Shang dynasty (1600-1046 BC)
Height 18.5 cm, Frontal Width 16.3 cm, Side Width 18.8 cm
Excavated at Xiaoshuang Qiao, Zhengzhou, Henan Province, 1989
The frontal side of this object is almost square, if one overlooks its slightly concave shape, and there are rectangular holes in each of its two sides. The frontal side is decorated with single incised line taotie patterns, while the rectangular holes are encircled with depictions of dragons and tigers in combat. Further to its exquisite decorations, the modelling of this decorative piece is unique; it is the earliest bronze building component to have been discovered in China. It was likely a decorative object, one of which would be placed at either end of a wooden beam in the palace, where It also served to reinforce the structural stability. The clearly visible and quite beautiful taotie designs also illustrate the aesthetic tastes of the Shang artisans.