Bronze Tiger Mask Helmet Fitting

 

Cast Bronze
Western Zhou Period (1100-771BC)
Length: 17.5 cm

 

This elegant cast bronze fitting for a bronze helmet demonstrates the importance of highly detailed status accouterments in early Chinese history.  The Western Zhou period witnessed a time of great artistic discovery and innovation. Elaborate bronze fittings adorned helmets elevating the status of the wearer.

This bronze helmet fitting in the form of a tiger mask with the exterior cast has stylized decoration between the eyes and lower region of the mask.  Two circular patterns symbolize the rounded ears of the tiger.  The nose protrudes from bottom with a stylized diamond shape in the central portion between the eyes, and geometric shapes balanced on the top portion of the nose.  The lower right and left sides are decorated with dotted bands.  The bronze material of this object has acquired a patina with encrustations of malachite and cuprite. In our opinion, this tiger mask helmet fitting is an excellent example from the Western Zhou period in terms of subject matter, design and workmanship.

Note: Small wear to obverse, as usual. A minor sample removed for scientific testing on reverse suspension loop.

 

Reference number 3042

 

For an example of a similar bronze helmet fitting see Ancient Chinese Weapons, A Collection of Pictures. Cheng Dong & Zhong Shao-yi, The Chinese People’s Liberation Army, Beijing. 1990. Page 40.

A similar bronze fitting is illustrated in Zhongguo wenwu jinghua daiquan: qing tongqi (Masterpieces of Chinese Cultural Treasures: Bronzes). Ma Chengyuan, ed. Hong Kong: Commercial Press, 1994. Page 290, Plate 1046.

Another animal face fitting from the Eastern Zhou period is illustrated in Ancient Chinese and Ordos Bronzes. Jessica Rawson and Emma Bunker. Hong Kong. Oriental Ceramic Society of Hong Kong, 1990. Page 192, Plate 104.

A similar animal mask bronze fitting resides in the Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst in Cologne, Germany.

A Western Zhou chariot is reconstructed in Archaeology in China: Volume Three, Chou China. Cheng Te-K’un. Cambridge, W. Heffer & Sons Ltd., 1963. Pages 267-272, plates 32-36.

 


To inquire about this work of art, contact us at 415.421.3434 or email at sbernsteinjade@aol.com