Bronze used for chariots was not just for ornamentation: the relative strength of bronze was also an advantage. This fitting was part of the axle assembly of a chariot, where it served to protect the axle from damage. Nonetheless, it is richly decorated with a taotie (animal) mask and a pair of stylised dragons cast around the sides.
Chariot fitting Western Zhou dynasty (about 1050-771 BC) © Compton Verney
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