Pair of gilt bronze tiger belt plaques
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- Western China
- Han Dynasty, 206 BC - 220 AD
- 6.8 cm
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A pair of openwork belt plaques depicting tigers, with bent heads and curled tails. The plaques were made to be attached to a cloth or leather backing, with the two small loops on the back. The front of the plaques has been gilt, now forming a wonderful green patina, with parts of the gilding visible. Similar tiger plaques are found in graves between the Yellow River and the Yinshan Mountains, and seem to have belonged to a certain class of people. Finds of multiple tiger plaques suggest that people collected them over time and wore them together.
The tiger belt plaques are from the Ordos culture, a culture that habited the Ordos Loop during the Bronze Age and early Iron Age (6th to 1st centuries BC). The culture is, among other things, known for the Ordos bronzes; objects like weapons, gear, plaques and finials, with decoration of animals. The style of these bronzes has links with Scythian and Chinese art.