AUD $480.00

Ordos, Ancient Bronze Kneeling Horse.

A cast bronze "belt plaque"  with a kneeling horse facing left, from the nomadic "Ordos" Culture, on the Eastern Steppes.

Ordos is a state situated in what is now South Western Inner Mongolia, but is also the name used to describe the Nomads who lived there in the 1st Millenium B.C. before nearby China became unified under the Han Dynasty..

Just North of Han China it was sandwiched in between the powerful Xiongnu tribes in the West and the Chinese Empire to the East and South. It was because of raiding Steppe Tribes like these that the Chinese decided to start building the Great Wall.

Little remains of their horse culture other than small cast bronze items lincluding belt plaques like this one, gilt bronze belt buckles, earrings and horse trappings.  

As far as belt plaques are concerned though,  I'm not sure how a piece like this was attached to a leather belt. As it has only one small suspension loop or ring, they may have sewn through any available opening, or where there was only one they may have dangled. (But bouncing around on a gallopping pony attached at one point and pivoting, doesn't sound very secure.)

The quality of the sculpting and the warm sensual rounded shapes of the horses depicted certainly represent a high degree of sophistication and sensitive depiction.

Alas, because of the climate there we'll probably never get to see their textiles but the "Pazyryk Rug" from the Altai Mountains may offer us a tantalizing hint.

The bronze has a beautiful full, dark patina and should certainly NOT be polished. The head has some bright "verdigris" that could be very gently brushed, but is probably better left alone, perhaps a very light oil to stop further corrosion.

We may also have another of these bronzes available, just check AB111 and AB112.


Age: 1st Millenium B.C.

Size: L 45 mm x H 15 mm

Weight: 13 grams.