Originally, this decorative ornament would have
adorned a chariot. A masterfully modelled lion,
crowns the top of the piece with two
arm-like appendages emerging from the body.
However, the ends of these appendages are
sculpted in the form of a duck. This
combination of elements
from different animals is not all that unusual
when one considers mythical creatures such as
the griffin, satyr, or Pegasus. There might have
been a symbolic significance linking the two
creatures together, perhaps relating to a fable or
proverb. However, it is more likely that, given
the nature of this item, the animals were
selected for their decorative qualities. The
intricate details of the feline’s fur and whiskers,
as well as the birds' feathers, are astounding.
The artist has captured the formal qualities of
the lion while maintaining a level of stylization
and abstraction. It is difficult to imagine how
sumptuous the item they once adorned must
See also FZ.402.