Belt plaque

This bronze plaque depicts a standing carnivore whose tail sweeps upward along its back haunches. The long muzzle and pointed ear suggest a wolf. The curved, heart-shaped ear is like the comma-shaped lupine ears protrayed on other plaques. The wolf in this example is represented in profile with all four legs shown. Each paw displays four prominent claws and a curved dewclaw behind. Sinous zoomorphs with serpentine bodies and feline heads are tangled around the wolf’s legs. One zoomorph is held firmly in the wolf’s slightly open jaws, which reveal two rows of teeth. The body of the wolf is marked by curved bands in low relief against a pebbled ground, while the zoomorphs bodies are given texture by two longitudinal rows of pseudo-granulation. A hook projects from the front of the plaque in front of a squared hole. On the reverse, behind the haunch, is a vertical loop. The surface is covered with a blackish patina. The bronze was rather crudely cast in a two-piece mold that left join marks at the plaque edges.

Historical period(s)
Eastern Zhou dynasty, 4th century BCE
Medium
Bronze
Dimensions
H x W x D (overall): 7.1 x 12.3 x 1.7 cm (2 13/16 x 4 13/16 x 11/16 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S1987.448
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Jewelry and Ornament, Metalwork
Type

Belt plaque

Keywords
casting, China, Eastern Zhou dynasty (770 - 221 BCE), wolf, WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance research underway.
Description

This bronze plaque depicts a standing carnivore whose tail sweeps upward along its back haunches. The long muzzle and pointed ear suggest a wolf. The curved, heart-shaped ear is like the comma-shaped lupine ears protrayed on other plaques. The wolf in this example is represented in profile with all four legs shown. Each paw displays four prominent claws and a curved dewclaw behind. Sinous zoomorphs with serpentine bodies and feline heads are tangled around the wolf's legs. One zoomorph is held firmly in the wolf's slightly open jaws, which reveal two rows of teeth. The body of the wolf is marked by curved bands in low relief against a pebbled ground, while the zoomorphs bodies are given texture by two longitudinal rows of pseudo-granulation. A hook projects from the front of the plaque in front of a squared hole. On the reverse, behind the haunch, is a vertical loop. The surface is covered with a blackish patina. The bronze was rather crudely cast in a two-piece mold that left join marks at the plaque edges.

Published References
  • Jenny F. So, Emma C. Bunker. Traders and Raiders on China's Northern Frontier. Exh. cat. Seattle, 1995. p. 136.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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