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Name:Golden Belt Buckle

Time:【Western Han dynasty】

Size:Length:13.3cm Width:6 cm

Source:Excavated at Shizishan in 1994-1995


       This is one of a pair of belt plagues excavated from the west wing of the antechamber of the tomb. An inscription is carved on the edge of each plaque to state its weight. On the back,2 vertical loops are attached to each plaque, used to fix them onto a belt. When they were tied at the ends of a belt made of 3 rows of shells tied togrther with silk.
       The plaque are cast in relief and designed as mirror images of each other. The two horse-like animal s in wach plaque face towards each other, and in each image a wolf and a bear bite into the upper back and the tail of the horse. All 3 animals are depicted with large round eyes, heightening the drama of the scene. The horse-like animal are delineated with wigorous bodies as if they are forcefully struggling away from their attackers. Fine incised lines represent the animals’ hair, making this piece particularly exquisite. Any remaining space is filled in wiht a decorative pattern of birds’ heads, a commom Han dynasty convention.

       The animal theme of the design an dthe rectangle shape suggest the influence of nomadic tribws beyond the Han’s northern borders of China. However, the method of fastening suggests that this pair was likely to have been made locally rather than improted. Several virtually identical plaques have been excavated from Xi’an the location of the Western Han capital, and from Kazakhstan, where northern pastoral tribes were active.