Warring States-Western Han period, 2nd - 1st century BC
Each fitting is of tubular form, with a flat circular top and four protruding ribs below. The tubular part is inlaid with highly stylized scrolling cloud motifs with linear spirals. The ribs are inlaid with S-shaped and parallel lines, the tops with a rosette. Each fitting is inscribed with two inlaid characters ling li.
7.2 cm long
Provenance: Formerly in the collection of Julius Eberhardt Published: Regina Krahl, Collection Julius Eberhard, Early Chinese Art, Vienna, 2000, pl. 58.
Ling li is the name of a road at Maoling, the mausoleum of Emperor Han Wudi (r. 141-87 BC) near Xian in Shaanxi province, for whom these fittings were probably made. Similar chariot fittings are illustrated in Lawton, Warring States, pl. 18, where it is mentioned that bronze caps shaped like axle caps are reported to have been found in a tomb on the tops of the two rear corner posts of a chariot.