The design on this fitting would have been cast as shallow indentations and then inlaid with silver, which was worked cold. It has been suggested by Professor Wu Hung, "A Sanpan Shan Chariot Ornament and Xiangrui Design in Western Han Art", Archives of Asian Art, vol. XXXVII, 1984, p. 38, that such tubular fittings would have been used to attach the support of the canopy to the chariot. It is unlikely that fittings of this sort, with their exquisite design and workmanship, would have been used for war chariots, but would have been status symbols used for leisure or burial.
A very similar fitting is illustrated by J. Rawson and E. Bunker, Ancient Chinese and Ordos Bronzes, no. 94., where the authors note that the decoration resembles "some of the more elaborately embroidered textiles from Hubei Jiangling Mashan and from Mawangdui at Changsha in Hunan." Another very similar fitting is illustrated in Kaikodo Journal, Autumn 1997, no. 49. The design for a fitting of this type, one of the four found in the tomb of the second King of Nanyue (d. 122 BC), in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, is shown in line drawings in Xihan Nanyuewang Mu, vol. 1, Beijing, 1991, p. 97, fig. 65, while in vol. 2, p. 51, fig. 2, the fitting is illustrated along with remains of the wood pole it would have encased.