A pair of Ordos gilt bronze plaques
Early Han dynasty, 2nd/1st century BC, North China
漢早期 前2世紀或前1世紀 中國北部
Height: 3.8 cm, 1.5 inches
Each plaque is of rectangular form and finely gilt, inside cast in the from of a Yak, head down kneeling with his front two legs, the back two legs as if striding, pierced through in only a few places. The border with a repeated arrow head engraved design, the reverse with semi oval lugs for fastening.
Plaques of this size and shape were cast with depictions of various animals; for example see several plaques containing animals including deer, tigers, buffalos, and dragons, illustrated in M. Rostovtzeff, The Animal Style in South Russia and China, Princeton, 1929, pls XXV-XXVII.
John Boardman ‘The relief plaques of Eastern Eurasia and China’, Oxford 2010, plate 177 & 178.