslands of present-day Inner Mongolia, Outer Mongolia, southern Siberia, and parts of Central Asia—was occupied by hunting and herding tribes during the first millennium B.C. The precise ethnic identities of most of these tribes are unknown; ancient Chinese texts refer to many of these tribes by ancient regional names rather than by the names by which the tribes called themselves.
The vigorous lifestyle of these nomadic horsemen is reflected in their bronzes, which originally embellished chariots, harness equipment, and personal accessories. Pole caps or finials like this were probably attached to vehicles or canopies. This example contains a pellet inside, indicating that it was designed to jingle.
- Pole Top with Double Bird-Shaped Bell (one of pair)
- 599 BCE–400 BCE
- 18.8 × 10.5 cm (7.4 × 4.1 in.)
- Lucy Maud Buckingham Collection