A pair of Chariot Linch Pins, Western Zhou Dynasty, 1046–771 BCE


The pins have tiger faces and would have once adorned a burial chariot, vertically inserted into the axle hub, fixing the wheels onto the chariot. The flat part of the pins would have faced the outside of the wheel and the tiger masks outwards. 

The Western Zhou dynasty (1046-771 BC), was established after the defeat of the Shang rulers by  King Wu at the battle of Muye.  Little is known of this period, however, there seems to have been advanced metalworking, with deceased nobles buried with elaborate chariots as representations of wealth.

The chariot was first introduced in China in 1200 BC. First a symbol of royal power and prestige, it was quickly adapted to warfare. The chariot team consisted of 3 people: the centrally placed driver; the halberd bearing warrior on the right; the Archer on the left. The status of rulers was judged by the number of chariots they could field.

Each pin is mounted on a wooden plinth.

Dimensions: Width:  5.18 cm ( 2 inches)

Condition: Intact, unrestored and in excellent condition overall.  Green crystallized patina.

Provenance: Ex. Collection of a former departmental Curator of the Metropolitan Museum, New York.  Two old collection labels adorn the underside.

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