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A DEER-SHAPED GILT-BRONZE-MOUNTED SHELL

Details
A DEER-SHAPED GILT-BRONZE-MOUNTED SHELL
WESTERN HAN DYNASTY

A sea shell forming the body of the gilt-bronze animal lying semi-recumbent with legs tucked neatly under the body and with head raised up, with antlers and ears flared back to hold the shell in place
4¾in. (12cm.) long, box

Lot Essay

Although the precise purpose of these objects is not known, they have been called sleeve weights.

For a similarly modeled gilt-bronze turtle, also holding a similar sea shell, excavated from a Western Han tomb at Bicun, Hungyuan county, in Shanxi province see, Wenwu, 1980, no. 6, p. 51, no. 6, fig. 27

Two smaller deer of this type with cowrie shell bodies, from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Myron S. Falk Jr., were included in the exhibition Arts of the Han Dynasty, Asia House, New York, 1961, catalogue, no. 57. See, also, Orvar Karlsbeck, "Selected Objects from Ancient Shou-chou", B.M.F.E.A., 1955, vol. 27, pl. 45, figs. 4a & 4b, for a gilt-bronze gazelle-form mount, minus the shell

Another smaller pair of deer lacking their antlers and with very degraded shell bodies, is illustrated in Ancient Chinese Arts in the Idemitsu Collection, Japan, 1989, no. 241
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