The exact use of fittings of this type is not known, although it is thought that they might have been harness fittings or attached to bows. A fitting of this type is illustrated by Cheng Dong and Zhong Shao-yi, Zhongguo Gudai Binqi Tuji (Ancient Chinese Weapons – A Collection of Pictures), Beijing, 1990, p. 33, pl. 2-67, and in a line drawing on p. 34, pl. 2-69, a fitting of this type is shown attached to the front of a bow. In an article by Tang Lan, Kaogu, 1973:3, p. 178, it is conjectured that these fittings were either for decoration or to prevent the bow from being stolen.
Compare the fitting cast with very similar cicadas in the British Museum, illustrated by W. Watson, Handbook of the Collection of Early Chinese Antiquities, 1963, pl. 35a, and another with cicadas flanking a central boss illustrated in Ancient Chinese Arts in the Idemitsu Collection, 1989, no. 90. See, also, the example from the tomb of Lady Fu Hao illustrated in Yinxu Fu hao mu (Tomb of lady Hao at Yinxu in Anyang), Beijing, 1980, Pl. LXXV 6 (no. 1122).