L: 21.8 cm
Provenance: no indication
Western Inner Mongolia
Warring States Period. 481-221 B.C.
D. David-Weill (inv. no. 2143)
Cast with a central core between two half moulds tied together, the metal poured in from the neck end, the edges cut down and burnished in the cold. The casting seams, running the length of the bird's head and neck above and below, are made decorative use of and only cold-worked to the extent necessary. The core still in the beak with an iron rod coming from it visible in the head cavity, the neck emptied for insertion of a staff or pole which would have been held in place by a transverse dowel through the hole on either side of the neck. A squarish hole on top of the head for inserting an ornamental element(s). Two oval ones on the left side of the beak and cheek of indeterminate purpose.
Condition: patina a dark green, speckled with greyish earth deposit, yellowish metal showing through here and there, iron-coloured earth incrustation. A few nicks on the upper left side of the beak, a crack adjoining the hole on the right side of the neck and a slight casting fault on the right cheek.
There are similar finials with slight variants as for instance an eared bird with a long beak, perhaps a raven .
Whether used as pole top, a chariot fitting or surmounting a canopy is uncertain.
Ostasiatiska Samlingarna, Stockholm 1933
Jansé, O.: L'Empire des Steppes, Revue des Arts Asiatiques, Annales du Musée Guimet IX,1, March 1935, pl. IV,1d.
1 Bunker, E.: "Animal Style" Art from East to West (New York, 1970), no. 98, pp. 123, 142.