Animal-mask bridle ornament with turquoise inlay

Accession No. R001195
Period Shang Dynasty
Material Bronze
Findspot Horse Pit No. 2017 Hsi-pei-kang, Yin-xu Site
Geographic Location Hou-Chia-Chuang village, Anyang, Honan province, China
Dimension H. 8.2 cm; W. 9.3 cm; D. 1.8 cm


Two sets of horse skulls, bridles and associated bronze ornaments been excavated from the Hsi-pei-kang 2017 chariot-and-horse pit at Yinxu site. This animal-mask shaped bronze artifact is a face piece of a horse bridle which is embellished with turquoise inlay. Its bulging eyeballs are made with polished turquoise pieces which are raised above the surface, which brings the animal-mask to life. On the back of the artifact are two crisscrossing beams, that can be used for lashing and securing the mask in place on the forehead of a horse. This artifact is the most exquisite and intact piece unearthed from the chariot-and-horse pit.